I had always wondered why the psalmists needed these breaks. Selahs. I thought it might be a gasp for air, or a tense, suspenseful silence. Maybe it was a musical interlude.
Now I wonder if it didn’t have something to do with the wild emotions of the psalms. The joy and pain and worship and questioning come in unrelenting waves. It is the book of the Bible, more than any other, that does not shy away from raw emotions. And I love it. But sometimes, you need a space to breathe.
This is how I knew that the depression had finally been chased away: because I put on lipstick, and I wore my hair down around my shoulders without caring who would see. Because I laughed with my head back in the rain. Because there was wonder and anger and joy and pain and excitement and stress, and my legs did not buckle beneath me. It may have been simply because the snow finally stopped falling. And it was because the drink in my hand wasn’t to make it linger or make it go away, but just because. It was because I felt the emotions in my chest, constant and predictable like a heartbeat. Not violent and churning, but steady and real.
And it has been a year. No matter how you measure these days, that’s the measure of them. I can’t put a number to the beginning or the ending, but it must have been a year because something in the ebb and flow of things has left me in spring again. The most uncertain season.
A year later there are not storms. There were. There were tornadoes that day I left, and if it wasn’t an omen it could have been. Today there is just rain. It comes down thickly, but sort of silently. The sky stays firmly in place. The sky has stopped spinning.
The sky has stopped spinning.
I guess it’s sort of funny how I was always a late bloomer. And now, a year after it should have, the dust has finally (finally) settled. And this breath is a laughing one. I stop and wonder how many breaths there have been this year (not enough of them laughter). I wonder at the fact that there was not a second when they stopped. In a year of suspended motion and almost complete atrophy, this, of all things, is the one I can count on.
In. Out. “Jesus Christ, Son of God”. breathe. “Have mercy on me, a sinner”. Breathe.
The prayer becomes a coughing fit, becomes the death throes of what must have been a sinus infection, as it wasn’t tuberculosis.
It wasn’t. There was never something lethal inside me, as it turns out. Nothing that wouldn’t, eventually, be chased away. I guess I croaked to her that I was dying, because the medicine hadn’t worked yet. “no faster than usual, though”.
Oh God, write it on my forehead. Say nothing about me, except these five words.
And, like Nate would say, “all will be well and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well” (it’s something like that, anyway.)
Do I regret losing this year to some bizarro adult Neverland? Do I wish I hadn’t lost it under the unrelenting waves? I can’t answer that. Because the ground is finally steady under my feet, and I don’t want to look over my shoulder anymore. (is everything perfect, or even good? I don’t know. But it is *okay*.)
I don’t suppose anyone will actually read this. When it comes to that, I don’t know that I mean for them to read it. Maybe eventually I will write real words again. Maybe eventually I will have something to say other than the little words and things that are filling conversations and letters right now. Maybe eventually I will want the space to wonder about the big things. But for the moment, I just want to revel in the parts of life I hadn’t noticed in a while.