"Beloved, it is time
for you to rise..."
for you to rise..."
This morning as the sun crested Sleeping Indian, I couldn't help but think about another Easter weekend. It was over a decade ago, but the memories are as fresh as this morning's dew.
David Wilcox's "Rise," brings it all back. And along with the memories, tears of gratitude.
I wrote about the experience in 2006 when it was still quite fresh. Revisiting that post, this afternoon, was profoundly moving for me. Here is an excerpt:
"Depression which had only been a far-off land - visited by other people - became my prison. Escape seemed to come only with dreaming, and sleep was the vehicle for getting to this place of reprieve. I lived in limbo between the waking reality of my sadness, and the hypnotic invitation to escape from that sadness, through sleep.
"Depression -- and the constant invitation by pharmaceutical companies to join the club of millions who suffer from countless symptoms that only their drug can relieve -- invites its victim to let go, and sink deeper. To give in to the weight of its pull, like a tired swimmer in an endless whirlpool of overwhelming emotions.
Wilcox's "Rise" was a life preserver thrown to me when I was most exhausted from that downward spiral..."
Today, that depression seems like a nightmare I simply woke up from. But at the time, I couldn't even imagine rousing myself, much less breaking free.
Recently, someone suggested that depression was something a mutual friend just needed to "snap out of." I tried to explain that -- when you were in the midst of it -- it wasn't as easy as that. It felt very ominous and real. Depression felt like a living thing.
I remember the feeling of being caught under a heavy cloud of darkness. And at the time, I found myself thinking about that feeling a lot -- what did it mean, when did it start, how had it changed? But it was the feeling of heaviness which gave me my first clue that -- perhaps -- there was a way out.
I realized that I could only be aware of the heaviness, because I had experienced something else - something lighter. I was aware of the difference. That meant that the lightness was still part of my consciousness. And somehow, I knew that lightness and joy were better - more natural - than the heavy darkness.
This realization was like the sun breaking through. In fact, I remember one day in particular when a shaft of sunlight coming through the bedroom window was like an invitation. I engaged with it. I let it call me out from under the bedcovers and onto the back deck where I delighted in the dance of a pair of mourning doves.
As I watched them, it occurred to me that I actually cared about them. I wanted to get up and fill the bird feeder. Love for these gentle beings was giving me a sense of purpose, and it was bringing me such pure joy. I held on to the fact that I could actually feel and experience that simple joy -- for many days.
Someone once asked me if I had forgotten how to pray during that time. No. Actually, I prayed without ceasing. In fact, I think I learned something very beautiful about prayer during those dark days. Prayer was not something I did. It was not my thinking. Prayer was/is, as Mary Baker Eddy says on the first page of her primary work, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:
"God's gracious means..."
Because I didn't trust my own thinking, I stopped thinking -- and started listening more humbly, attentively, hungrily for the voice of my Father-Mother God. The inspirations that came were not "of me," -- that was clear. They were so pure and lovely that they often brought me to my knees in abject gratitude.
Depression was my tomb. Depression was the lonely place where I began to strip away the false sense of human endeavor, and accomplishment. I didn't trust "my mind," but I trusted the Mind that held the stars in order, that called the leaflet to the sun, that poured inspiration into my waiting heart.
I was sad, but I was alive. I was sad, but I wanted happiness and goodness for my daughters. I was sad, but I was able to get up and make breakfast for my family. Yes, I was sad, but that was just a feeling -- and feelings weren't necessarily facts. They didn't define me. I was sad, but I could love. This defined me -- even to myself.
These small moments of love lived, were like a kind stranger calling a frightened kitten out from beneath a dumpster. Before long, I was drinking the milk of the Word from the hand of the Divine.
As I ponder the Easter story tonight, I can't help but think of how many small resurrections we each face. For some of us, these resurrections come in the form of a renewed sense of wonder. For others it may come in the form of new love. For many, it appears as healing in a relationship that held no hope. And for others, it is the stone of sadness being rolled away from the where we have "buried our fondest earthly, [and heavenly] hopes" -- as Eddy suggests.
Jesus' resurrection was an event of unprecedented import and opened an entire new world of spiritual expectancy for the human race. Life triumphed over death, love over hate, and hope over despair. For each of us, this event -- which took place over 2,000 years ago -- offers the promise of freedom from the depressing thought that we are mortals subject to laws of heredity, history, and psycho-social theories of chance and unpredictability.
In her, First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mary Baker Eddy writes:
"A great sanity,
a mighty something buried
in the depths of the unseen,
has wrought a resurrection among you,
and has leaped into living love. "
This "great sanity" of being -- is living love. This is the sanity that lays waste to depression. This resurrection - this mighty something - may seem buried within the depths of the unseen, but it is there. It is the kingdom of God within each of us. And it leaps into action at the call of love.
May your heart feel the joy of this Easter promise. May you feel the peace of this mighty something -- and may it work a resurrection among you, and yours, and all -- leaping, and singing, and living love.
offered with Love,