I awoke to a bleak and hollow day, with cramps running through me and the awful tired, stuffy-headed feeling which comes from an emotional hangover mixed with the after-effects of having been stupid. I was not thankful. I did not want to engage. I wanted to hide from everyone and everything and never return.
It was entirely my own fault.
I’ve been stupid and lax, and somehow in spite of anticipating that Thursdays often bring meltdowns, I was unprepared for the ferocity of this one. I was forced to face up to the fact that not getting myself organised and ordering more meds has taken a considerable and unpleasant toll on my mental health, which led to a downward spiral into…not the abyss this time: someplace far more stupid than there, because at least in the dark, where it feels as though you’re buried in negativity and nothing will ever be good or happy or joyful again, you feel validated. This was without validation.
This was sadness and pain and bawling on a level I’ve not often experienced, and I couldn’t place the reason. There seemed to be a grey smattering of a few possibilities but mostly (I concluded) it was me just Having A Bad Day, and It Being My Own Fault.
I curled up into a ball of tears and stopped talking to people. Or rather, I tried, but a stalwart few checked in with me and kept me going until Husby got home, whereupon, bless his boots, he tried SO hard to help me (I didn’t want helping) and look after me (didn’t want that, either) and hug me (nope) and show me he loved me (didn’t care) and held his tongue while I did stupid things with salt and a pint of warm water and failed at failing at life, because I couldn’t even.
The irony hanging over the entire episode was that I’ve recently (and in spite of trying to refute it) been lauded as ‘awesome’, so perhaps this was just my way of redressing the balance. Telling you this is certainly my way of ensuring that if you’re silly enough to put me on any kind of pedestal, I’ll do my level best to kick it out from under me and swing on a noose I’ve put there for the express purpose of showing you that I’m as much as (or more of) a fuckup as the next guy.
Then I lost my phone, and after some mild worry that I wouldn’t be able to tell anyone I was okay (or otherwise) my main concern was that after a few atrocious nights’ sleep in a row, I would miss my naps, not having any alarm clock to wake me in time. Fortunately part of my kit for work includes a mobile phone. It has an alarm clock, and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I decided that a day away from the internet might even do me some good. I started a book instead- ‘One Thousand Gifts’, by Ann Voskamp – and as I read it on my lunch break, a light dawned.
Let me show you the passage which helped:
“Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy”. Joy. Ah…yes. I might be needing me some of that. That might be what the quest for more is all about — that which Augustine claimed, “Without exception…all try their hardest to reach the same goal, that is, joy.”
I breathe deep, like a sojourner finally coming home. That has always been the goal of the fullest life — joy. And my life knew exactly how elusive that slippery three-letter word, joy, ca be. I think of it then again, that night of nightmares, the flailing, frantic, moon-eyed lunge for more. More what? And this was it; I could tell how my whole being responded to that one word. I longed for more life, for more holy joy.
That’s what I was struggling out of nightmares to reach, to seize. Joy. But where can I seize this holy grail of joy>? I look back down to the page. Was this the clue to the quest of all most important? Deep chara joy is found only at the table of the euCHARisteo — the table of thanksgiving. I sit there long…wondering…is it that simple?
Is the height of my chara joy dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo thanks?
So then as long as thanks is possible…I think this through. As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible. Whenever, meaning — now; wherever, meaning — here. The holy grail of joy is not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here! Here, in the messy, piercing ache of now, joy might be — unbelievably — possible!”
At that point I decided that the week probably did hold enough for thanks, and joy, in spite of my bad brain and my aching heart and my mess. I remembered that even beginning this blog-hop, all those 91 weeks ago, it had the feeling of being ‘Something Bigger Than’
Now, perhaps, I know why.
It might just be the key to life as it should be:
Joy – because in the depths of my agony, there was deeper love.
Joy – because I was able to be the consummate professional, and playing that role distracted and lifted me.
Joy – because although we live in a world where awful things happen, we also live in a world where good and great and wonderful things happen, and on the whole, people LOVE each other.
Joy – because it’s not raining, there should be sufficient people, and netball will be on, and I need it. Tomorrow there will be boxing and time at the allotment, and I need that, too. And on Sunday there will be time with Niece and Neff, and I VERY need that.
Joy – because technology allows me to overcome geography be rescued by someone to whom I feel so close, and who is so akin to me I call her my thousand-mile heart.
Joy – because in spite of it all, I am physically healthy, in the best shape I’ve ever been, and I can improve. One night of stupid doesn’t rob me of that.
Joy – because book-life and real-life lined up and I got to see it occur (second-hand), and share the excitement.
Joy – because I AM in a position to offer care and comfort and sanctuary to some who have need of it, and that feels like purpose.
Joy – because the next phase of my Murica trip happened, and I now know (roughly) where I’m going to be sleeping, and the idea of meeting those people who have come to mean so much, is breathtakingly exciting and SO worth making it through this bad patch for.
And joy – because this list was easy and it made me feel a small ember of happiness in my heart.