An Inch Of Daylight. If I Want To Live

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inchofdaylight
“My heart is troubled, my strength fails me,
And the light of my eyes, even this is not with me.”
–Psalm 37:11

It was a shadowy week.
Not just Ohio cold and grey.
Not just smudged with Lenten ashes grey.
Not just a big inky cloud I can’t explain away grey.
It was so dark I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.

Every morning I woke early with my family to move through our routine. As soon as they left for work and school I would make the girl’s beds, wipe the kitchen and bathroom counters and sinks, straighten the house for Better Homes and Gardens and then stumble to my own bed. Curled in the fetal position under six heavy blankets I was gripped with a paralyzing fear this would be the time I might not find my way out of the chasm of despair.

If you’ve ever tried to die before you understand there’s nothing worse than failing at it. If you’ve ever endured intake for an attempted suicide you understand the high stakes to get it right the next go round. I don’t believe in levels of hell, but if I did a hospital psych ward would be at the very least level one. This knowledge makes the slipping even more frightening. I can make a way of escape once and for all or I can hold on here. The lie is there is no real help to be found in the middle.

“On a scale from one to ten how likely are you to harm yourself?” The wrong answer to this question lights a fuse you have no power to put out. It’s really better to fudge the numbers. “Have you thought of specific ways to end your life?” Never, ever tell them how you would do it. People who love me and have sensed me slipping away say, “Call me. I mean it. Anytime of the day or night. I’m here.” They remind me I have to let them know when it gets this bad. If I’m faking being okay when I’m not they can’t help. I run through the short list. Lord, people have so many hard things to deal with. I can’t be one of their hard things one more time.

“My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.
Stay here and watch with Me.”
–Matthew 26:38

Until a few years ago, when I was finally diagnosed with Autoimmune Encephalitis and Adult PANS/PANDAS, I could only explain the sudden onset of the episodes as if a demon was coming over me even though I knew I was ultimately protected from them. I was mostly happy and hopeful even in the midst of intense daily pain and extreme life stress. Out of no where it would rush over me. I wanted to die. My healthcare professionals continued to try to understand and treat me as some variation of Bipolar, the best diagnosis they could squeeze out of the DSM. I now know there are chemicals, bacteria and viruses able to hair trigger me into debilitating physical and neuropsych symptoms. These are things completely out of my control, and my autoimmune disorder sets me up for continuous infections and cycles of sickness. As soon as I begin to feel unwell physically I become disoriented by hissing lies about the worth of my life. I have never really fit the depression diagnosis. I’m just not a sad person. Serious, yes. Sad, no. Every time it happens there is a moment when my mind and heart fade to black. The physiological starting place is compounded by a life of what can only be described as continuous pain that is often excruciating. This means I am already always standing on the ledge.

You want to live a long life. You want a future and a hope here on earth. You are maybe even afraid to die. I want release. I know there are people who need me now. I believe God has a purpose for me or I wouldn’t still be alive, but I want to go. I’m ready to go.

“Then they cried to the Lord in their afflictions,
And He saved them from their distresses;
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their corruptions.”
–Psalm 106:19-20

This year I am working through the She Reads Truth Lent study. It’s good. The best part is it’s mostly just straight up God’s Word. When your heart is torn wide open and fleshy with need the living and breathing part of Scripture finds an especially perfect soil to take root.

I am crying to Him in my distress.
I’m LISTENING hard.
I’m pointed east.
I’m looking for the light.

Another Lent resource I have used for many years is a small book of daily readings by Emilie Griffin titled Small Surrenders. She suffers from chronic illness and tells of one of my favorite poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins, as an example of a man “plagued by frailty and weakness, not just physical but psychological. At times he would plummet into an abyss of darkness, what he called ‘cliffs of fall.’ The steep dropping-off places of the soul seemed worse than any physical distress. This, therefore, was Hopkin’s prayer, his hope: ‘LET HIM EASTER IN US. BE A DAYSPRING TO THE DIMNESS OF US.’

The sun was shining this morning as I drove to my counselor’s office. I played the JJ Heller song “Daylight” over and over and over again on the way there and the way back.

There is an inch of daylight underneath the door.
It’s enough for me to fill up my canteen.

If I want to live
Your love is what I need.

Be near me.
Be near me now.
Be near me.
Be near me now.

There is an inch of daylight underneath the door.
It’s enough for me to fill up my canteen.

If I want to live
Your love is what I need.

“You do not want a sacrifice or I would give it; You are not pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit. God You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.”–Psalm 31:16-17

Photography by Cindee Snider Re. Used with permission.

JJ Heller’s “Daylight.”

(Thank you for praying for me in the “Shadowlands.” This is the first February in several years I haven’t been able to escape to Arizona. Those trips were times of retreat and healing but also reminders I could be some better. I’m missing the desert. For me it was a little like the Promised Land.)

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3 Comments on An Inch Of Daylight. If I Want To Live

  1. Rochelle Goldizen
    February 18, 2016 at 5:39 pm (2 years ago)

    Praying and loving you hard tonight dear sister!

    Reply
  2. Jennie
    February 20, 2016 at 8:39 am (2 years ago)

    Bold. Brave. Vulnerable. Praying for you. God’s healing and restoration.

    Reply
  3. Melissa
    February 21, 2016 at 4:37 pm (2 years ago)

    Your transparency honors God and it allows your brothers and sisters in Christ a small window of opportunity to see your struggles and rally around you, your precious life and your family! Always in my prayers, sweet warrior! You are an overcomer in Him who strengthens you!

    Reply

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