Monday, September 3, 2012

O My Soul

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

~Psalm 43:5 NIV

These days I feel as if am being doggedly pursued by an old acquaintance of mine.  He's not particularly a welcome friend, but somehow I just don't know how to shake him.  He does leave me alone for a few days, and then, when I'm feeling pretty good about myself, he reappears.

Let me start over.  A month or two ago, a person named Jan wrote a comment on this blog to say that she loves my posts and values my blog.  That comment made my day, nay, my month and I stored it up in the treasury of my heart to revisit time and again.  Yesterday, as I walked home in the rain, an old weather-beaten man tinged with a patina made of the smoke and alcohol which had encircled him for years pulled up beside me in his battered car.  With a kind face lined in wrinkles, and an over-round belly protruding from his unbuttoned shirt, he leaned out his window and asked, "Elise, would you like a ride?"  Then, at work today, on the set of QVC, Mary Beth, a host whose face I remember seeing on the tv screen even as child (my grandmother was a QVC devotee), greeted me by name and asked how I was.    It's a strange thing to think that these small kindnesses-- strangers knowing my name, other strangers telling me that I mean something to them-- touch me very deeply.  These days, they mean almost the world to me.

That old acquaintance that I was telling you about?  His name is depression and he haunts me.  I left QVC today feeling utterly exhausted (I was on the air modeling from 10pm-11pm, 4am-6pm, and again from 1pm-3pm), but came home feeling a different sort of lethargy.  My soul felt downtrodden (does anyone else but me think it's fun that the past participle of tread is trodden?  Tread, trod, trodden.  I do love English so.) and I was at a loss for how to pull myself out of that funk.  I changed into my workout gear, and it seems a small miracle that I managed to lace up my shoes and step out the door.  At first I walked slowly, and then, with a miniature pinscher eagerly dragging me along, I began to run.  The steps were small and I limited my effort, but then with the cool rain-laden air fanning my cheek, I ran faster.  By the end of it, I felt wonderfully blessed.

I would that I could hold on to that feeling of well-being, but ah, he, my old acquaintance (for surely he is no friend), will not be deterred.  It is a never-ending battle, and I must take up again my weapons of self-defense.

I am thankful today for the kindness of strangers.  Let my prayer be like that of St. Francis:

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

I was far from home, depressed and sitting on the end of a pier, just thinking. An old man walked up to me and said he had nearly died of cancer. then he said to me "Don't give up, never give up" then chatted to me about nothing much at all and walked away.
How did he know how down I was feeling, I din't hink it showed.
thank God for strangers.