When the storms rage against you, what is your response?
Do you cling to those who love you, or do you rail against them?
To my shame, I admit that I am prone to the latter. When the darkness closes in around me, I’m quick to forget the light. Depression moves in on me like an ocean swell, and grows into something sinister which threatens to tear me to pieces. When the storms beat mercilessly upon me, I forget everything but the waves.
I lose sight of everything that I know to be true, and I let what was previously a minor squall grow into a destructive hurricane of my own creation. It isn’t long before that it takes on a mind of its own, and I can’t fight it anymore.
The futility of all that’s going on, whether actual or perceived, becomes exceedingly real to me, and I wonder why I even try. I cling to my ship, though it be tossed, pleading not to God but with the storm that it would let up, if even for a moment. I cry through the roaring of the sea, but it doesn’t hear me, and if it did, I’m certain that it wouldn’t care. Why would it? I am but a speck of life tossed on it’s near infinity. The sea doesn’t love me. It wants to consume me.
Sometimes I’m ready to be consumed. What do I have to offer? What’s the point of it all? But I don’t stop.
Though I may want to give up sometimes, I cannot.
If you’re reading this, maybe you’re one who loves me. I know I’ve pushed you away before, and I fear that I’ll do it again. My last hope is that it’s never so far that you give up on me, though I know that I don’t deserve any of you. Before the storm reaches it’s full fury, I will surely send you away in the lifeboats, and I’ll man this vessel alone. I’ve done it before, and I fear that I’ll do it again.
It’s not that I don’t love you. It’s not that I don’t appreciate that you’re here for me, but I don’t know how to receive it.
Truly, when all the horrors of the storm are met with all of the horrors of my own self, I just don’t want you to have to witness the decimation.
Frankly, I’m ashamed of myself. I’m embarrassed that my depression gets this kind of a hold on me, and that all I want is to survive it.
But I’m tired. Every muscle aches from holding on to the ship. Sometimes, it’s all I can do to lash myself to the mast and just let the waves crash over me. I can’t hold on, and I can’t fight, so I just let them come. They won’t relent, and I can’t stop them. I’ve given them too much power, and they simply beat against me. Though I weep bitterly, I can’t even distinguish my own tears from the salty spray of the sea. Both cling to me like a leprous rash, and they both serve as stinging reminders of my own inadequacies.
I hate the man that I’ve allowed myself to become.
Somewhere, on these open waters, I can almost hear the voice of Jesus calling out to me. Much like Peter, I hear Him beckon me to leave the safety of the boat which I have built for myself, and He promises to bear me up. Imagine! He says that we won’t be tossed by the waves, but instead we will walk effortlessly over them. Even if I was sure that I could hear Him, I’m not sure that I could ever expect Him to take this storm away from me, or take me away from the storm.
Sometimes, the storm is the only way that I know I’m still alive, and while I desperately hate it, it has become part of who I am.
He says that He is for me, and in the depths of myself, I believe Him. Really, I do. And yet… I cling to my ship, to my self, and to my storms. Though my ship be tossed, yet it is mine. The suffering is real, but it’s comfortable somehow. I know what to expect. The rains won’t fall forever, after all. Somehow, someday, they will give way to the sunshine again.
And when they do, will I give credit to Him who promised to preserve me? Or will I just say another storm has passed, as is the order of nature?
I’m okay, but not okay. I’m okay enough, right?
God, your will could never calm the seas I’m braving… could it?
I’m not sure I’m ready to let you, but someday, I hope that I am. Prepare me.
That was a single post in a series, celebrating individual songs from one of my favorite bands, The Classic Crime, and their album “Phoenix” (available here). It is my hope that whether you like the band or not, there will be something in the posts that will resonate with you.
I don’t intend to go through all 13 tracks, but I’ll be doing several of them. Among other things, these posts express my anticipation for their next album, scheduled for release in early 2017. I’m probably more excited than a grown man should be for something like this, but I’m okay with that.