Thursday, May 11, 2006
The Depression Report
Nobody's going to believe it. Why bother writing?
But, what matter. People believe what they want. If you want to live in a world where God does nothing, I can't change that. God does things for me for his own reasons, or perhaps simply because I ask. Lu wrote something about this a while back, about a moment of doubt she had while driving. Well, among the things I've screwed up in living with Jesus, that's not one of them. Perhaps watching my ten-ton stony self get plucked from the rim of the canyon just before I took the last step has something to do with God being real.
The premise is that God knows what I need, and I don't. I gave him carte blanche. Why not? I was dead meat. I've heard plenty of stories about people asking God for help, with the result that nothing happens. I expected nothing to happen. I didn't have faith, I didn't believe, I was grasping at the last straw. When God stilled my mind so that I could think straight one night I was so far gone it just seemed normal. Only later did the weirdness of that moment sink in but by that time I was well set on the path. Start weird, keep on weird.
God is real. He does things in my life, He touches me, He listens to me, He speaks to me.
He muzzled the junkyard dog that has bedevilled my life. He keeps the damned thing muzzled, too.
God promised to, well, I can't say it any better than this: cure my depression. Who am I to quibble? He wants to try, he's welcome to do so. I'm not doing much with my life so he might as well.
It's happening. The change is slow, but it's as real as the God who is doing it. I try to tell people about this (assuming I can even get anyone to stand still for a minute to listen) and I can feel the disbelief. I say "God," they think "The indomitable spirit of Man" or some such. They look in the mirror of the story I tell and see themselves.
I have no indomitable spirit. Well, actually, I do. Sort of. After all, I didn't quit. I also, given the many choices of routes to follow in life, have historically chosen my own. Some things, though, I just give up. Romance is one. A goal for my life is another. I just don't think that way because...
Because there is no point. The future is no farther away than the end of my nose and that's all I care about. So, my friend Rocket gets into music with a dream of being a singer. He has a good voice, but the business is tough. In disgust at the game-playing, he quits. Buys an old, clapped-out Subaru Brat and the cheapest decent carpet cleaning machine he can, and starts his own business. 18 years later he's selling the business and moving to Bali. He no longer needs to worry about income. I'm still plodding, still bashing along in my stolid muddy truck, surviving. Maybe the comparison is invalid.
Maybe I do have a dream. Maybe I've always had it, a rather odd dream of being a whole human being.
That's what I'm doing, whether it's a good dream or not. It seems a necessary first step. Why bother living if you don't much care about getting up in the morning?
The road to healing has been rough. One necessary step has been knocking out the falsework I've used to hold my life out of the gutter. I've seen the results of completely losing hope, and of losing self. I don't want to go there. Naturally, I'm terrified when God shakes that old foundation, but the shape of the foundation dictates the shape of the building and mine was not shaped to allow a whole life. The foundation has to be rebuilt. Life has to go on, though; I can't park myself under a rock while my soul is transformed. Life also affects the transformation.
So, God removes, and holds. Castle in the air. It's an odd feeling to go on with my life, knowing that it's only God's hand between me and the long, long-feared drop. He pulls out the odd strands, strengthens what needs to be strengthened, and changes the way I view the world. There are hints of a new foundation forming underneath but I don't know much about it yet.
And what of those people who beg God for help, and he doesn't answer? I simply don't know. What of those who will read this story and laugh at my delusion? I don't know about them, either. "God doesn't do that," they say. "God helps those who help themselves." No, he doesn't. If that were true he wouldn't be helping anyone, because we're all helpless. Those things we can control are too small to be of much interest.
I've written before about how the way to God's new land is very narrow. Lots of paths lead to the cross but there is only one way through. Once you've made that narrow decision, I said, you find a very large land on the other side of the cross. It's one of those things that seemed right in theory but at the time was more idea than reality. Now it's becoming reality.
I think many of the failures have to do with preconceptions. If you tell God who He is he can't do much. If you let him tell you who he is, well, it's kind of like planting zucchini squash. Throw the seeds, and run.
Why me? I don't know. Ask Jesus. He'll probably tell you, or he might say, "Child, I will only tell you your story." Why now and not 30 years ago? It took me that long to realize that God helps those who need his help. Curing depression might seem like a luxury to those who see God only in terms of taskmaster, but the real and invisible God won't fit anyone's preconceptions. Thank God for that.
I'm not responsible for acceptance. My sole responsibility in this deal is to tell the story.