I had a better essay prepared almost immediately after the Bishop asked me to write it. It was well written, well scriptured – and it was something I was hiding behind.
How can I possibly write about hope? I have been in a state of acute anxiety and despair for 7 months now, with everyone telling me I will be fine, and me smiling back and telling them I will be fine for their sake. Meanwhile, I stopped myself inches from driving into a concrete wall yesterday. How can I possibly speak about hope with any authority?
“You are going to have to decide whether to trust God will take care of you or not, Sarah,??? said a good friend of mine, who also suffers from depression. So I got down on my knees, and then my legs cramped, and so I got down on all fours like a Muslim prays and I begged for help. I prayed as I have never prayed before, completely opening up my broken heart and sobbing, asking the Lord to take a load that which I could no longer carry. Never in my life have I done this. Always I have prayed for strength.
And this morning I was well.
I am at peace. For months I have not been able to hold down food, I have not been able to sleep for splitting migraines, my joints have been in terrible pain. Today the pain is totally gone. I have done nothing different, taken no new medicine, had no grand epiphany, taken no special food. I am simply, body, mind, and spirit, well.
Am I well forever? I don’t expect that. Every depression has its lesson and this one carried several powerful lessons, so I don’t think my schoolin’s over for this lifetime. But for the moment I have respite, and I can appreciate the miracle that all life around me is.
Have you ever given that much thought? That the very substance we need to stay alive from one day to the next literally pours out of the heavens at us and all we need to do is hold out our hands? Like the blood of Christ, like the love of the Holy Spirit. We only need do the simple things that are required of us, and love and blessings rain down upon us for us to catch with open hands.
I had been doing everything asked of me, or so I thought. I did everything, except asking for help, not from other people, not from my husband, but from Christ. I would let others ask for me, pray for me, bless me. But I had not abased myself, with a broken heart, and invited him in. I had prayed, but I had not, as Jill said “cracked my heart open???.
I know I am supposed to have hope for the afterlife, the celestial kingdom, and my eternal spiritual development. But I struggle so much with this life, that often I do not look too far down the road. I try to do my best day by day.
I have always felt Christ walking with me, side by side. I have always had faith in God. The simple fact that rain falls, like manna from heaven, was proof enough for me of the existence of God. The world in its infinite complexities only made me more certain. It was myself I did not have faith in. I always had hope. Hope that someday I would accomplish enough, serve enough, love enough, that I would be good enough for the Lord to claim me as his own. Even though I was baptized, even though I was endowed – I still did not feel good enough. But I had hope that one day I would be.
Today, I have something better. I have knowledge. I have the knowing of the Holy Spirit working inside me. I can feel it. Not just for a fleeting moment. I can feel something taking root along side my faith, alongside my prayers. Instead of offering the Lord my service, my duty, my actions – which I had done all my life – I offered him my pain, my broken heart, my utter frailty. And he accepted me anyway. Perhaps because I was, finally, offering my imperfection.
That is far more than cause for hope. It is a miracle of knowledge that I pray I shall never forget.
I am beloved. I am welcome. I am not alone.
Imperfect as I am, I am wanted.
And therein lies the hope that anything, Anything, is possible.