Sorrow is a part of almost everyone’s life. It has touched mine and shook my soul to its depths. Pain can turn into depression, and depression left unchecked can turn into thoughts of suicide and possibly committing suicide. Obviously, I have not actually committed suicide, but I have definitely planned it.
Hazy Turns Dark
I’ve been so emotionally hurt and shamed I could hardly function. I had come from a good family, and I had learned to be strong, but I was insecure. My insecurities led me into an awful marriage to a guy with his own set of vulnerabilities, but with the maturity to know how to feel like he was rising above them. His way of rising above them was to beat down others, especially the one who could hurt him the most and that was his wife. Though I was strong when I met him and possibly that’s what attracted him to me, in a matter of a year he had degraded me to the point of depression. The sorrow of realizing I had made a huge mistake in marrying him turned into despair as I realized no matter how hard I tried I would never please him, nor would he be my partner, encourager or confidant. Things we did in private would be topics of shame before his family and friends. Efforts I made to be a good wife would be rejected and mocked. Amazing how smooth he could be when we were dating.
I don’t want to weigh you down with my story because you have a story of your own to live. It’s an overwhelming feeling, isn’t it? The weight of depression can stifle all efforts to rise above it or be released from its piercing grip. Every day is a struggle to catch a glimpse of hope that things could get better, and the effort to leave seems too much to add.
What happens to our soul during this dark and overwhelming time? I think it shrinks. I believe every cutting remark, every shot down effort takes a piece of our soul with it.
How can we save our soul from shrinking into nothing, so we become almost robotic? Just doing the things we know to do without any joy or creativity and losing all sense of connection with others or happiness becomes our reality. The beauty of a sunrise or sunset doesn’t take our breath away anymore, and the desire to prosper is drained with our sense of purpose or significance. We may numb it with mindless TV or addictions. Sleep and food become as mind-numbing as alcohol or drugs. Cutting and mutilation enter our thoughts. It seems as easy to press the gas pedal and ram through the guardrails as it is to make the turn.
Without a functioning, healthy soul, we lose hope. When all hope is gone that things can or will get better, we lose our desire to thrive, and then we become clinically depressed, or our thoughts of suicide become plans.
One year our family was on vacation. We had gone to Disney World; I saw a favorite aunt and uncle I hadn’t seen in years, and we were given a week stay in a condo on a beautiful beach. It was a great getaway, but I didn’t enjoy it until one night my soul awoke. We left the sliding glass door open, and the ocean waves were only twenty-five feet away, the sound of the waves seemed to wash over my soul and revive it—at least a little—enough to feel it again.
In the morning I got up early to walk and pray. The beach was quiet, the water was calm, and the sun was rising. My soul was rising too, and the breeze breathed life into me. A new day had dawned in more ways than one.
My parents had come to visit us and help us close up the condo. My dad was an early riser and had decided to take a walk too. We walked together, and I loved his company. I had thought I was keeping my misery to myself, but he knew it, just not the depths. We talked about the beauty of the beach and picked up a few shells. Every minute seemed fresh, and my sense of wonder appeared out of nowhere. I don’t know what it would be like if all the planets were aligned, but the feeling I had that morning certainly felt close to the same perfection.
That beauty, that peace, that feeling of being loved and accepted felt like nothing I had experienced in a long time, maybe not ever. If someone asked me, “if I could go back to any day in my life, when would it be?” I would have to say “that day,” that morning. (of course, every parent knows it is really the day your child was born, but–)
That day felt like a wooing to come into a bigger picture than the one I was living. Nature does that, its meant to call to us so we can know the pursuit of Perfect Love. My life didn’t change after that, but my way of looking at my life sure did. I had hope. Maybe my husband would never change but I became very creative in how I viewed it and overcame it. Why didn’t I leave? I’m not sure. It didn’t seem that important anymore since I had hope and was held by Perfect Love. Once I knew that the God of the Universe knew me and loved me, nothing else seemed all that big a deal.