The Nothing

Gather ye rosebuds, while ye may,

Old Time is still a flying:

And this same flower that smiles today

Tomorrow will be dying’~  excerpt from

To the Virgins, To make much of time~ Robert Herrick

 

The colors were brilliant. Flags, bold and beautiful, peppered the skyline.  I scanned the massive crowd of painted faces, looking for familiarity. Where was I? A battle, a war, a gathering; something was beginning.

I noticed her face. The distance between us was wide and the sound of the collective battle cry deafening. I wanted her to know I was there. I had made it. Wherever it turned out to be.

She was, is, a dear friend. I moved closer and we made eye contact. There was a mutual moment of recognition. She began to shout orders, or encouragement, to those warring with her. Her language was foreign to me, but those gathered to battle understood her.

All at once I knew. I was not going with her. We made eye contact again. “I have to stay behind and help the sick and wounded.” With that she raised her flag and bodly ran ahead, leaving me standing on the battlefield. Leaving me behind.

Then, I woke up.

I don’t dream descriptively that often. I had this dream two years ago. I felt the dream was pretty self-explanatory and had no need to reach out and have it interpreted. I shared the dream with the friend leading the battle, and thought it highlighted who we were and who we were called to be accurately.

Except these past two years that dream still vividly replays in my mind and I wonder why it wasn’t me yelling the battle cry and charging ahead to war. It is very like me to take charge, call orders, rally and encourage (ask the hubs about orders). Why was I left behind? I love a good fight. I am a warrior.

Jude’s second birthday is a week away. His pregnancy and first yearish of life messed me up. (read here). I slipped into a black hole I like to call The Nothing. Others call it postpartum depression.

Living in The Nothing I had no energy, no ambition, no ideas, no wants, no nothing. NO LIFE.  If the visual of The Never Ending Story’s Nothing is coming to mind, then you get it. Depression is a ravenous wolf that steals and kills everything, leaving nothing.

With the recent passing of Robin Williams the world is engaging in amazing dialogue about depression. Before Robin’s passing, those around here mourned the loss of a family friend; also a fighter of depression. I have been scratching my head since her passing. Praying, thinking, re-thinking, talking, praying. Her life was-is-a beautiful story.

A few nights ago my dream re-surfaced while I was fighting sleeplessness.

I know why I was left behind.

I am a warrior. I can be a leader or I can be a follower, but I prefer to lead. I can rally troops and shout encouragement. I am these things.

But these are just characterisitics of who I am. They are not what gives ME LIFE.

I come to life when I am helping people. I FEEL ALIVE. I feel alive when God and I are working together to change a person’s day. I feel alive when those wounded or hurt don’t give up.  I feel alive when someone who is generally overlooked is seen. My mother is this way. I am this way.

I needed to know this. I needed to know I could still feel my heart in my chest and a breath leave my lungs. That I still had bones, and abilities, and ideas and passion. I needed to know the world is OK with me in it. I needed to have a reason to crawl out from under the covers and try again.  I have to keep pushing forward. I have to keep trying to help. I have to stay behind and help the sick and wounded.

And if I don’t, The Nothing is waiting for me. Waiting to suffocate me and steal my joy. Waiting to make me feel useless and unloved. Waiting to make me feel nothing, and everything, in one final blow.

But I have breath. If depression is my David and Goliath story than this would be my war cry to the giant:

I see you.

I see that you are plucking from the strong and the brave. I see that you are stealing mothers and fathers, friends and loved ones.

Your disguises are no longer working, you have been exposed. Though you war against me and people I love with overwhelming strength,

WE ARE STRONGER. 

We are stronger because we do not fear you. I do not fear you.

For I have not been given the spirit of fear; but of power, love and self-discipline.

I do not fear you.

And for those whom you’ve crushed under the weight of your war; I say you still fall short of victory.

For long before you attacked and suppressed, they planted. They planted seeds of hope and love. Seeds of laughter and friendship. Bravery, courage, and encouragement flowed from them. Long before you whispered lies they told truth. They were warriors. They were champions.

Their lives are still planting.

They live in stories, and hugs, and tears, and pictures, and song, and laughter, and in their children’s eyes.

They are helping us fight you. They are exposing you.

So I say to you, checkmate.

I still have breath.

I feel alive, and I DO NOT FEAR YOU.

And I am here, standing on this battlefield, to stay alive. 

You will not win. Not today.

(I wan’t my face to be painted like Mel Gibson’s in Braveheart)

Battle on friends. Something gives you life. Find it; strap it across your heart and bury it in your mind as a life preserver.

If you are in the pit today reach for your pulse.

Can you feel your heart? It is still beating. Don’t give up today. You are alive.

BLACK

Oh, and this:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. ~2 Timothy 1:7~

That’s what’s up!!

This is my go to song on The Nothing days-

In Christ Alone~Kristian Stanfill~

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