“I think wherever I am next year will be a pretty stark contrast to where I am now.” – diary entry from last fall.
On November 9, 2010, I watched Eat Pray Love by myself in a movie theater – came home, found out I was rejected from Teach For America, cried on the floor for the rest of the night.
364 days later, I watched Eat Pray Love with a bunch of girlfriends on my apartment floor after cooking a delicious dinner together.
Life is beautiful in that way. Eventually the darkness, the pain, the tears fade away and redemption sweeps in instead.
I didn’t know I could be so happy. I didn’t know I could be happy for such an extended period of time – it surprises me every day. Ralph Waldo Emerson has this quote that says, “write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” When I was depressed in college I repeated that quote to myself in hopes that I would actually believe it. Now I don’t have to try to believe it – I can’t deny it if I tried. Every day has been the best day of my life since July, or something.
The other day as I was driving to work I thought about that time in college – and the times I’ve been depressed since then. I’m pretty convinced that everyone goes through a period of depression in his/her life – almost like a right of passage into being a grownup, or human, or whatever.
For a while, I was sure depression had tainted me forever. I thought I would always be able to feel the wound it left on my soul. If I was sad for any reason, I immediately feared I was depressed again. I pined for the days before I had ever experienced depression, before it robbed me of myself, my innocence.
I realized, when I was driving to work, that I don’t feel that wound anymore. It’s gone -completely gone. All I feel is bliss. My insides have been rewired and redeemed…what a beautiful thing indeed.
I think one of the reasons why I live through these days in complete wonder and awe is because of the contrast to last fall. My diary last year was full of entries like the following:
I can’t shake this feeling of how alone and isolated I feel. Is this my fault? Did I pick the wrong small group? Is it because I ditched that coffee date? Because I bought a ticket to a concert that one one else is going to? Because I spend my time reading and hanging out with God instead of people? God, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?? WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? I’m such a mess right now. Please love me. I know this too shall pass, but can you maybe make it pass a little sooner? Like right now?
“I thought this period of life was supposed to be peaceful and relaxing. Instead it’s full of stress and sorrow. I have no community. I have no purpose. I have little hope.”
I experienced some good times last fall, but most of it was filled with loneliness, rejection, fights and anxiety. If I did anything social I had to force myself to go.
I’ve experienced some hard times this fall, but most of it is filled with beauty, acceptance, friendships, purpose and peace. I have so many social opportunities it’s hard to say no.
A stark contrast indeed.
As I was reading through last fall’s diary, I stumbled upon this quote I wrote down:
Anything can happen in a year…I don’t know where you are these days, what’s broken down and what’s beautiful in your life this season. I don’t know if this is a season of sweetness or one of sadness. But I’m learning that neither last forever. There will, I’m sure, be something that invades this current loneliness. That’s how life is. It won’t be sweet forever. But it won’t be bitter forever either. If everywhere you look these days, it’s wintery, desolate, lonely, practice believing in springtime. It always comes, even though on days like today it’s nearly impossible to imagine, ground frozen, trees bare and spiky. New life will spring from this same ground. This season will end, and something entirely new will follow it.
How lovely it is to read this quote on the other side of that season – the sweet, springtime side. I guess I’m supposed to believe this season will also come to an end, but right now I’m having a hard time believing it. Like I wrote on this blog in July, “at the end of these days, I’m happy. And I don’t see it ending anytime soon.”