Friday, 2 March 2012

How do you get out of a bottomless pit?

One recent night I found myself in a dark place where the world and my life looked bleak - as if all I ever did was the same thing over and over again, as if I was giving to life but life simply wasn't giving enough back. Like constantly exhaling and never being able to fill the lungs with fresh air again. I suddenly couldn't see the point of getting up the next day (and, yes, before you ask, these moods DO come over me more often when I've stayed up too late, and they have often passed in the morning!). I dragged myself around all evening and got into bed dark and sad.

In the darkness I whispered my own darkness to Jeremy and lay on his chest and cried a bit as he simply held me. Sometimes that's enough, but that night the hole inside me was bottomless and I wanted more, demanded more; wanted human him to be all the breath and love I would ever need. We both know this pit too well and when I drag him in with me and ask him to fill it, this story never ends well.

A few dark words later, and Jeremy says: "I don't think you're seeing things right. I don't know... maybe you need to work on gratitude or something."

Double-edged swords, these words. It's true but it's not what I want to hear right now. Can't you see? My pit is bottomless! I'm flailing in the cold dark here; I need rescue! I tell him so: grudgingly admit that I know I need to work on gratitude, that I've ordered and am waiting for the book that will help me find it ;-) but that that's not what 'now' is about - and he quietly holds me still.

But in the dark, and again when the light dawns, these words play around the edges of my consciousness, forming alliances and garnering support: from Will's talk last Sunday and from the desires that caused me to order the book in the first place, from my deeper longing for true joy rather than either denial or wallowing. And slowly I feel sadness withdrawing (Please, don't leave me!) and this one rose begin to find some breathing space among the thorns.

Only day two of the 'Joy Dare' for me and already I have felt both unexpected bursts of joy, soft tears falling as I read an amazing post this morning (new eyes to see) AND a resistance to "this naive, Polyanna denial mechanism". Yes, I see I have a push-pull feeling about gratitude. Call it a love-hate thing too perhaps. But I'm hoping that this spring-from-winter, joy-from-sadness season I'm in - and this book and the dare to live fully RIGHT HERE AND NOW before anything changes or 'gets better' - will make the pull and the love stronger, and the hating push fade into the background. Because it's not that the darkness isn't there, not that I want to pretend it doesn't exist; just that I have a suspiscion that the way out of the pit is to look up at the light and - hand over hand, remembered gift over remembered gift - climb up... and out.

Joy Dare: 3 gifts green:
1 - A poem brings green to my imagination and heart even while fresh, sparkly-diamond-snow covers the world this morning. 2 - The spinach and kale I put in our smoothies for breakfast, that nourish our bodies without us even tasting it! :-) 3 - The tulip plant I bought to welcome my parents-in-law to their room as they arrive today (praying for safe driving for Jeremy going to pick them up from Bangor).

holy experience


  1. Beautiful Rachel! human!!

  2. THANK YOU, Derrick - it's a gift to journey with you in these small, 'distant' but meaningful ways. XR

  3. 3 gifts at 3pm: 4 - A quiet room after my French class and time to mark; 5 - A week free of planning and marking ahead of me now for March break; 6 - Walking home in the cold (legs to walk with, only 5 mins from work to home) knowing I was returning to bake muffins with Amelie and her little friend.