"I dwell in possibility" ~Emily Dickinson

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An Exposition

Posted on: 5.05.2013

Two days of strong wind have assailed the desert. Not that we’re not used to it, but it doesn’t mean we I like it. Smoke, sand, and clouds mix together to birth an unforgettable hazy stench that inflicts an instant replay of all the fires in seasons past. Southern California burns often. It’s burning now. 

It’s smokey, sandy, storming days like these that are great enablers of melancholy -- and sometimes worse. It’s hard not to fall from the mental precipice into doubt and sadness, confusion and withdrawal that suddenly appears as clearly as if it were physically before me. I think it’s days like this, though, that simply expose that precipice. If I’m honest with myself I’ve stood looking down it for a long time. Never quite jumping headlong into it, but never mustering up the will to leave it behind. I’m just here, close to the edge because it’s what i know. It’s where life has been for years.

I think the last five years have been the hardest of my admittedly short life. (I mean, I’m only 23! It’s not like I have a lot of years to think back on, here.) But when I do think back on them, I find pockets of real darkness. Sometimes I didn’t even know how deep I had gotten until I was nearly out of the pit, loosening the last few treacherous arms off my ankles. And I can’t believe that it was really me back there, sifting through struggles as thick as today’s smoke-infused air. 

And then the second nemesis joins my thought life: shame. Shame on me for having dark days; for “letting” myself even get in that pit. Shame speaks: don’t you see how perfect your life is? How functional your family is? How much worse so-and-so has it? How dare you consider that place dark. How dare you admit that you sometimes feel desperately alone when so many wonderful people are around you. You ungrateful girl. 

And so shame seals lips and keeps the heart from speaking out. It keeps tear ducts dry and rationalization on turbo-power. It keeps the lonely alone for fear of being exposed, for fear of being set-down or declared invalid. 

Life’s struggles need an exposition though. It’s part of the human experience, isn’t it? Maybe I struggle with X, Y, and Z and you struggle with T,U,and V. But that those differences don’t really matter in the heart of the experience. At the heart of the experience we’re all in a temporary season that sometimes feels permanent. 

Today (or more accurately, this month), with these thoughts so acutely, painfully acutely, in my mind, I consider what it means to live a life in which I joyfully hold Christ as my treasure and live eucharisteo.

I’m looking back on that most recent pit. I don’t want to go back there. 


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