Remember that old movie Poltergeist? I barely do and I am sure I have it all mixed up but I keep hearing the odd little woman tell the little girl to go to the light. My Chef told me more details, said the woman knew there was peace and serenity in the light. She didn’t believe the child could come back into this world. The parents instead attached ropes and went in after her, drug her back from the demons and saved this child. I think my story is filled with friends who have attached ropes to pull me back AND shouted at me to go toward the light.
I was given the opportunity to let go of a major church responsibility, to free myself to mourn. This is kindness, this is grace. I received an email from my so very wise pastor reminding me to go towards the light. The choice is mine to wallow or accept the challenge to pull myself out of the demon filled depression and find a flicker of hope. The choice is always mine. I chose to maintain my schedule, tug on the ropes of those who are pulling on me. I answer calls, emails, I eat some lunch. Food is toward the light for me. Interaction is toward the light for me.
My friend from college who can assess any situation in my life because she knows all the players and she has a razor sharp mind, found the joys. She highlighted the positives. She met me in the mud but tugged on the ropes to pull me out, making certain I knew where the hopes were.
My chef who has tiptoed around me now for days because I am not very pleasant keeps bringing me food and orange juice and lets me lay on his lap. He deserves a gallon of peanut butter chocolate chip caramel ice cream, if such a thing exists, and big bricks of cheese. (We don’t have dairy in our house as Plum and I can’t tolerate it.) He is gently pulling me back to the light with his constant love. This is grace.
Depression lies, tells me to stay in the dark with the demons, tells me the ropes will never be strong enough to pull me out. It tells me the light will burn me. I have believed those lies before. I stayed stuck in the dark, ignoring all the friends who threw lifelines, all who tried to connect until they slowly went away. Now I can see I actively pushed myself in further, back then I thought I had no part in any of it. Depression lies. What feels like great passivity is, for me, rejecting ignoring throwing away the lanterns the candles the glow sticks offered, with great force. Turning away into the darkness. Choosing sadness, unwashed hair, smelly sheets, choosing to wallow. Depression tells me it fells better there, it is easier there. Depression lies.
At 52, I have come to accept that I am not going to have one of those easy lives that some may be handed. I am never going to be rich, I won’t be posting pictures of all my children and grandchildren for each holiday around a grand piano or a grand oak tree. I won’t be running races or winning awards, I won’t receive a retirement package. My life has had many trips through the darkness, many chances to choose my path back. It gets easier, finding the light, each time I do it. Accepting help, listening to the calls of friends is finally becoming habit. Trusting their voices, instructions, insights, wisdom when I can no longer see.
Challenge accepted, life. I am in this for the long haul. Knowing it will never be easy, knowing any day could hand me heart ache, I am still going to look for the light. I know where that will take me, towards hope, little shining bits of hope. As elusive as fireflies in late summer or stars in a cloudy night sky, I just have to trust the light is there and start walking. God’s light never burns out, never leaves me alone. As I turn towards it, slowly move in that direction I find the glow grows bigger. Bigger, always big enough to warm me with hope. Peace and serenity might be a stretch.
Photo credit to Pastor Pat Sleeth, fisher of men, women and the rivers of the northwest