Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The D-Word and Old Motivational Men

So yesterday day was one of those days, and honestly, it just kept getting worse until it culminated in me stress eating a seriously unhealthy amount of McDonalds (I am not a binge eater...until I have a meltdown, which is about once every six months). My incredibly supportive husband was, thankfully, incredibly supportive and I ended up drifting off to sleep fine, albeit with a rather uncomfortable belly full of plastic and toxins and whatever else McDonalds "food" really is.

When I have really, really bad days, I usually say I'm "in a funk." It's become my code phase for a day where I am severely...well, uh, depressed. I don't leave the house, nor do I do anything productive in the house; no one and nothing can cheer me, I do not pray or shower or talk or even cry. I just sit and stare and feel horrible about myself. It doesn't happen very often and it hasn't happened since I've gotten married, but it frightens me horribly. Whenever a day starts out that way, it's like I can't stop it and no one can help me. I have never called it by the D-word before; even writing it feels like I am somehow out of control and should grab it back. Since I am a choleric/melancholic (for a very detailed explanation, see here), I know I am prone to the d-word, but my choleric side hates that and finds it a sign of weakness. Those days are very dark for me, full of thoughts that I know are straight from the pit of hell, and I am grateful I have not had one in a while.

Yesterday was not one of those days; I was emotional, which negates my haze of self-loathing. But it was still rough, and I was looking forward to going to sleep and hitting the "reset" button. Not coincidentally, I have found that days after bad or funky days are usually the best, where God showers me with blessings and love that I can see and touch in a very real way, in ways I do not deserve but so greatly need since I am so weak. And today I woke up early; I heard God nudging me around 5:45am, and instead of ignoring it, I got up. I got up and I prayed a bit, watched the fog sit still over the marshes and pine forests. Mostly I just enjoyed the quiet, with the dog sweetly padding behind me wherever I went. Then I perused the newest issues of Runner's World (which I always read, whether my last run was the day before or six months before), and was inspired to run. I had a fabulous run - out and back on my street, watching the fog and feeling a wet breeze on my legs. As I ran, I passed an old man who was walking the same direction. He was old even by Naples standards and walking steadily, but slowly. I said hello and kept going; in fact, I ran further than I have in a long time. As I passed him coming back, I was walking and he said to me "did you run that whole way, just for me?" Really, the whole time I was running I was praying for my older sister because she's such an inspiration to me, but as he asked me that question, I thought - I should run for you. I should run because I have the time, the inclination, and the ability - and someday I won't anymore. I told him, "Yes I did! And I ran further than I've ever ran before!" He got a huge smile on his deeply lined face and called over his shoulder, "Good for you! God bless!" What a motivation that was for me - what a meditation for the rest of my run. I kept thinking that Jesus had empowered people to walk when they couldn't even stand; surely, surely my Lord could help me run! Surely my God can help me do anything.

That is what affirms to me that God is real: when I am at peace, when I am happy, when I am still and quiet and watchful, I see Him everywhere. Not that I don't see Him when I'm upset, but tons of people cry out only when they are in trouble and then they have an experience of God. I count myself blessed; God is present to me when I am the best version of myself; I can never tell myself that He is a crutch in troubled times or a fable to make me feel better. He is my joy, He himself is that for which I seek - possessing Him, I can always have deep abiding peace. And it's that knowledge that assures me that the darkness will never overpower me - I have tasted and seen the Living God, and I cannot forget Him. If I, who am so fickle and poor, cannot forget Him, then He who values me more than His own life, cannot forget me.

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