If you’re looking for the ugly, vile and putrid in life, it’s there. But if you CHOOSE to look for it, I think you’ll find the glory in this world far outweighs the gloom. Like when you’re taking a walk, and suddenly look up and see one of the most beautiful sunsets you’ve ever witnessed.
Being an artistic soul, and having gone through so much pain, sorrow, anger and depression, I have a short list of songs which thunder in my spirit.
At times a lost child and at other times a blood-drenched soldier, these anthems make up the DNA of my warrior soul.
Seems to me depression and anger are two crooked limbs on the same bitter, misshapen tree. Long-term depression can make it difficult to handle emotions, increasing the likelihood of anger outbursts. So, the question becomes: how do we battle the anger?
Our hearts are heavy with the burdens of this world. The physical and emotional agony smother us at times, Lord. Like we’re drowning. We’re so tired; soul-weary. The pain and the depression and the anxiety are almost too much to bear. Yet, we are not defeated, but look forward to Heaven. We pray for the strength to endure, so we can someday see that great and eternal land. The storm clouds grow darker, grayer, but we know just beyond those clouds awaits our true home.
The world is getting colder, angrier and deadlier; more violent and desperate, I think. Spirits—that is, hearts, attitudes, emotions—seem to be heavy these days. Like we’re struggling to even breathe, or at least that’s my impression. Bon Jovi said, “Keep the Faith.” Eric Clapton said he was “Running on Faith,” and Kid Rock described his “Lonely Road of Faith.” Real faith, however, comes at a cost of tears and blood. Sometimes it may even cost us our life, but it is the only path to genuine peace of mind.
It’s the first day of the work week, but I'm not experiencing your typical "Monday Blues" today. I have no clue what's wrong; it's as though a dark cloud of sadness, almost an anxiousness, has moved into the duplex next door. Sometimes—for me anyway—stress, depression, anger and even anxiety unwillingly invade, like watching black storm clouds roll into my spirit. As I am helpless to chase away a thunderstorm by sheer will, so this feels in my heart.
But my family and I are born fighters. We surrender to God alone; never to darkness, never to defeat.
Today the world received the devastating news of the suicide-by-hanging of Chester Bennington, lead singer of the band Linkin Park. As in the case of many other artists who have committed suicide, the sad fact is the artistic soul is a fragile one. Singers, poets, musicians, painters, writers, actors, we all have it; a seemingly brittle, inner core which is easily shattered. I know life seems devastatingly brittle at times, but believe me, it's not worth ending it. The enemy of our souls is at work, doing everything within his grasp to steal your soul. Don't let that happen. As Dylan Thomas said, “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light."
The tattoo on my right upper bicep (and on my daughter’s calf) says, “No fear of the future, no regrets of the past.” Granted, this is a mindset which is hard to attain, and even harder to maintain. It's a goal both she and I strive for every day. I'm closer to it than I was a year ago, but not as adept as I will be in a year. It’s totally doable, though. I know this because I've witnessed the joyful faces of those who have gone through terrible agony. There is a terrible sadness, hidden away, which has forever altered their lives. But not destroyed them. So follow the advice of that great theologian, Han Solo, who said, “Laugh it up, fuzzball.”
Sometimes I literally have to speak to the old dude staring back at me in the mirror. "Make peace with him," I say. "You're older, you're not as thin. Look at him. Make peace with him. His wife loves him. His children love him. His grandson and his parents love him. You must love him, too." We can allow the aging process to blanket our entire soul, or we can acquiesce to the inescapable, and cultivate an appetite for the artistry and charm of life.