Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Despair Within

Do you know what it feels like to be in a room full of friends and family (in other words, people who love you) and yet feel isolated, alone and in despair?  I am sure you do.  Everyone feels lonesome and woeful at times.  But, I think loneliness is one of the worse kinds of sins, because it is such an inward focus.  I should know because I have struggled with bouts of it throughout my life and I know how I get there.

Loneliness and despair is a very ugly place.  It is a place where I think no one cares about me; no one cares if I were in existence or not; no one loves me; no one thinks I am interesting or important; I am ugly, stupid and unworthy.  It should be noted that in this line of reasoning it is all about me and this is why it is a terrible sin.  There is no reason to think this way.  Everyone is important to someone, or could be important to someone. And I know I am.  It has been a long time since I have felt troubled in such a way.

I have felt this way a lot recently and there is no logic to it.  I know a lot of it is related to hormones making me feel emotional and apparently this is how I deal with my excess emotions.  I turn it inward.  I will be with my husband and he will leave and I will simply fray.  I will be cuddling my helpless newborn who depends on me for everything and weep because no one has called me to see how I am (you see how frivolous that is).  Or I will spend a morning or afternoon with friends, return home and then ask myself now what?  

What is unanswerable and inexcusable is why I turn it into this awful, lonesome, pity-fest.  The only answer is sin.  I keeping praying for the Lord to help me with this--to help me turn my thoughts away from such evil.  But perhaps, it is the sin within that keeps me from receiving His grace in the first place. Part of me says that I need to forgive past hurts.  I need to not just to excuse what made me feel hurt, but release those who hurt me completely from the hurt.

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25-26)

How can I be so blessed and yet despair?  For no reason, I despair.  Every time it begins, I try to turn myself back.  I count the ways my friends and family have loved me.  I point to all my material blessings and my life's advantages.  I pray to God to help me away from thinking poorly about my life.  I pray for Him to help away from these inward thoughts.  I scold myself for being so selfish. 

I think by confronting my problem, I think I scare it away and heal it.  Obviously, turning to reconciliation with the Lord is what is best of all. 

In these instances, my father would turn me toward the poem, Desirderata.  It provides great inspiration in down times.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

1 comment:

ianthis said...

Thank you for your thoughts.You are brave to write so openly :) I think this is a struggle for many mothers. The line especially "be gentle with yourself" is apt--it reminds me that emotions are not sin in themselves, but the application of them:) Often for me a good deal of the struggle is to draw the line properly, neither to despair nor to become smug and complacent. I incline towards the latter, which demonstrates which humor I am, I think.