Depression Drowns Our Hope but Points Us to Truth
Here, we feel the full weight of the loss.
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“Why did I come out of the womb
to see only struggle and sorrow,
to end my life in shame?” (Jeremiah 20:18, CSB)
I am nothing. I am two opposed things. I am in a well. I am beneath the sea. I am crossing the moon. What am I?
I am on my back. I can feel my eyes move when I look from one part of the ceiling to another. The fan is on and because of that and because of how I am it has quietly dried out my mouth. I should turn it off.
I have half a sandwich next to me in bed. I have a bowl full of chip crumbs. I have half a mind to do something about all this. I have to shower.
I am quiet. I don’t want to talk. I want to talk, under different conditions. I want to talk to one person who is willing to listen. I don’t want to listen to someone in the room who is not on my TV. I should not drink this milk. I should tell someone about the terrible things that are coming.
You enticed me, O Lord, and I was enticed.
You were stronger than I, and You prevailed.
I have laundry to do. How am I supposed to travel for three days across a desert down a mountain underwater to get to the washing machine? I should turn my underwear inside out. I don’t want the noise, anyway.
I feel like God is sitting on my chest. I am supposed to talk. I move my film-caked tongue and feel unwell.
I just want to get back to my desk. I don’t want to hear about it, Diane. Your problems are not real. You should get out of my face with this business about your neighbor and his smoky grill. I can’t even imagine having a grill, or a neighbor.
Just yesterday a guy hit me in the face. I called him Terror-All-Around because I had a vision of what is going to happen to him and everyone he loves. He didn’t care. He and his buddies twisted my arm and put me on the ground. He is a pastor, by the way.
For the word of the Lord became to me
disgrace and contempt all day long.
I am far away. I am a fragile glass figurine. I am a fragile glass figurine in the middle of a green jello mold. I am immobile.
I care so little I don’t even sign my emails, or close with anything, like “Thanks,” or “Regards.” If I turned off my automatic signature it would just be whatever I wrote, like an inscription on a huge stone wall. Something austere and terrible everyone could look at the moment before we are all destroyed.
I don’t want to go to lunch. I brought my lunch. It tastes like it did yesterday. I am eating part two of yesterday’s lunch, which I actually only had a bite of, and which tasted like nothing.
I watched all twelve hours or fourteen hours or who even knows how long of the extended Lord of the Rings movies. I had them on DVD but bought them all in iTunes so I wouldn’t have to change the discs. I ate the rest of the cereal in my apartment out of a deep dinner plate.
My parents tried to call. The fan is still on. I listened to the voicemail. They talk so fast. If I had the audio file I would play it back at half speed, the opposite of what ambitious people do with podcasts. I am playing myself back at half speed. I should shower. I should preach. I should tell someone my terrible news.
Why from the womb did I come out
to see wretchedness and sorrow,
and my days end in shame?
I went to my parents’. I went on their roof. I was two stories up. I could see the reservoir. I pretended I had a wife and that she died and became a bird. She was never there. I was just a bearded guy everybody hates, on a roof.
I left the ladder against the house and left without telling my parents I came by. I drove to get milk. I stayed at the gas station for 45 minutes, until I felt disgusted, and went back to my apartment. I hate even the guy who told my dad I was a boy when I was born.
I am blue-grey under these lights. I am having a third try at lunch. I am changing fonts in this document again. I am in an unclear relationship with the earth.
I float, but close to the ground, like a weeks-old Mylar balloon. I should shower. My tongue scums over when I lie in bed. I turn my head to see the fan cord. It’s dangling right over my face. I look at it.
And I thought, “I will not recall Him,
nor will I speak anymore in His name.”
I have heard all I ever need to hear about a grill in a neighborhood I’ve never been to that belongs to a person I will never meet that bothers a person who has what I will never have. It doesn’t matter, anyway, considering what’s coming.
I look up from this screen at a bird outside, singing. Marking territory. Fighting other birds. It wouldn’t matter if they all died in a hailstorm. I could die in a hailstorm. This world could, well, you know.
I throw away my lunch in disgust. I eat three candy bars while the others are still out. I chew so hard it makes the inside ridges of my molars flare with pain.
I am signature-less. I am bereft. I wonder “if you need help.” I open a draft. I say, “yes.” I save the draft. Maybe tomorrow I will send it.
I am thinking about nothing. I am thinking about what I have to say. I am lost in a well. I am deep under the ocean. I am alone on the far side of the moon. Even there, I am, I am, I am. I am tormented by I Am.
Martyn Wendell Jones is an American writer living in Toronto, Ontario.
Posted April 17, 2021