Tag Archives: Jesus

my sesonal depression

16 Apr

Seasonal Depression. It’s April in Minnesota, and I’m feelin’ it. Snow over the weekend, snow again tomorrow. It’s been 7 months since my last good soak in the sun.

I’m slowly learning more and more about myself, and I pay attention better than I used to. I notice when I’m feeling frail sooner. Anxious. Sad. Slow. Unbalanced. Shakey. This is how it feels for me. Being honest with myself helps. And kind. When we’ve all been deprived of the sun’s good rays for this long, we can’t be too kind. With others and with ourselves.

So I take deep breaths. I remind myself that I have good reasons for feeling this way, and that it does make sense. I tell myself that I’m not the only one.

Then I breathe again, make myself a cup of tea, tell God a few of the things I’m thankful for. (This flannel Clayton found me, the red-winged black birds that just made their way back, cut flowers in a vase.) If my body feels like Hell (it did this morning) I have a little yoga sequence I go through that’s easy to remember and feels good. I can do it for a minute or ten minutes. It doesn’t matter.

Mountain pose. Breathe. Forward bend. Breathe. Cat pose. Brethe. Cow pose. Brethe. Downward dog. Breathe. Plank. Breathe. Cobra. Breathe. Child’s pose. Breathe.

By now I’m usually feeling a little better. Still frail, yes. I may still burst into tears or (who knows?) an anxiety attack, but I don’t feel unreasonable any more. Hope trickles in, and I remember Clayton’s words to me one day when I was stressing out about all the bad there was in the world, sure that my kids and Clayton and I would all be the victim’s of a terrorist, or a disease, or a world calamity (The result of exposure to too much news). He said, “Dustin, you’re talking like a person without any hope.”

I have hope. I have a lot of hope. I just have to dig for it some days.

Another deep breath. I start doing the things I need to get done for the day, but I let myself go a little slower. I’m intentional with all of my thoughts. If it’s mean, I throw it out. I have to be on my own team. I have to be nice to myself. No judging my thighs, no looking in the mirror unless I’m smiling, no pressuring myself into conquering something huge or making some fancy meal. Not today.

After I’ve gotten some things done, I go outside. Move. Take a walk, a run. At some point I strip off my shoes and socks and “get grounded” as the earthy-people like to say. Mud feels good between my toes, and the cold wakes me up. Plus, I think the earthy-people might be on to something.

I avoid sugar, and processed foods, and the computer, and tv because all of that makes me feel like crap, like my head is swimming in non-sense, and right now I need things to make sense. I avoid big decisions, and I avoid fights with the kids. They haven’t seen the sun for awhile either. I try to say ‘yes’ to them more. When they want to crack the eggs, when the want to pull out the dominos, when they want to make a mess cutting paper. Yes. The house can be messy today. We’ll clean up – slowly.

I find more to thank God for. (Tattoos on the kids foreheads just like I used to do, whistling from a six-year-old, honey in the tea.)

That’s all. I might still end up in tears, but that’s okay. I’ll look on the bright side and call it detoxing. And I’ll smile, and I’ll feel like shit, but it will all be fine because this is me in April when there’s snow on the ground, and it makes sense.

Soon enough I’ll be feeling great. The Hope I have tells me so.



for cathy

14 Jul

I went to a funeral and came home over-joyed. It bubbled out of every pore, pushed past my tear ducts, ran down my cheeks, and welled up in my heart. Joy that passed my understanding. It’s strange, right? To feel so blessed by the passing of another person. But as I tried to comprehend what I was feeling, as the Holy Spirit pressed in on me from all sides, I started to understand: it was her life that was blessing me so much. The life she had lived and the life she now had.

What a hope it is we have in Jesus. What an amazing thing when a funeral becomes a celebration. When you walk into a sanctuary to mourn and find a presence waiting for you there, so heavy and powerful that it’s all you can do to breath, and you want to worship God and thank him with everything you can think to give him, and you feel comforted and unafraid and totally content, wrapped up in something that is safe even in the midst of such loss- especially in the midst of such loss.

The women who had passed, Cathy, had captured me with her gentle spirit and her love for others. I didn’t know her well, but those two things were obvious from the time I first met her. And she loved God. That was beyond obvious. She lived it so beautifully too. And one after another, people came forward and poured out their stories of her. So much laughter was shared in that sanctuary. So much hope.

I can’t find a shred of fear in myself as I sit here, still reeling under the heavy spirit of God, contemplating our lives on the dirt of this earth which are as short-spanning as vapors. And my kids- oh, my kids! I listen as they talk about dying, and Heaven, and Jesus like it’s all so normal. And I sat back and watched them tonight as they tried to unravel the deepest mysteries of theology: Is there spit in Heaven? Are there fountains of spit maybe?

And they are so unafraid.

Clay, who is only three, assured me the other night that if he were to die I might miss him, but I only had to wait until I died too, and then we could meet again in Heaven. He told me that he loved Jesus and he smiled, a grin so full and sure. Then he drifted off to sleep without a single fear to hinder him.

I know people who don’t have this peace, this assurance in their spirits like Clay does. They’re open about their fears, wear them on their shoulders, and I get it. I know what that feels like because I’ve felt it too. I’ve feared the future. The unknown. The what-ifs that can paralyze and end a life before it’s even over.

But the truth is, God, He washes all of that away. In Him, there is no fear. There is only this overwhelming joy. And it seems to make no sense. And yet it is the only thing that makes sense.

I know Cathy is basking in that joy right now.

The thing is, all of us can.