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.
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.