I did write a poem yesterday on April 5, but I never had time to sit and get it on the computer. So here’s that haiku and a short free verse for today…
the first blossoms i have seen
grace our ride today
as my son
enjoy the sunlight
and local path
reflecting on the latest shooting at Ft. Hood, for #NaPoWriMo…
how many names do these demons have?
also have names
one does not
domesticate these demons
one does not
harness a demon
without paying a price
lead us not into temptation
nor the arms of a demon
deliver us from the price
I have my own demons, as we each carry them through our lives, leaving some behind and finding new ones all along the way. The latest shooting at Ft. Hood put a shadow over me, yesterday. It stirred my demons. We like the heroes in our comic books and stories to destroy whole armies, to fight and kill, to slaughter the bad guys and gals by the dozen, and to face down all the enemies they find… but in real life we are much more fragile than the characters of our fantasies. I pray that we take ever more seriously the price we pay for sending our women and men into conflict after conflict, and that we take seriously the price they pay. The men and women who serve us are too great a treasure to take for granted or to leave to the demons.
Yesterday, just to show my age, it was John Denver who helped sing my demons back into the shadows.
still grey skies
mock the storm in my soul
as a sacred unease
rises, shifts and rolls
i cannot name the thing
which inside me grows
This often happens when I sit to intentionally write some poetry. A still, quiet moment allows me to hear some of my more painful inner movements that are drowned out in the usual activity of the day. It’s not that I’m totally filled with melancholy, but it’s there.
In recent months I’ve been in several different situations discussing the impact of depression on our lives and those conversations have had me thinking. I have lived with the ebb and flow of depression as long as I can remember. I don’t think it’s ever outright owned me, but it’s been there. I’ve learned to watch the seasons and to be aware of their impact on my moods. I’ve learned to listen to the people who love me and live with me; Teresa will let me know when I seem to be letting it get an upper hand.
I’ve been thinking about some of the ways that being a person of faith has impacted the way I deal with my depression and darker moods. I think that growing up with a “seen and unseen” worldview has been helpful for me. I was raised to put my faith in something beyond my senses, beyond my ability to perceive, as I could perceive other things. So when the dark thoughts come and I perceive no hope, I have this reflex to look past it and try to see what may not be seen.
I have a cognitive trigger built into me that causes me to seek. When I seek I am in movement. When I am in movement I cannot be held in the grip of anxiety, fear or hopelessness for too long. So when I am in the grip of depression, it never holds all of me, there is a bit of me still free to roam.
I’m not saying that this idea is a panacea or a magic cure all of some kind. And there will always be times when our imbalanced physiology demands the help of trained professionals, both for counseling and for medication. When I stop seeking, then I think it will be time for me to see a professional.
But having that safety valve built into me allows me to be very open about the presence of darkness in my soul. I can deal with the fact that even as a creature of the light, I retain these shadows; I own the shadows. But the shadows don’t own me. I’m grateful to God for this. And so even as I write something that questions what “inside me grows” I am also very assured that it will not one day rule me and destroy me, or supplant in me what God would do. My unease is sacred.