November 7, 2011

From the Deepest Well, the Way Up is Up

I awakened in my friend’s guestroom. I say I awakened, but sleep avoided me---as did hunger, and tears, and laughter. My body barely held together, a thin shell of the former me.

My bags were packed. I prepared to leave on a trip of resignation--resigned to the fact that I was going away to never come back.

It didn’t matter anyway. The person I once knew, the one who could function in the world, I had lost. She was somewhere, strewn pieces here and there, all along the path of life. She was gone---never to be found.

Opening the door to leave, a bird swooped into the house. Disoriented, it finally lit high on the two-story foyer sill.

My journey was delayed with finding a ladder, a boy to climb it, and a blanket to throw over the bird. It would be free to fly again in the open air, the brilliant blue of a September sky.

Free bird.

I was headed to lock-down.

We arrived at our destination six hours from home. Walking through heavy metal doors, I was presented to my keepers. Arms enfolded me as good-byes were said. The friends I had shared so much life with walked away from me and my misery.

I couldn't blame them. I would have walked too, but the paths I had taken were dead ends. They loved me enough to leave me there, the shadow of the friend they once knew.

The Puritan prayer The Valley of Vision says, “the way down is the way up,” but for me on that day, the way up was up. Could I have been any lower?

I had trudged right past humility. I dove deep into a well of despair. The darkness would swallow me if I didn't get up. I didn’t know if I could---or if I wanted to.

The doors clanged shut. I sat dazed on a vinyl-cushioned bench near the nurse’s station. The pay phone on the wall above me rang occasionally. I didn’t pick it up.

I observed bedraggled people making their way past me. For hours I sat alone amongst strangers.

My thoughts raced:

“I am not supposed to be here.”

“Where are my children?”

“I am not like these people.”

“They don’t understand where they have left me.”

“I hate this place. This is hopeless.”

Anger boiled ready to spew. I had felt nothing for days upon days. Anger, hot and alive, lept from me; it energized me to fight. I pulled out the silver-tongued sword to lash out at those who loved me.

I swung sharp at my dearest friend, “Why did you leave me in this hell hole?” I was breaking her heart. I didn’t care. She was the first that would feel the heat of my anger. I singed the heart of my sweet friend. 

The truth was:

I was supposed to be there.

My children needed a mother who was healed---who could feed them, tuck them in, read them books.

I was just like those people.

The place they left me was the place I would find healing.

The place I hated was a wilderness place with the “door of hope.”

The anger flames were used of God. He is a Consuming Fire. Anger transformed to hope.

The Spirit filled the empty shell with newness of life. 

“….the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine…” (The Valley of Vision)

The sun was shining the day I heard the small Voice from the Big God.

A gentle blowing, "Psalm 91."

It was morning when I read the healing song. The song reverberated in the recesses of the deep well. Sheltered under the Shadow. Freed from the snare. Guarded by angels. Rescued. God sent his Word and healed me.

From the deep darkness, I bowed down and looked up. I found hope in the song.

The Morning Star shone into my abyss.

Anatomy of a Black Hole
I got up
Climbed up
Owned up
Gave up

pride

anger

control.

Free bird.
I swooped up
into the blue
September sky.

I looked up.
The Morning Star
had never
given up.

He

lifted up

filled up

sealed up.

No longer
tied up.
I was freed up.
Wounds wrapped up 
in grace.

From the deepest well, the way up is up.



Today, I share a small part of a larger story. It is my story of hope. If you would like to read more about the friends that walked beside me through my journey of depression you can read more about their sacrifices for me here.

For those who identify with my story:
There is a Door of Hope. His name is Jesus. Please do not misunderstand, I do not believe that "lock-down"is the answer for everyone suffering with depression. God used a hospital in my life, but it was not the "thing" that brought my healing. It is part of my story of redemption. God brought my healing when I turned to Him to receive it. 

If you know someone who is in the dark, help them find Him. Do what you can. 
Sometimes, it means taking them to someone who can better help them find their path to healing. 

__________________________________________
Counting the graces with Ann:
-eleven years of healing (grace upon grace)
-being called God's child
-God's lavish love 
-for being humbled but not humiliated
-for remembering grace-wrapped wounds healed






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