October 11, 2014

[+J.M.J.+]

So, it seems that the commitment to post at least once a week is harder than I thought. I apologize for the lapse in posts. I started drafting one at the end of September, but I don’t think I will post it. At least, not yet. This post, I think, will take a different route.

I’ve been hit with a bout of depression lately. Now, I’m not the type of person who can handle just shoving things aside that need to be dealt with, and when I noticed my melancholy over these past few days, I wanted to examine it. I am kept very busy with my full-time job working in the crawler room at a daycare. I am grateful I don’t have to take my work home with me like many do. I am not a morning person, however, and so my mornings are all about frantically getting ready and heading out the door (usually a few minutes late). I try to think in the car, which comes naturally to me since I spent several years in my middle and high school years riding the bus for 45 minutes in the morning and in the evening. It gave me lots of time to think, since I can’t read for very long without getting motion-sickness. I’m grateful for this habit. It gives me the time I need to sort things out. But here lately, I’ve been using the new stereo I put in my car, playing Disney music and classical and Gregorian chant. Not that any of that’s bad, just that…I started craving time in silence. I missed silence. Just listening to the noise of the road. Just listening to the sounds that a house makes as it settles. Last night, I sat in silence for a moment. I noticed it. It was deafening to me. I’m the kind of person who needs some sort of white noise…not radio, not voices, just noise, like water or a fan running. Pure silence does intimidate me. It makes me hyper-aware of everything around me, everything outside of me. Which, for inner reflection, does not bode well. So I turned on the fan in my bathroom (which adjoins my room) and when my boyfriend called, I reflected. I use him as a sounding board a lot. He listened patiently as I sorted out my thoughts, as I dug into the root of my depression and melancholy, brought it to the foreground, and put the puzzle pieces in place. Really, much of it was very easy to do, once I finally sat down and dug in. God gave me the grace in that moment to figure it out, I think.

This habit, of digging in, needs to be done more often. I’m preaching to myself just as much as I am preaching to you, dear reader. What I found surprised me, in good ways and in bad. My depression was not deep-rooted, which rang true with my intuition. Sometimes, the melancholy would seize me and I would be brought close to tears—but I could never cry. If I were truly and honestly, soul-deep, unhappy, I would have cried every night. I would have cried any time my thoughts got close to depression. But I never could cry. Something in me kept telling me, “It’s a nuisance…like a thorn in your foot. Nothing major. It does need to be dealt with so you can keep moving forward. It’s slowing you down.” So my mind justified shoving that to the back burner because, hey, it wasn’t a big deal. But things like that can become a big deal…or rather, you make them out to be a big deal and end up upset for no good reason.

No, the reason behind my depression is something I’m quite familiar with. It’s been plaguing me for the past few years, sticking thorns in my foot when I’m not paying attention, and being a nuisance, though not a danger. It’s a fear, a doubt, about the future, about the path God has placed me on, about marriage and about my past. This doubt can be paralyzing, but only if I let it. It’s something that won’t see reason; it’s something that tempts me to despair; it’s something I can’t argue with. I simply have to banish it with an act of faith in God. It sneers at me, “God is deceiving you. You are not safe on this path. You are on the wrong path. It doesn’t matter what your confessors have told you. What if they’re wrong? What if you are wrong about your past? What if there’s an impediment to marriage that no one knows about, or that you forgot about?”

I have tried battling it out. It’s too strong for me to fight on my own. I become overwhelmed, frustrated, angry and despairing. And that’s exactly where it wants me. Whatever ‘it’ is. I say back, “God would not lead me to a vocation which would be sinful or wrong under my circumstances. I have done my part. I have told the truth, and I’ve told it with all honesty and intention of wanting the truth about my circumstances in return. God would not deceive someone who honestly begged and prayed for the truth, no matter what it cost. He knows all. He is omniscient, not me. It is not my place to look for all the answers. God knows, and He will see to it that whatever needs to be known, will be made known, in the right time and place.”

Of course, it dismisses my argument with a simple retort. “But what if He doesn’t?”

See, this is where the act of faith needs to come in full force. Argument does not prevail against temptations like this. Only a simple and childlike faith and trust in God will serve to overcome it. And I think, last night, I finally grasped this truth. I see now that perhaps God wants me to learn this childlike faith. And He is allowing this temptation to buffet me for that purpose. Thank God that He has seen fit to preserve me from total despair thus far. I have fallen under the weight of this cross many times, but God has not taken it away. He keeps giving me grace to see better, to walk more strongly, and to keep going towards Him. I have to put off my silly intellectual pride in order to keep going, and this is perhaps why He is humbling me with this cross. “Be childlike. Trust in Me. It is I Who knows all, Who sees all, not you. See yourself for the stumbling child of dust you are, and see how much love and grace I pour out on you every moment. If only you will humble yourself, I will exalt you.”

Little children do not ask ‘why’. I am not talking about 4 or 5 year olds who ask every question under the sun. I am speaking of 2 and 3 year olds, who I see running to their mothers and fathers each day, who expect their mothers and fathers to be infallible, unfailing, in picking them up each day, in lifting them up into their arms, in making them better when they are sick, in caring for their wounds, in giving them meals each day. If little children have such trust in their parents, who are as human as we are, why can we not trust God the same way, Who truly is infallible, perfect, and unfailing in all of His promises?

Let us not allow distrust and doubt to hinder our running to God. Let us run to Him, arms wide in trust, marvelling at His greatness and our littleness, and at His condescension to love us more than we could ever love ourselves. He is faithful and unfailing, and He will not despise a contrite and humble heart that cries to Him in trust.

+Deo Gratias! Maria Gratias!+

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