A Prayer For Those In January's Dark
There's an oppressive, confining, imprisoning depression that fills up our spirits in January.
Comes with clouds and little to no moments of sunshine. And the pressure of "new year, new me."
Just about suffocates you with lonely darkness and hollow days where going through the motions is about the only way to survive. Just getting through a day the only thing they're gonna get out of you.
Yeah, I know.
There's a cold that contaminates the world and there's a cold that contaminates your soul.
And they both seem to walk hand in hand this time of year.
It's no lie, I know depression in its ugly form.
I know the moments when you're just too weary to lift yourself out of bed.
I know how hiding in the dark alone is just about the only way to find pure relief from the bad things pressing your walls in closer.
I know how "Things will look better in the morning," is sometimes just this grisly dark humor that only makes you feel more awful and more alone and misunderstood.
2 AM and I are long distance friends, meeting up with each other maybe only once or twice a year.
But I can't honestly say that I've suffered chronic depression or chronic insomnia.
I've never battled day in and day out for years for happiness and joy.
I don't know 3 and 4 AM like the back of my hand.
I don't know the extreme hopelessness like some of you.
I don't know what it's like to never, ever sleep well.
I don't know days and months with absolutely no light even if I've watched the sunrise and sunset both in a day.
I don't know what it's like to never be happy, to never have hope, to never see anything good.
I don't know what it's like to have the cold and Christmas and a new year make all the hurting, cracked places in you ten times more worse.
That's an honesty that burns me deep, because I may be able to empathize with you, but I will never truly know how you feel. It's easy for me to step in your shoes and understand completely, but I will never fully know.
I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry.
But I can't lie here, either:
I love the cold.
I love the snow.
The weather is my therapist, my messenger from God.
Every piece of the day, every cloud, every star, every color, every breeze, is my hope. Even here in the Midwest where there are 60 degree days in December and the next day we have snow and minus temperatures. I love it all.
I hate it when Christmas ends, yeah, not lying there.
I've found January so long and depressing.
But it's no lie, I love the icy depths of January. I love deep snow and the wind that numbs your legs right through. I love the long, enduring isolation of the cold.
I love being out on the prairie knowing I'm the only one out in the wonderland that is winter. Good for this girl's quiet soul, being alone.
But I look at you and feel your hurt, the deep ache inside you. Because I forget, all those things, the cold, the pressure, the mental health, they ache inside me, too. And often times when I get past a bad thing, I leave with no memory of it. I forget how much it hurt when I should remember.
So I've got this prayer for you. For me. For us. For everyone bound by January's Dark. I've got these words that will let you know I see you. That there is a way around this, through this, and after this.
I'm reaching my hand out to hold yours and together we can brave this dark.
A Prayer for Those in January's Dark
When all this darkness fills up day and the light-less moments feed off our souls,
May we learn to see the darkness not as a depravity of light but as a depravity of all the eye can see.
May we learn to see the darkness as a way to stop looking for outward things and a way to start looking inward. May this darkness bring you comparison not to bodily form, but to the shape of the soul.
May the enveloping darkness reveal to us all which remains unseen, the concrete fade and the abstract arise. May we see not the superficial of life, of ourselves, of others, but the depths and the worlds within each other.
May the darkness give not to moments where our thoughts are tinged with regrets, but to moments where we see patterns and movements, purpose and conviction invisible in the light of our lives.
May we learn to use the darkness as a time to use our hearts and not our heads to see the world, and in so doing find the light that was hidden before.
May this cold freeze our fears and turn our tears to light-reflecting prisms.
May it numb our heart aches and fill our lungs with refreshed life.
May this cold chill the gloating voices of guilt, the ugly taunts of shame, the puncturing nails of anger, the blackened hands of all judgement, the grits of impatience, and the hot coals of jealousy.
May these deep snows fill our paths not to slow our journey, but to slow our efforts to be perfect, to perform, to slow our pace, to calm our raging hearts, to rest our weary bodies, and in so doing rest our weary souls.
May the wind blow through us and not against us. And when it blows unhindered through a howling darkness, all those icy, chilled off corners of our hearts? All those places we haven't found the courage to let go of? All those patches of black ice dotting our souls? All those angry, tight-wound pillars of cold we haven't been able to crush but have ruled our lives with malice and hate, abuse and injustice, destructive mental health and depression? May the cold winds that blow this January take these places with them.
May we learn to feel the cold not as a thing of torment, not as a feeding ground for depression, but as a place where we can hear and see the silent exhale of all the toxic, all the harmful.
May we learn to see the darkness not as a place to fear, not as place where howling monsters arise, but as a place where we are free in the presence of the holy.
for K, N, and Mama