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"Darkness" - July 7 2005

It seems to be my life lately to struggle to stay just half a step ahead of depression. It's always there, waiting to grab me at an unexpected, unguarded moment. And then I fall, pulled by the gravity of the soul into the blackness of the human soul – no, maybe the pit of Hell itself. To a place where no light penetrates and there is no escape. But there are so many voices whispering my failures, shouting mockingly at my faith and my God and the naïve beliefs that I used to hold that I was a good parent and that love could indeed cover a multitude of sins. Maybe it can indeed. I just didn't know my sins were so many more than a mere multitude. Maybe love isn't enough to cover that. And just when you think the blackness is complete, it pulls you down even further. And you realize that black is not just a color. It is a temperature that chills you to the bone like the coldest wind chill, it assaults your body. It becomes the air you breath and fills your body. It even changes the color of you blood. How is it that it can permeate you so completely so quickly, so completely, so relentlessly? And I watch myself sink deeper into blackness, into myself. My eyes struggle to focus on the blackness. I want to close my eyes to it to escape. But irony only makes the black blacker with the eyes closed. Soon even sleep creeps away, hidden in the blackness that mocks but will not regenerate. To close the eyes only makes the black darker still. It seems only when the sun breaks the horizon is it safe to close the eyes and sleep. Quickly! Before the alarm calls with it's shrill voice demanding that the business of the day be started. I know there is only one way to escape the black. It is to look up and to look out. To reach out to another person without regard to self. So, why is it so hard to do? And harder still to find a way to do it in the wee hours of the morning. I need a plan, Father. One to help me cope with the blackness. I would love something that would help me believe again that I have value as a parent, but that doesn't even seem worth hoping for. I can't imagine what would make me feel that again. I would settle for a plan that would help me ignore the darkness, as complete escape seems impossible. Lord, help me to believe that in you all things are possible. That there is something that will come from this long winter of the soul that will make it all seem worth the struggle. That as this blackness has not always defined me, it will no longer define me again. Praying for the impossible. Lord, can you make it possible? Now I lay me down to sleep. Father, my soul is secure, but the sleep part seems too difficult. Father, help me to pray for others – any others, all others. To help others, and thereby help myself by lifting my head to the light that you offer, even as my eyes close from darkness to darkness to your light. Amen