Saturday, November 15, 2008

Hope for An Overcast Heart

Generally I love fall; the colors and scents blend together in a way that makes me smile with secret delight. But this fall has felt darker to me, as if it's nothing more than an omen of fast-approaching emptiness of winter.

It had been mostly cloudy for a few days in a row and then on Wednesday it started to rain. It rained and rained and rained until gutters and drain grates were clogged and everywhere there were streams pouring off of roofs and lakes collecting on roadways and intersections. The sky was filled so thickly with clouds and precipitation that daylight seemed like dusk and dusk like midnight. In the oppressive grayness of Wednesday I saw that the tree branches were mostly empty and the leaves that lingered were wilted brown dripping sludge from their limp forms. There was no color, there was no life, there was no beauty there. Just unending ugliness and death--winter had already come.

But today something surprising happened. I awoke to bright light filtering its way through my blinds. The rain was gone. As I drove Gram to her therapy appointment I was surprised by what I saw along the roadside. Yes, some of the trees were mostly asleep for winter, but many of the seemingly brown trees from the day before were actually still in that drowsy state of being that only trees can achieve with such red, orange, yellow and green beauty. My eyes soaked it all in and each hue brought a ray of warmth to my heart.

Recently my life has been overcast. Depression is an oppressive cloud over my mind and emotions. It is so thick and dark that it blocks the sun from my eyes and shades the colorful leaves of joy and peace and hope from my vision. The world around me is actually the same as it has always been, but when my heart is shrouded in darkness it can barely see the good and beautiful things in life. Instead everything from activities to relationships to the future seem dark and dreary and dead. Although my mind knows the Sun still exists, I can't feel his warmth or nearness.

Today was a good day, though. One thing that I have found helpful in my recent recurring struggle is to recognize that my perceptions are inaccurate, and today was a reminder of that. No matter how dark it feels, the sun is still real, still there, still giving light and warmth--even though I may not feel it--it is there on the other side of the clouds. And no matter how dead and dreary things may seem in this darkness it is only the way I see them not the way things really are, just as the leaves still were multi-colored even though they looked brown and dead in the shadows cast by the clouds.

So, you who are suffering under a cloud of darkness, know that God is here with you though you may not feel him, and that his promises are true though your faith may be faltering. Realize, hopeless heart, that the things that overwhelm you, bring you sadness, anger, self-loathing and despair will not crush you. You will survive them and you will grow through them. And remember that at some point these clouds will clear and life will be warm and beautiful again.

Do not trust your overcast heart. It cannot see what truly is.

1 comment:

Terra said...

Beautifully written, Kristi!! Thank you!