The Long Dark Tea-Time of The Soul...or...How Far Down Will I Go?
Jake sat at his desk, his Bible open, his head bowed, his eyes closed. His mind? Wandering. Replaying the day he resigned in disgrace over and over and over and over again. Trying to find where it was; when it was, he went wrong. He was numb as he saw again and again his failings as a man, husband, father, believer, teacher. Every hat he put on he saw how utterly dismal he was in it.
The hole is deeper than he'd ever thought. He just kept going down and down. Maybe a trip would help? It didn't. He just grew angry and resentful. He pulled away from his wife and kids. He apologized for his inconsistencies. His failings. He reassured them it wasn't their fault. "Nobody's fault but mine" he'd say to him self.
Then the self-loathing began. How could he be one of the elect if he was such a loser? How could he be any kind of role model to his children if he couldn't do anything right? He needed help.
Enter the counselor/psychiatrist/shrink. "Are you depressed?" he asks. "Yes" is the reply. "Let me tell you about the ABC's of depression. A = action. C = consequences. B is what you believe about A and C. If you believe you're bad then you are depressed. If you believe that you can change the A's to get different C's then you won't be depressed. It's a matter of perception. If you say you are one of His then you should also believe that He doesn't abandon His children in their time of need."
Never have I seen the righteous forsaken,
Never have I seen them abandoned in the flood land.
Never have I seen the children out beggin',
Never have I seen them slip through your hands" - Steve Taylor
And yet the darkness presses in, presses down, presses harder. The anger begins to boil. The new job's a hassle and the wife wants some show of kindness and the kids need a dad who's there and the boss is calling again and the equipment doesn't work right and the bills keep piling up and...
What's that line? "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side." Maybe Yoda knew something? Nights he lays in bed, fearing himself, fearing what he has been, what he may become. Getting angry at the circumstances. Angry at God. Angry at the kids. Angry at the wife. Angry at the boss. Angry at the dogs.
"But do I hate?" he asks himself. "Hate is such a strong word...do I really hate? Do I really want to hate?"
A moment of reflection then.
"No. I can't and won't and don't want to. It repulses me on so many levels."
Jake sees the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. It flickers and goes out but always comes back. He jokingly says it's the light of an on-coming train ready to run ramrod over his life again but something tells him this light is different. And yet, to Jake, it seems so far off. It never gets bigger, just more consistent. As if the light can't decide whether to grow larger or simply wink out of existence. Part of Jake wishes the light would disappear and take him with it. Thoughts of suicide push in and Jake, who had one time entertained them down to writing out the note and holding the gun in his hand, now pushes those thoughts aside with a mix of emotions. Shame. Horror. But mostly shame.
Sometimes Jake wishes the light would grow so large as to overwhelm him. Enfold him. Blot out all else and envelope him in it's warmth.
But the light shines small and steady. Not growing. Not shrinking. Just...there.