Living in the Moment for Mental and Spiritual Health

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The name for the color that tinges the depression that dogs me today comes to mind unbidden as I struggle through the heavy air to finish one more mundane chore, to start one more load of laundry.

Mourning.

Spring has ended. Soon will come nights the thermometer doesn’t drop and the humidity lies on my chest, threatening to crush me, when sleep would be welcome but is fitful and exhausting when it deigns to visit.

The local produce at the farmer’s market will please my eyes and taste buds. But never try to buy enough to last until the tables are set back up in the park next week, because those lovely fruits and vegetables will rot long before then. The perfect ripeness of the best fruit set aside for breakfast can be ruined by morning.

For six months, the days have slowly grown longer. Each day holding a little more sunlight to feel alive in. Morning sunlight through my east-facing window caresses my waking eyes and tells them it’s okay to open; yes, the night has ended.

We have entered the descent. Each day will be a little shorter. Until we are back to the seemingly endless days of waking in the dark, and reentering the dark before dinnertime.

I’m mourning spring, I realize. I ache for the sunlight I have not yet lost but know is slipping away.

I sabotage joy by mourning things I have not yet lost.

Mourning. Melancholy. The uninvited words that have made themselves mine. Like the stray cats I feel compelled to look after.

As the days grow shorter, I feel my life slip away with the sunlight.

The golden afternoon light streams through the kitchen window, making the strawberries I hull gleam like jewels. What I see are the wrinkles on my 44-year-old hands, and fuzzy mold destroying the fruit.

Eat as much strawberry shortcake as you want! I’ll tell them. Enjoy it before it all goes bad, I’ll grumble to myself.

We longed for winter to end, for the snow and ice to melt. We waited for the plants to come up green, for blossom to give way to fruit. Green… white… A tinge of red… Then, perfect! Tasted… or lost to rottenness.

As I think the words I wonder what God is trying to show me. The voices that distract me from Him and His Truth are persistent.

This perfect day is not enough. Nothing is never enough. What I have will be taken. When there’s just enough light to see the next step, it will be hidden from my eyes. I’ll stumble. I’ll fall. It’s not worth getting back up. Again. It’s too hard. New bruises hurt too much. Soon I’ll bleed dry. It’s all just too hard.

Sometimes God’s still, small voice drowns out the distracting noise. Other times I listen too loudly. WHY WON’T YOU JUST SPEAK TO ME?!? TELL ME WHAT TO DO! HELP ME NOT FEEL SO LOST! SO SMALL! SO CONFUSED! YOU’RE A GOD OF ORDER, RIGHT?!? WHERE’S MINE?!?

Isn’t God’s patience wonderful?

And isn’t it wonderful when He smacks us upside the head?

My mother called it borrowing trouble. Why are so many of us so good at ruining today’s joy with the possible struggle or sorrow of tomorrow? As Jesus said, each day has enough trouble of its own.

I also heard the phrase cutting off your nose to spite your face. Often. How adamantly my daughter has inherited the unfortunate habit! But that’s another blog post.

Back to today. Back to this moment…

Why is it so difficult to enjoy the blessings of THIS moment, instead of anticipating the pain or pleasure of the next?

I have sunshine. I have strawberries.

I can’t be mentally healthy, I can’t be spiritually healthy, if I’m not living in this moment, whatever it contains.

Are you living in your moment?

Maybe you’re online looking to escape your moment. Maybe you don’t have sunshine or strawberries. Maybe you have melancholy and mourning.

Maybe you’re caught in a storm.

If you’re feeling like it’s beyond your control, that’s a good thing; because now you know you need God.

Maybe you’re in pain. I hate pain; I run from it. But when we’re willing to sit and rest in it, our eyes open and we see that God is sitting right there with us.

He’s with us, too, in the mundane, each task an opportunity, each moment an invitation, to worship.

Each task is an opportunity, each moment is an invitation, to worship.

We only truly live when we live in this moment.

 

Melinda-VanRyMelinda VanRy writes about mental illness and faith on her Fruit of Brokenness blog. She wants everyone to know they have inestimable worth, though she often fails to believe it for herself. Bouts of severe depression have nearly destroyed her but instead make her stronger and give her a desire to help others who struggle with mental illness and faith as she does. Melinda lives in New York with her husband, their three kids, and more cats than she ever wanted. If you’re thinking big city, don’t. The VanRy family makes their home in rural Central New York. Way closer to Canada than New York City. And not far from Lake Ontario, which she loves.

 

This post originally appeared on Fruit of Brokenness as Mourning Sunlight.

6 thoughts on “Living in the Moment for Mental and Spiritual Health

  1. Wow, I have SAD too, and often get feelings of sadness after the solstice, it always makes me feel a bit silly because I know there are 3 months of summer left really, but it’s lovely to know I’m not the only one ❤ xx

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