Have you ever noticed that sighs can be used for different purposes. I sigh, because I wish I hadn’t said that. Or I sigh because I am remembering something from the past I wish I could repeat. I sigh because I’m sad. I sigh because I’m wistful. I sigh because I’m relieved. I sigh because I can take a breath. There’s a change in the air and it feels good. That is the contented sigh, which in my way of thinking is the best kind.
Today I am breathing a sigh. Why? Because I wrote and submitted a story. If you want to know why I am happy about this, I will tell you. The last time I wrote and submitted a story was January 20th of this year. Although it was a good story, it wasn’t accepted. But that isn’t the reason why I haven’t written another since. I’ve been going through a period of depression. I didn’t even admit it to myself. On the outside, I was going through my routine like normal. I went to work. I did my chores at home. I enjoyed my grandson. I played with the dog when I wasn’t too tired or in too much pain. I paid my bills. But inside I was sad. I was sad all the time. Even when I was happy, I was still sad. I know that’s hard to explain to anyone who is not gone through depression of any kind.
I told myself you should be grateful. You have a brand new grandson. You have three healthy children. You have a husband who mostly cares about you. You have wonderful parents who are still alive and thriving, despite your mother’s bout with cancer. You have God who never lets you go. You have so much to be thankful for. I knew all that in my head. But my heart kept feeling pain.
My life didn’t have meaning as it once had. I didn’t have any motivation or inspiration to write. God seemed distant, and I know the saying that if God is distant, who moved? I wanted desperately to move forward but I couldn’t. It was like the ocean. When you stand in the sand and the waves lap over your feet and the longer you stand, the more firmly your feet are entrenched in the sand, and after awhile you are buried there.
I felt buried alive. Little by little, I am digging my way out. Some days I don’t cry. Some days I don’t think about what could have been. Some days I say, this day I will take a small step in the right direction. That’s what I did this week. I took a step toward my goal of becoming a successful writer. I’m not saying everyday is going to be brighter now. Some days will still be very dim and grim for me. But at least I’ll let the sun shine in more than I used to.
My mom used to say that there was no trouble in life that a walk to the river wouldn’t heal. I think natural bodies of water have that effect on us. They tend to calm our souls and make us feel at peace with everything around us. The waves lapping and the sun beating down seem to be therapeutic. All the stress and anxiety melt away and your body just seems to say, “Relax, everything is fine.”
I love the ocean. It is wide and eternal. It reminds me of God. How His love never ends for us. Just like the waves that keep coming, His love keeps rolling in. The Bible says that if we counted God’s thoughts to us they would be more numerous than the sands in the sea. And more than the mighty breakers of the sea, the Lord is mighty! So no matter how boisterous the ocean is, God is even stronger than that. The ocean can pick you up and drag you down and fling you onto the sand. God can pick us up and hold us firmly in His hands and never let us go. While the ocean will throw us away, God will never do so if we are His children. Sometimes we may scream and kick at Him, but He still holds on tight until we calm down and accept His will.
I love the beach. I love the time I spent there with my family. I love the fun times we had, the jokes we made, the memories we shared and the long talks around the bonfire at night. But more than that, I love the fact that God has worked out all the trials and tribulations our family have faced over the years. Sometimes we wondered if we would have each other or even speak to each other again, but God is the one who calmed me and told me that we would make it through somehow. He gave me the strength to carry on, and to believe that love would prevail in the end. You rule the swelling of the sea. When the waves rise, you still them.
This morning I opened my laptop, pressed the mouse and the screen lit up. However, the screen said, Thursday, July 6th. No matter how much I clicked the mouse, nothing happened. My password box would not appear. It was frozen. So, there was only one thing to do. Shut it down. Shutting it down didn’t solve my problem. I could sit all day in front of a blank computer screen and nothing would ever happen. I couldn’t search the web, check my email or write this blog post. I had to restart the computer. When it came back on, it was now Friday, July 7th. Everything functioned perfectly.
So it is with life. When I feel frozen, I often shut down. I’m not going anywhere, or doing anything. I’m just a blank screen. When I’m frozen, people can’t even tell that I’m different. I look the same. Except this one little thing. I’m not really functioning correctly. I’m stuck in place. Maybe I’m doing all the right things. Maybe I’m doing most of what I am supposed to do, but I’m not really at the correct time. I’m stuck in the past. Yesterday.
What do I need? I need a restart. Just a simple, “Hey, today, I’m going to think differently. Today, I’m going to let go of yesterday. Yesterday can’t be relived. I can’t go back and have a redo of things I wish hadn’t gone the way I wanted them to. But tomorrow is always a new day. I can restart. I can begin again. Nothing is ever going to be the same again. And it shouldn’t be. If we don’t change, we stagnate. Sometimes it’s easier to shut down, but is it fulfilling? Restarting is the harder choice, but it’s the necessary one.