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Thursday, November 20, 2008

D

Forgotten Prophets is a rather dark place, I fear. I don't mean for it to be so, but it's my wailing wall, and if it echoes with despair, well, it is a canyon in the deep wilderness, and any who hear my cries must admit that they seek it out. I never meant for it to be a cause of distress, but then again distress is such a dramatic word. Nobody who reads these words knows me. People we've never met and think we care about -- they are fictional characters. We weep for colored shadows on the movie screen, but it's just imagination and pretend, for all the practical effect it has. Lessons in empathy perhaps, but that's what real people are for, the ones in our lives, whom we know and have some power to help and affect.

So yes, things are pretty bad. The years of neglect seem to have brought irreparable damage. I see no way out -- no actual way. It's just depression that makes it seem that way, but depression is a very dangerous thing. A kind of insanity, in that it distorts reality and perception so severely that self-destructiveness in all its degrees seems appropriate.

The name of this blog is taken from a poem I wrote years ago. I am not the forgotten prophet. I'm not a prophet at all. The gist of the poem was that we don't know what God has done, outside of what we're told or what we see. The missionaries and angels he sends to those living in utter darkness go unmarked by all the rest of the world. They are forgotten, and known only to the souls whose lives have met with such intersession. The outcome of God's intervention is uncertain. He has limited himself to a crippling degree by allowing us free will. How could it be otherwise.

I, it seems, am choosing weakness and cowardice. In a sense it's a good thing to sidle up to even such an ugly truth as my passive wickedness and a self-loathing that riddles me like terminal cancer. Jesus said that no man hates his own flesh. Even those who destroy it, with dysfunction or violence, do so in an attempt to save themselves, make themselves feel better. Compulsion is an attempt to relieve anxiety. Being confronted with the true magnitude of the damage to my soul has its justification, then. Why else would we cry out in desperation for rescue?

Last night it occurred to me that I should start begging God. Begging. Can you imagine? What an idea. God wants our humility, but it's hard to know the difference between that and humiliation. It's not debasing ourselves, but the pride that thinks you can stand alone is dishonorable. We stand alone only when we stand with God. Everything else is a fall. Not that I'm preaching. Who am I to speak. Some blogger who's eying the exit and wishing for a catastrophic fire from which circumstances beyond his control will not allow him to escape. Let the end be quick, painless, and not his fault. Let him be a mere and hapless victim.

Depression is about circumstances only to a limited degree. Yes, it's been six years now that the last car of my train wreak when into the river. That's a long time to be under water. I was about to say, who will rescue me. But that makes me sound so weak. No shame in it though, to have God rescue us. Will he? How? How can we be healed? Through circumstances? Through love? The water is still black and I am numb with cold. How could I feel love?

But I pray, when I remember to -- remember to stop focusing on myself so entirely. I'm not really all that faithful, but this fact reminds me of my weakness, which reminds me to pray not just for strength but for help. And it really seems to have made a difference. The presence, the physical presence of depression, the ominous smothering weight I've come to believe is an entity -- it doesn't come around so much. There are angels, you see, who come when they are sent. So that's something. I imagine a battle or at least a harsh dialogue, between evil and some fierce and kind spirit that God has sent to guard me. Give me more of that, please. Send me an army of them.

Now, I hope, the demons that oppress me are just the psychological kind. Are these the ones that require much fasting and prayer? Or is that the other kind. Must be these, since angels can handle the others. These ancient demons are only as ancient as our flesh. They are born with us, or conceive by trauma and cruelty. I don't like the idea that I was an abused child. I'd like to suppose I'm so broken for other reasons. But we know how it is. Hardly anything breaks a child. They bounce. But abuse will do it, and I don't suppose I'm the exception. I haven't really faced that.

Details aren't the point, for all their vile fascination. It wasn't always a horror. I recall no sexual abuse. Although, frankly, I don't see how it could not have happened. But who could I accuse? My father comes to mind, but how unjust that must be. It's just that fathers have a lot of power. I say it's unthinkable not as an unexamined defensiveness and mechanism of denial, but because a given effect can have any of a number of causes. Anyway, sexual abuse is soul shattering, but it's not the only thing that shatters souls. What I don't need to hesitate saying is that not a day went by when my human worth was not attacked, actively or implicitly. I mattered only as an object used to make other people feel good. That will do it.

As I say, I never meant for FP to be a dark spot on the blogosphere. I know that I have readers who drop by regularly. Sorry to be a downer. I'd like to write on intellectual and aesthetic topics, stir up a few rarefied feelings or offer an idea or insight into the current cultural milieu. But this isn't really a public service. I write here for my own purposes -- a way of venting without actually engaging. No cost, no actual cost. But it's so dark now. A downer. I don't really feel right about bringing people down, with so little growth on my part that might offer a reader a happy ending. So it may be that I'll close this blog down. I don't know. I don't want to end on a minor tone. Don't want to end at all. And I know enough not to make decisions while I'm depressed. That's how suicides happen.

Ah well. If any of my several readers know how to pray, remember me please. I don't know where these millstones came from -- hopefully they belong to somebody else. But they're pulling me down.


J

10 comments:

Will C. said...

done my friend...

chuck e. boy said...

"He delivers the afflicted by their affliction, and opens their ear by adversity." Job 36:16(RSV)

Been praying more, you say?

Jack H said...

Whom the Lord loves, he chastens.

Joe Rose said...

Vent on my brother...... and I will pray for you_Joe

Jack H said...

:-)

Ms.Green said...

I told you a week or so that I would pray for you, and I have been and will continue to. I've even enlisted others I know to pray for you - without them knowing who you are, how I know you, or anything about you whatsoever other than you need prayer. This will pass. These things always do. Sure, they come back eventually, but the breaks in between are nice.

Jack H said...

Yes, I haven't forgotten. Thank you. I am quite serious, you know, about that oppression. Yet another outcome of isolating oneself -- turns out we're not really alone. Yikes.

Question for the day: which is more valuable, wisdom or courage?

Ms.Green said...

Wisdom. Courage can get you killed.

Anonymous said...

Jack, from the time I was about 8 years old until I was a teen, I learned all about sex ...which is highly unfortunate, because my father is the one who taught me...

This led to more sin in my life later...drugs, alcohol, promiscuity..anything to deaden the pain and bury the secret.

The pain I still carry as an adult has dulled over the years, but still lies beneath the surface. I have been forgiven for my sins through Christ, so I have forgiven my father.

God gets me through the times when the memories overpower me. When the depression gets to be more than I can handle.

I don't hate. I forgive. I am a good wife and mother. Yet those memories still cause me pain.

I think I know the level of pain you feel. I recognize it. Don't give in to it. Seek others. Quit hiding alone and venture out. There are others like us who want connection...they want to feel normal and have normal relationships. But if they all stay home and hide, they'll never find each other.

God sometimes shows His love to us through others. You don't seem to be giving Him much of a chance to do that.

A friend who prays for you.

Jack H said...

Today is/was my father's birthday. I called his number. Three times. Let it ring and ring and ring. I actually wanted him to pick up. Didn't happen. I'll try again tomorrow. Next week is Thanksgiving. I haven't observed Thanksgiving in ... well, ever. Always dragged along, and then just ignored it. This year I seem to have resolved to try to engage in its spirit. I find that the desire for human companionship is no longer subterranean -- it's conscious now. I'm still in a pretty bad way, but a few things might be jarring loose. For all that things are dangerous, it need not be a bad thing. So thank you, all and several, for any kind thoughts and remembrances. I hope to be able to do the same for others, as for myself. We shall see. It is a wild ride, fearful and uncertain. Hope it goes somewhere good.

J