Riding Her Bike

This—any day like this—is why she adores every transference of the seasons. She doesn’t have a favorite. She loves each one for its unique nature. But she also loves when the qualities of one season infiltrate another. Today is such … Continue reading

While I Wait

Be patient. How easy it is to resent those words—especially in this digital world. Those of us who used to type on typewriters and find source materials at libraries now grow irritated when a Word document or website takes too long to load. We become impatient in minutes. It has become realistic to find or receive what we want in seconds. It is an uphill journey to learn and maintain patience in a culture that gorges itself on instant gratification.

Fast can be wonderful, but sometimes slow is better. Look at the world God created. Take a lesson from nature. Few things happen in an instant. Gestation, the seasons, or fruit on a tree—the world is full of things that take time to ripen, mature, or grow before they can be enjoyed at their peak.

Patience is important. Good things are worth the wait. And more than that, the wait is worth something as well. Sometimes the time spent in expectation is worth more that whatever it is we’re waiting for. So much can be learned in the silence, stillness, or tension that rests between the desire and its realization.

Patience is connected to faith. The process of trusting has its own worth—the act of having peace and reassurance without knowing or seeing whence or how our hopes or dreams will come to us. In the season of anticipation we increase the worth and weight of our faith. We see our currency of trust in God appreciate in value. And once what we hoped for arrives, we find the wait has made having it better. We treasure it more because it was elusive or slow in coming.

Patience isn’t just a virtue; it is often necessary. Sometimes we’re not equipped to have what we want, but sometimes it’s what we want that isn’t ready. Some of our dreams need time to develop and ripen on their metaphorical trees. If we force it, if we try to take hold of it too soon, it will be like eating fruit that hasn’t ripened or giving up on climbing the mountain before reaching its peak. The view might be good, but not as great as it could have been. The fruit is nice, but not nearly as sweet. We end up with a lesser version of what we would have had if only we had waited.

I am not a patient person. Patience is a lesson I’m still learning. It’s a challenge. I am trying to live a life of ambitious contentment. I don’t want my impatience to compel me towards imprudence or chain me to disappointment.

In my professional life, 2014 was a year of projected hits that turned into misses. The trajectories of my dreams were modest at best. I faced disappointment, but I didn’t dwell in it or become discouraged—a minor miracle. Even though all those doors that cracked open eventually closed in my face, I remained patient. I had (I have) faith. And so I wait to see if and when I’ll find new doors willing to open fully for me to walk through.

Time and time again, I’ve seen that few things of great value are fleeting opportunities. More often than not (at least in my life) they are the culmination of a season of waiting and working, maturing and strengthening, or observing and learning.

Patient ambition—or content anticipation—that is what I am aiming for. Don’t let me lose my peace and joy in the now simply because I don’t have something yet. I want to be able to want and to be satisfied while I wait.

Spring Is a Triumph

 

Hopes, Needs & Wants

If spring were a metaphor, it would mean hope and possibility. It reminds me that the harsher things (like winter’s biting winds) are temporary.

Spring proves new things are possible. That apparent death can yield life. That branches which look hard and barren today can bear downy blossoms almost overnight.

When I need hope, I look to spring. Teeming with assertions of life, it is the season of new and renewed things. Touching us with warmer weather like a loving hand. Bringing us outdoors again as it thaws the land.

If spring were a simile, she’d be like a generous friend. Offering the perfume of aromatic blooms and their lavish hues. Giving the subtle lengthening of days. Dulling the chill in the air and producing hydrating rain.

If spring had a song, it would be the birds’ morning melodies. And the percussion would be the sound of raindrops hitting everything.

I have love for all the seasons, but I’m especially fond of spring. It is full of meaningful metaphors and inspiring similes.

Spring is a triumph of life. It’s like seeing the world reborn. It’s a love letter to the living. However harsh the winter, spring will always come.

Tulips

Depression Is Not a Weakness

When I find myself lying in bed beneath the invisible weight of depression, I often call myself lazy. It is unjust, especially because the misdiagnosis leads to the wrong set of antidotes. Depression is not sloth. You don’t tell someone with a broken leg to go for a long run in order to feel better. You give her a cast and crutches. You let him sit down. There is a difference between not wanting to and not being able to (even if the reasons are hard to articulate or prove).

For me, depression is a state of being rather than one sensation or feeling. It becomes my environment and world. It consumes me and every ounce of energy I muster. Like a dark forest, it utterly surrounds me—and the way out is hard and long and confounding.

My depression is like water. It is at once tiny and great. Small, because there are few things it can’t penetrate. Massive, because its end always seems an infinite distance away. I constantly feel that I’m in the middle of it—making no progress towards its end. And then one day, and very unceremoniously, I awake to find I’ve left it behind (or it’s left me). No matter how dark and vast it was, it always ends eventually. Perhaps God lifts me out of it like an emotional search and rescue team, because I never recognize the approach of the end, just that it’s behind me.

When I’m depressed, I feel as though an unreachable part of myself is broken. But the cause of my discomfort won’t show up on an MRI or x-ray. The pain is at once real and intangible—oppressive and insubstantial. I perceive it, but I can’t point to where it hurts—because there is no one place that aches. The pain is nowhere and omnipresent.

Depression is an exasperating enigma. It feels like a puzzle everyone else has been able to solve. It is frustrating because it’s like being restrained by something that isn’t there at all. It feels like starving at a buffet or remaining in a jail cell after being declared innocent. It is sitting in a dark, deep hole with a ladder, but you can’t see—let alone reach—it.

All too often depression doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Too many find it impossible to reconcile with our fast-paced, wealth/success/pleasure-driven world. We tend to avoid our more difficult feelings, so depression gets denied and dismissed. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but many feel (or act) as though it is.

Depression is not a failure just as winter is not a mistake among the seasons. Denying depression is like expecting summer to supply snow or autumn to bear blossoms. And just as the world has rain, wind, cold, and sun, your emotional life exists on a vast spectrum. Certainly some feelings are easier to experience while others are more challenging to endure, but all of them have rights to your time and attention.

Depression is not a weakness. In fact, it takes great strength. For someone who is depressed, even the easy parts of life require effort. It is hard work to reside in the darker parts of yourself. It takes great courage to admit you’re broken or to seek help.

Too often depression gets minimized or glossed over because it hasn’t earned the respect afforded most physical diseases and injuries. But just because I can’t point to exactly where it hurts, show you how I’m broken on an x-ray, or prove I’m sick by taking a blood test, doesn’t mean I’m okay and it’s all in my head. I mean it is all in my head, but that doesn’t make it any less real. Not everything that resides in your mind is imaginary.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4).