Alone On The Melancholy Playground

Alone On The Melancholy Playground

Alone On The Melancholy Playground 150 150 Melinda VanRy

When I am melancholy it seems this is the reality of my life. It is the thread I see, dark, running through it all. Briefly crossed by the bright hues of pleasure and happiness. Sometimes lost in the deeper black of despair.

And what of joy?

It is to be found in Christ. In the peace of fellowship with Him, though the deepest fellowship with Him is found in suffering, and I don’t wish to go there. I resist sitting with Him in my suffering, so I lack the intimacy, the joy in and despite. I don’t want to wait for Him, so I run from the peace. Or, more accurately, stumble away.

Joy is found in the hope of the Promise of what lies ahead. For us. In Him.

So the closest I come to joy here is homesickness. The gaping empty in my chest. The child’s wish to be home. Embraced in the comfort, and welcome, and rest found there at the end of a busy day, or a trip away.

I am tired.

It wasn’t until I was sitting on the bench at the little playground – all bright colors and wood chips, my children running, laughing, happy – that I named that distance in my mind melancholy.

And my heart? Does it even beat?

I am with those who love me best.

Yet I am alone.

That is the black heart of the Curse, is it not? Isolation. A fortress around its soul of pride that knows better than God, keeping us from redemption.

We choose sterile knowledge and empty experience over intimacy.

They are appealing, and taste sweet. But leave us empty. With a bitter aftertaste.

In the Garden, our choice first broke our fellowship with God.

Then with each other.

It’s HER fault. YOU gave her to me.

We spend our lives defending ourselves against God and each other while we long for relationship.

It is intimacy that terrifies us. The vulnerability.

To love someone is to give them power. The power to hurt us.

So we shy away from true intimacy, or outright run; and embrace, or force, counterfeits to try to satisfy our craving for true connection.

What we really want is to know and be known. But we let it look like other things.

We don’t even allow ourselves to know our selves.

Who are we, even?

We choose to be empty. In empty relationships.

Where my mind sat at the playground? Alone.

Each of us IS alone.

We hide from God. We hide from each other while we run to each other, bumping against each other’s hard and soft edges. We collide. We bounce away. We devour each other, and vomit each other out. We latch on and tear each other’s flesh. We connect, but keep parts of ourselves always hidden.

We are a mass of bleeding, broken humanity.

Triage assessment…

I’m not bleeding.

Too numb to feel my bruises.

How many are self-inflicted?

I am half-asleep.

I see them running, laughing, climbing, jumping, sliding, speeding above the ground on the zipline, bouncing back. Smiling.

The are so. far. away.

Yet close enough I could touch them, should touch them.


Not a new word. But a new word to describe my self. This feeling. This almost-longing that is too tired to crave, to small to desire.

As old as time. And as uninformed and basic as the mute request of the exhausted child to be enfolded in strong, loving arms, settled onto a parental lap. To rest with the steady, reassuring heartbeat. And sleep…

They deserve better.

They deserve a mother with the heart and stomach and guts to break through the mess, within and without, to achieve for them a better life than we half-live now.

Free from the clutter of broken minds and hearts. Room to breathe. And grow. And blossom.

A home.


Melinda VanRy

Melinda VanRy writes about mental illness and faith on her blog, Fruit Of Brokenness ( Her struggles with depression and anxiety remind her that she needs God. Every moment. But she forgets. Though it's difficult to find time to write with three homeschooled kids, a husband, cats, and a crumbling old house, write she must. She shares the light God shines in her darkness to give others hope.

All posts by Melinda VanRy
  • I have sat in a playground experiencing EXACTLY this – although I didn’t have the words at the time… Many years later, now sitting in my empty nest, I know the word, the feeling, and I have accepted it is a deep part of me. It gives me the capacity to feel the emptiness, and to acknowledge, what we all need – to be loved, to be embraced, to feel safe. I am now better at being the Mother I need having learnt to mother my children.
    Thank you for this beauty-filled post 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment, Claire. Sometimes I’m sure I’ll never get mothering right. I’m glad God is bigger than my failings, and His grace truly is amazing. Even when I’m struggling, I want my kids to know they are loved, and feel safe.

  • I have felt these exact feelings–you put them into truth and light so beautifully and heart-tugging. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability.