|BWS Stories - "You Keep On Playing Those Mind Games"...From Depression to Hope|
"You Keep On Playing Those Mind Games"...From Depression to Hope - The Wake-Up Call
Dawne J. Harris' work appears in popular anthologies such as Tavis Smiley's Keeping The Faith, and Kay Allenbaugh's Chocolate for a Woman's Soul II. Currently Dawne is completing her own inspirational book, Every Woman Needs A Well. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wake-Up Call
My tears fell upon the keyboard as I signed off the Internet. When I'd signed on a little while earlier, one of my chat buddies was already online, but it wasn't the one I was hoping to see. It was Ivory, the recovering drug addict, whose colorful chat was an unsuccessful cover up for the loneliness he exuded over the computer screen. I cried because another evening would segue into miserable midnight hours for me. Again, the refuge of slumber would lock me out and leave me banging wearily upon its doors. I went to bed knowing I wouldn't sleep.
I didn't need a clock to tell the time. I knew it was around five in the morning when I heard the cars quickening their pace and frequency. There was nothing new or fresh about my days; they were all draped in old sorrow and familiar pain. I listened to the bird's sing their morning concert, aware that I was still needing, still lonely, still wanting. With the sound of every car headed urgently toward its destination, I was reminded of my current situation, for I had neither a car nor a destination. My sadness deepened as I watched a beautiful sunrise, which I could see easily from my bed. I'd become accustomed to this morning anguish, but mostly I hated to hear the birds singing.
It is interesting to analyze the transition in thinking one becomes victim to in the midst of depression. I took notice of how hearing the birds brought on the pain; their chirps seemed to herald another day of despair. I knew there was something wrong with this feeling toward the poor birds. I kept on living though, refusing to give any extended thought to attempting suicide, getting drunk or high, or doing anything else I'd never done before. Although I desperately wanted relief, it never came. I just prayed and cried a lot.
It was when I hosted a special event that the "bird thing" was put into perspective. I held a special seminar for the young women's Christian organization I presided over. I didn't want to be president any longer because after losing my job, my car, and possibly my apartment, my personal hardships had become difficult to understand and navigate. I felt that an exemplary attitude and lifestyle was necessary to be in that kind of leadership, and pretending everything was alright in my life was more pressure than I cared to deal with. I had planned for this event to be my last as president.
I was the emcee that sunny summer Saturday, and I gave each of the young ladies the opportunity to come up and give encouraging personal testimonies. A petite young lady named Tonya was one of the first to walk up to the microphone. I didn't expect to hear anything I hadn't heard before. She looked well-to-do and pampered. I'd met her while working with the young women's group. She'd always emitted an inner calm she could have been born with. What would she have to testify about?
She began to relay the experience of a loveless marriage. She told how, in the end, she was deeply saddened over her marital mistakes. During this time of sadness, she, like me, had developed a negative fixation upon the birds singing. She began to describe how one day as she heard the birds singing overhead, God spoke to her saying that He'd made the birds to cheer us. He'd sent them to welcome us into the new day He'd made. Their original ballads were echoes from the heart of God to remind us of His unchanging love no matter what we do or what is going on. I cried as Tonya spoke. God had set me free with her words, walking me through the loud rustlings of my own wilderness.
I am no longer saddened by the sounds of the morning. I thank God for the unique ways He speaks to us. He foils, one by one, those enemy attempts to affect the mind and make us unreceptive to His love, which is renewed every day. When I hear the birds sing, I smile heavenward toward their Composer and Arranger who sent them to sing me my wake-up call. Every day brings a new song, and I allow that song to lift me so that I might face every new day with strength, joy, and courage.