I listened to an author today talk about the way he writes a book. His latest offering is a metaphor for his family life growing up. His father committed suicide, his brother was a genius and these, along with others, are mirrored by the characters in his novel.
The person interviewing him asked; “Why did you write such a book now? What was the motivation?” The author thought for a moment and then replied; “I guess there were some things I was yoked to and I need to get unyoked.” I don’t hear the word yoked used often. Most of the time it’s being quoted from the Second book to the Corinthians written by the Apostle Paul. This man believed there were memories, experiences, and relationships which had shaped his life for good and bad and at this time of his life he needed to bring them to the surface to examine them and understand why and how they made him into the man and author he has become.
As I reflect on what he said I hear and feel a great truth in his words. Each of us has those life events which help shape us into the people we are today. Unfortunately, along with the good, there are the bad, with the love there is abuse and other negatives to which we are yoked. Becoming unyoked is not forgetting or escaping where we come from but allowing even the worse of times to be a light shone upon dark places inside.
It is only when we come face to face with all that made us who we are can we choose a new path or learn to be thankful for the one we currently travel.
Today was a wasted day or a restful day depending on how you look at it. It was cloudy, cool, started raining a few hours ago and hasn’t stopped. As someone who struggles with Major Depressive Disorder, a day when not much gets done is also a day filled with battling thoughts of worthlessness and not living life to the fullest. There is the worry that a depressive episode is around the next corner which is why you didn’t get anything done which causes my anxiety disorder to kick in which is exhausting and overwhelming. These days are when I’m at the greatest risk of spiraling into the black hole of depression.
All that to say I felt something had to be accomplished today so I vacuumed, folded clothes, washed dishes, got rid of the trash while Beth was grocery shopping. It’ll help her out but it was for me more than her.
One of the most difficult things to do, when you suffer from a mental illness, is keeping your thoughts free of the dark and dirty ones which lead to no place good. It’s not easy to always stay busy or struggle with your self-worth when things don’t get accomplished. There is a middle ground, a place of balance and order but some days it’s harder to find than others.
Yesterday I wrote about changing the oil & oil filter on my John Deere lawn tractor. (https://thewannabesaint.com/2016/06/24/not-comfortable/) It was a new experience for me. Today, I continued working on the deck extension which is almost complete. As I cut, hammered, screwed and ensured the deck was level and secure I thought about the oil filter.
“An oil filter is a filter designed to remove contaminants from engine oil, transmission oil, lubricating oil, or hydraulic oil. Oil filters are used in many different types of hydraulic machinery.” #Wikipedia
I reflected on the need of a filter for our lives. We live in a dirty and difficult world. All around us are contaminants which can pollute our spirits, cloudy our vision, stain our intentions and bespatter our minds. It’s incredibly hard, if not impossible, to keep ourselves untainted.
What’s required is a wisdom greater than our own, a spirit that’s stronger, a cleaner which can keep our vision, intentions and minds clear. Being aware and admitting our need for a filter are the first steps in living a bright, grace filled existence in a too often dark and dingy world.
Yesterday afternoon I was breaking down some wooden pallets I’ve picked up over the last few weeks and using the boards to complete a wall on an outside project. I enjoy the cooler weather of fall but not the sun setting earlier each day. By the time I had enough boards the light was dimming and I hurried to nail the boards in place before darkness settled in.
Nailing is not my specialty. If I take my time, be sure to put the nail at the right angle, hold the board securely I do a decent job. However, if I’m in a hurry it can be; “hit or miss.” I was able to get half of the boards in place but ran out of nails. I went back to my workshop, grabbed a few and headed back to finish but the sunlight was gone and I was having a real problem finding the nail with the hammer. Finally, I walked into the house, asked Beth to come outside and hold a flashlight for me. The light made all the difference and I was able to get the project completed.
Reflecting on the evening I am reminded how crucial light is to finding and fulfilling our purpose. I was also reminded the importance of letting others bring light into our lives, helping us see and not being alone in the dark.