A personal reflection spurred by the deaths by suicide of Katherine Noel Brosnahan, aka Kate Spade (December 24, 1962-June 5, 2018) and Anthony Michael Bourdain (June 25, 1956-June 8, 2018).
Fleet the footfalls beat
(no Hound of Heaven this)
loud they come
my sloth-filled feet
(I cannot escape!)
o’er me as darkness drear
of ghoulish, most frightening
I cannot see
save a shattered me –
in fear –
my body, laden with incumbering, irremediable fatigue;
sleep, a faint memory;
one sole emotion, condition, mine incandescent irritability;
my soul roiled in anxious waters that only rise and feign to recede;
my long-valued-and-trusted power to reason beyond my reach,
each thought, earnestly sought, but a vapor of nothingness
save for my imagining, my longing for mine own nothingness.
I know this state
of my un-ness
e’en more, I know its fate
were I to succumb,
nay, its fate is my succumbing.
But I cannot, will not, I must not;
for the…my hope of wholeness –
by faith, I trust, conferred at the dawn of creation
and by faith, too, I trust, promised as the gift of redemption –
is the brightest
Endnote: Hound of Heaven is a reference to the same-titled poem of Francis Thompson (1859-1907) who compared the relentlessly loving pursuing God as a hound in quest of the prey, not to kill, but to save, of fleeing humanity.
5 thoughts on “Depression”
Please know that I’m holding you close in my heart. May you feel the power of the precious Balm of Gilead to penetrate and heal even the deep darkness that veils you in this moment.
I give thanks for your presence in my life. You are much loved.
Like Karen, I pray for your healing from your curr by darkness. For me, there isn’t even one “un-ness” in you that I see. I only see and feel the love and authenticity you’ve shared with thousands of folks who’ve needed love and comfort over the decades of your career. What this post and your Facebook posts has shared over this week confirms how open and honest you really are.
Keep fighting and holding on to your faith and trust that one day soon your darkness will indeed turn to bright light. Though it may not feel like it we are fighting for your healing and peace right alongside you.
You’re certainly a light in the lives of so many and as Karen says, you are deeply loved.
Karen and Loretta, I am not sure all of what it is – both without and within – that has stirred and stirred up this seemingly ever-present cauldron of darkness deep within my soul. I am aware that the suicide-deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, again, as I wrote earlier, as celebrities who command public attention, have played a part. I also am cognizant, with the coming and departing of another birthday, that my daily sense of aging and, thus, mortality has deepened. Moreover, for the past few weeks, I’ve been immersed in nightly spates of dreams; all involved, all rich in symbol; mostly incomprehensible. Nevertheless, I do believe I am being told something, led somewhere. Hence, I seek to remain attentive.
All this said, I feel the weight of an enveloping shroud. I don’t fear it. Not much. I don’t welcome it. At all. Yet, somehow, I know it is mine to bear, to explore, to discover, to discern something more about me.
Always thanking you, each and both, for your love and support.
I am so glad you are willing to share your experience of your walk through this deep valley. It is good for your own spirit to know that others are listening, caring, and understanding what you are offering of this, one of the darkest depths of human knowing. It is also very good for us to listen, to sit at the feet of one who is valiant in his wrestling with the dark-clad angels, to learn, once again, how we go about this pursuit of being human, even when it is exceedingly hard and lonely, when it requires courage whose source we cannot fathom.
The dreams: indeed, I fervently believe in dreams as messengers. That dreams are troubling your sleep is, to me, a signal that you are on the path, the verge perhaps, of admitting to consciousness something new, vital, necessary, and life-giving, for you personally, but also very likely in a universal, cosmic sense of prophetic knowledge and conviction.
The shroud: Oh, what an image: the heaviness, the darkness, the hopelessness of being cloaked in something you cannot shed but must bear, even unto a grave. A shroud does portend a death; hear your own words: “Yet somehow I know it is mine to bear, to explore, to discover, to discern something more about me.” As hard as it is for me to accept and understand it, my own life keeps reminding me that in order for something new to be born, something must die first. I must relinquish something that no longer serves, as wrenching as that often can be. Your own words about the shroud suggest it is enveloping something that is destined to die, something heavy you are currently bearing, so that your exploring, your discovering, your discerning can birth something new that cannot come to life in the presence and under the influence of the old, dying part of you.
I have just read your sermon for today. It too, of course, speaks much about what you are currently feeling and experiencing. I will add a comment to that post also, but it relates very much to what you have revealed in this post and these comments, I believe.
Please continue to share this journey, dear Paul. It is so great a part of our human destiny, as we, as creatures of God, learn to connect with and comprehend what about us bears the Divine Image, and how we go about living and growing into what we were always intended to manifest and, finally, to be.
With great gratitude, and always, much love,
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Ah, you see, Karen, this – your elucidation of my struggle, bearing light that dispels darkness – is why we share, self-disclose (whether we always are conscious of the possibilities) so to open the proverbial door, pathway for insight from others…
“…That dreams are troubling your sleep is, to me, a signal that you are on the path, the verge perhaps, of admitting to consciousness something new, vital, necessary, and life-giving, for you personally…” I sense a deep and undeniable resonance within in response to reading these your words. Now, as for your follow up: “…but also very likely in a universal, cosmic sense of prophetic knowledge and conviction” about that I am not, cannot be sure. Still, your words are as encouragement to me. I will stay the course and who knows that what I may discern and know for myself will benefit others. Thank you again and again.
Even more deeply (if such a thing is possible!) do your words cut and run: “…in order for something new to be born, something must die first. I must relinquish something that no longer serves, as wrenching as that often can be. Your own words about the shroud suggest it is enveloping something that is destined to die…” Immediately, even without knowing what the revelation can…may be, I can and will say, “Amen.” You touch on what I consider the core aspect, the central truth of the Jesus-story: Resurrection, by necessity, in reality, always follow a death. Verily, resurrection can happen, can BE (exist) in no other way…
Hence, I clutch, hold fast to the enveloping shroud and, as you mentioned earlier, speaking of Jacob wrestling with the angel, I shall not release this cloak of darkness until it shares with me the truth I am to – I must – know!