“We all stand on the sad earth, throwing long shadows, breath cut with flesh.”
“Every creature casts a shadow under the sun’s golden finger/ But when the sun sinks past the waving grass/ Some shadows are dragged along”
-The Handsome Family “The Bottomless Hole”
I came home again having had the time of my life. Yet, it had already hit me by the time I got to my car: the ubiquitous sadness and the constant realization that all great times are drops in an ocean of drought. A sickness sets in early on in childhood and does not let up; the rain begins one day and does not end for seventy-seven years. In that time, I searched for a place in my heart where happiness could remain and take shelter but found only pain. All traveling and friends and family and love are bound to be shattered by thunderous emanations from the abyss. What option left is there for some people? In some way I think they are more truthful with existence than the rest of us. I for one will never kill myself for two reasons: one because I am a coward and two because I could never put my family through such an ordeal, especially my mom. Her selfless sacrifice for the whole world but most of all for us kids will sustain me through all doubt in God, through all depressions in reality, and through all heartbreak. Her will and complete faith in Christ has set an anchor in the eternal that she will never leave and that I can see is accessible (at least partly) to me. Her love for me is unbounded and if I ever killed myself I would then have to kill myself over and over and over again as punishment for the anguish I would cause her.
But what remains for some people when coming home at night and the walls are bare and the weather gloomy and joy just a faded memory increasingly tinged with bitterness? Why are we set upon this earth, why are we given such freedom to drown in sorrow? We are autonomous beings and that makes life worth living but also makes life very easily empty—an emptiness in which our minds hold only foreboding desolation. Summer comes, birds chirp and fly free, the wind caresses that juncture between body and soul, but that abomination of desolation remains, throbbing, lurking, waiting to reemerge in that post-glory when reality is crisp and clear and ripe for suffering. Life consists of but a series of defense mechanisms built up over time to stave off death.
God, I know you exist; that much is clear to me. But I also know I am fallen seemingly beyond repair; there will be no crown given me. Life itself is poured out upon the cracked earth of my desires which thirst and thirst and are never satisfied. Wealth, power, beautiful women somehow attracted to me (only in my fantasies): all these would balm my present. But that damned present is always the past; how then shall I now keep moving forward? I can keep moving forward but why? To prevent the pain of others? Yes, that may be the best and only reason for moving forward.
It’s sad. I feel for those who see no outlet this side of eternity. I can only say that a deep intuition drives me on, that life is indeed darkest before the dawn, that peace is granted to those who persevere, that might does not make right but that the meek shall inherit earth, keep moving forward, don’t succumb to that present eternal abyss that allows no escape; we are shadows, after all, shadows cut with flesh dragged across this terrain. That desperate crass depression will not have the last say in this existence: even if I can never defeat it fully, it will not defeat me fully. Woe to those who are comfortable not to those who contemplate the meaningless of it all; woe to those who are happy for peace shall flee to the four corners in an instant. Dive deep into that depression; peace was already proclaimed in the soul at birth, now reclaim that shit, no one is stopping you. The darkness is you and you are the darkness, but there is always light in the darkness for the darkness cannot overcome it and knows itself solely as opposition to it. Besides, who’s to say there isn’t beauty in emptiness, freshness behind the dank darkness. What is empty may frighten but remember: it must be filled. It is up to you, oh you inheritors of the imago dei, to fill that emptiness with that which makes life worth living. We are all contradictions; some of us realize this and, living in it, realize it fully, and see where it takes us. Some grow outwards, clinging to the earth; some grow straight upwards not willing to go along with the well-worn path. Observe yourself: at times something trickles down upon your being like a waterfall, brushing and seeping your self with sadness. But this means it is not you! It is something else when it ripples across your still waters. Shine hard and let the shame come for the harder you shine the more exposure the more fallen your being becomes—shame is inevitable. Darkness man, it is heavy. But there are things weightier still.