I’ve been depressed this month. I hesitate to admit it because as soon as you do people start imagining the synapses of your brain not firing appropriately or your tryptophan not dripping, as it should and your serotonin out of tune. We’ve all seen the commercials and that little sad circle cartoon is compelling enough to make us take note. Depression hurts. So does the truth. I think I am suffering more from the truth than from depression. Let’s not get the cart before the horse on this one.
Truth is there is a lot that is not as I want it in my body, in my relationships, in my church, in my world. I don’t like to cop to the names I heard growing up as the baby of the family, but I do want things my way and I want them that way NOW! We all do. I am just more ambitious or less realistic than others. I can’t let sleeping dogs lie if those dogs are lying in my way. They get under my skin and make me itch. (Like the fleas that are on the dogs that are in my way. This metaphor just keeps on giving). That’s why I write - to scratch the itch. It may not always alleviate the irritant but it does help me feel better at least temporarily so I can get to sleep. (No I am not a sleeping dog and I’ll bite anyone who says otherwise).
I’m amazed at how powerless I am over most of the things that bother me. This is a new revelation. I have a savior complex, I think, and things like dying for a cause or saving just one starfish among thousands with the optimism that it makes a difference for the ones I save really get me going. I’ve gotten in a lot of trouble most of my life for saving people who like to be saved. Or like that story about the animal (it might have been a dog) who shuttled the snake across the river only to be bitten and in his dying breath learned that though the snake would die too, it bit him because that’s what snakes do; I have saved people who bite me just cause it’s in them to do so. I also have spent a lot of energy saving people who did not want to be saved. That just annoys people. Don’t do it.
Now that I am 40ish with a 1ish year old and 3 older kids I can’t seem to find the energy to save electricity if it means going up a flight of stairs to turn off an unnecessary light. That troubles me. The impulse to save has not left me. It barks at me or whines and scratches at the door of my heart when I read the news or see people suffering around me. It’s just that my misguided well-intended efforts have exhausted my supply, at least for now.
Probably that’s a good thing. The position on the cross has already been filled and so there is no need for me to even fill out an application. Maybe it was I needing the saving all along. Or maybe saving people was a way of avoiding doing my own taxes or something else a grown up would do. I truly don’t know. One of my favorite Bible verses is “Be still and know that I am God”. I used to think it was God speaking as we would to a yappy little dog, "BE STILL! I’m GOD, Damnit!” (Sorry to be irreverent but it was too good to pass up). Now I hear it as God saying gently, “If you will be still then you will know that I am God (and you’re not, Jill)” I like that interpretation better.
I can’t control how things are shaping up in the Middle East; I can’t even control how things are shaping up when my middle eats (though I may have a fighting chance some day). So, I think I will sit still and wait to get over this sinus infection or whatever else is wearing me out. While I am doing that I think I am going to make some “not to do” lists for the school year. I just can’t make such a “to do” out of things anymore. And if I see that there are some things left undone that should be done up, I will try not to bite the hand that feeds me - my own. I’m going to need that hand. Because the next time I get beside myself, I’m going to hold my hand. That’s what friends are for.