Saturday, January 26, 2008


i'm feeling really low.

raw, actually, i'm feeling raw.

or rather, was . . .

a confession (or maybe even, an analysis of myself): i have depression, i think. it's my constant companion.

my brain doesn't function normally. i'm very high strung. or alternately very low. there is a point in between, but i am usually closer to the fringes than the middle.

in my mind and heart there is an insatiable, on-going, constant longing. an acute wanting. i am always wanting, wanting, wanting. i want to be smarter. i want to be thinner. i want be a better daughter, sister, aunt, friend, teacher, person. i want to live abroad. i want to solve my students' problems. the world's.

i am always wanting.

what i really want is to STOP wanting.

i want satiety.

right now, my mind, my heart is insatiable. and i am sick of it. i just want to be happy with what i have.

i want so much that i am perpetually in a state of anxiety.

and then, when i make a mistake, like i did this past week, i dwell on how much i want to fix it, fix myself, fix the situation. and i am back at square one: more wanting.

and i beat myself up. a lot. i am always berating myself for not being better.

with this mistake this past week, i have been killing myself over it.

you know the character silas from dan brown's "the da vinci code"? the weird monk who practiced corporal mortification, using a metal cilice and flogging? well, that's me. except that i practice mental and emotional mortification.

anyhow, as i've said, i've been really struggling with my faith in god for about a year now . . . and i still am, but yesterday . . . last night . . . i was feeling the worst i've felt in a long time. it wasn't pretty and i am grateful that several people who know me called me because i think that things might have gotten even uglier had they not.

i was peering down the proverbial oubliette, when i came across the following:


"I heard a wonderful story recently about a tribe in Africa that does something strange when someone violates a tribal rule. Instead of shaming the person, they put them in the center of the village and the entire tribe gathers around that person in a circle.

For the next hour or two, everyone in the village shouts out all of the good things the offender has done; all of their character qualities; all of the things that are true and admirable about that person. By the end of this, the violator is usually in tears, which is when the village embraces the person and throws a party.

If this isn't a flesh-and-blood version of Jesus' story of the Prodigal Son, I don't know what is. What a wonderful thing: to be reminded of who, and whose we are, after falling on our face. And what a different world this would be if that happened more often.

I'm not trying to suggest that some sort of syrupy utopia is possible, or that some people don't pose a legitimate threat to society and need to be dealt with accordingly, but what a counter-intuitive (and biblical) way of dealing with sin; to not shame someone, but to remind them that they are made in the image of a Creator, and that they are infinitely valued, and infinitely lovable."


so these people, my friends, reminded me of why i shouldn't give up, of why i shouldn't surrender to the demons in my head. and i am grateful.

today is a new day.

and i am grateful for it.

i am grateful for my friends.

for this imperfect, humble, crazy life.

for love, even when it hurts.

for the chance to wake up early this morning and see things a tiny bit clearer.

"if you want to help yourself," said a close friend last night, "help others."

i am here, people. still here. and i'm going to help.

i am going to do my best, whatever that may be, and i am going to be satisfied.

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