Been spending the last week solo. The wife has been in France for a friends wedding. It’s been the longest that I’ve been home by myself since being married. Wild the things that bubble up when by yourself. I almost forgot just how much solitude I used to have before getting married. I’ve intentionally cleared my schedule in the evenings this week so that I ensured that I’d have time to reflect, to hear what’s going on with my inner life, the stirrings from the recent life changes, being married, spending time back home with Amal and having our families meet, having attended Eid (my first Islamic holiday) as well as my families first time experiencing anything like that as well.
I’ve spent each evening this past pretty much the same…put on some music, pour a glass of wine, prepare dinner, watch an episode of Game of Thrones or few (I’m WAY behind), and then shut all technology off and open up a few hours of quiet…reading, writing, listening. What’s bubbled up has surprised me. I’ve been overcome with darkness, shadows, feelings of immense sorrow and sadness. For the first few days I wasn’t sure what was going on. It bothered me and worried me quite a bit, until this morning when I read a few key words in the latest book I’m reading, “Run with The Horses: The Quest for Life at It’s Best.” It’s about the life of the prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament, the highs and lows of his prophetic calling and his very honest and unique relationship he had with God. This morning I read about his honesty in prayer and how he was not shy of being angry with God, yelling at God and sharing the darkness of his heart with God. “The first requirement in a personal relationship with God is to be ourselves. Off with the masks. Away with the pretense. ‘It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord.’ Jeremiah’s prayer is not pious, not nice, not proper – he speaks what he feels, and he feels scared, lonely, hurt and angry. ”
Revisiting these words of loneliness, of anger and of fear at God was somehow refreshing for me and this evening it has given me encouragement to let those similar feelings release into God. You see I’ve been quite depressed for some time now and I’ve just recently realized that. I wouldn’t say that it’s been severe depression, but depression regardless. I have felt extremely tired for a while now, irritable, sad and just agitated most days for no good reason. I have felt extremely anxious in average every day situations for no reason at all. Most of this is due to the immense stress of all the changes and fracturing that has occurred in my family these past three years: 3 divorces, two cases of mental illness, drug abuse, infidelity, etc, etc…it’s been a rough few years. Not that there haven’t been some incredible times, but there still remains a weight that the pain has had on my heart and on my mind. My spirit has remained faithful and hopeful, but definitely affected.
Tonight I just laid in the blank space and what came up were images of the half dead people in Game of Thrones (can’t remember what they’re called right now, but their flesh is half decayed and they live over the frozen wall…you know who they are!)…anyway the reason these images popped up and my mind identified with them is because I realized that much of me has died, much of who lived before all of this change and before my depression is hanging dead…I’m dragging that part and need to let it go. I also need to embrace the darkness and the sadness and recognize that it’s ok to have these parts living within me. They are not all of me, only a portion and perhaps they will heal in more time, but regardless they are me and need to be heard, need to be received, need to be acknowledged.
I’m learning that it’s ok to be depressed, it’s ok to feel immense sadness, but don’t let that darkness consume you, or fool you into being overly consumed by it as if it owns you. It’s only a part of me and there is much more light and love still living. The darkness I believe and hope will only enhance the love as it will allow me to understand where others are coming from when they go through something similar or worse.
It’s not easy turning into the depths of our emotions. It’s not easy to quiet the mind and open your space, physical and emotional, to the darkness within your heart, but I’m finding it’s so important to. If not we are missing out from important stories and voices from within us that allow us to embrace the whole self and I am hoping from there be of even greater value to the lives of others and even to yourself.