Monday, January 3, 2011

Pin It I drove across town in a bleary haze. It had been a long day. It always tends to be that the long, hard days are punctuated by fatigue, aren’t they? I felt a sense of deep emptiness as I drove; the few snowflakes falling from the blackened skies caught in the beam of my headlights for just a moment, like little, white moths drawn to a bug zapper.


As I drove, a depression I’d not felt in a while seemed to ebb though the vents and settle over me, a blanketing mist that threatened to take me under. It was a feeling of loneliness, worthlessness, and realization of all of my faults and shortcomings. It was a time of comparing myself to others, and finding that I was coming up short in so many ways.

Why wasn’t I as nice as So-and-So?
How come I wasn’t as talented as What’s-His-Face?
Why wasn’t I as organized as What’s-Her-Bucket?
When was I going to get to that immense to-do list?
Who would even care if I just stopped trying?

The feeling cast its shadow over me as I continued on my journey. Fumbling with my iPod, I found the most depressing song that I could, and proceeded to play again and again. I allowed each and every failure to take center stage in the spotlight of my mind. I allowed the emptiness to swell to mammoth proportions, and let myself feel completely despondent.

The world was a terrible place.
Nothing seemed of value.
I embraced hopelessness as an old friend.

I parked my car and wandered into the local grocery store seeking orange juice. I walked past the deli section, and the counter where I’d bought ice cream so often before. I hadn’t done that in a long time. Grudgingly, I strode up to the counter and paid for a cone. When the woman asked what flavor I wanted, I explained that I wanted her to save it for someone who really looked like they needed it. “Please give it to them,” I instructed, “and tell them that it’s from somebody who hopes they feel better soon.”

The woman smiled – a smile as big as Christmas itself – as I walked away.

I felt the tiniest spark.

I headed to the freezer section and pulled out five or so cylinders of orange juice. While walking to the check stand, one of them slipped from my grasp and rolled across the floor. A woman’s son picked it up and handed it back to me with a smile.

There was a flicker.

The cashier beamed as I paid for my things and wished me a nice day – double bagging my items so that they would be safe.

The flame was smoldering.

I strode out to my car; as I did, I changed the song on my iPod. As the new music poured from the speakers, I drove toward home. A few random snowflakes fell from the evening skies, catching in the glow of my headlights like little, white fireflies floating on the breeze.

The night was still dark, but the blackness wasn’t quite so dense.
The world was still vast, but it wasn’t as empty as it was before.
I still had problems, but they did not feel nearly so hopeless.

You know, I’m convinced that the best remedy for hopelessness is stepping around the obstacle of ourselves – even just a little bit – and opening the door of hope just wide enough so that others can poke their heads in.

31 comments:

Karen Peterson said...

I've been there. Often. And you're absolutely right. It really is incredible what a difference it makes when we open the door just a little.

Anonymous said...

not sure if this will link properly...but it's worth a shot.

http://bluemoonhuntress.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/calvin_and_hobbes_hugging.jpg

Mamma has spoken said...

Nice to know that I'm not the only one who has days like this. So many times we see our faults when compaired to others but forget to look at what we can do well. Glad that the spark was lit in of all places, a grocery store.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Wow, what got u thinking in this mode? I know for me its always something that triggers those feelings... What u may think as shortcomings may not be to someone else... Funny how we are constantly striving for approval, appreciation... I've realized we are all unique and if we don't stand a candle next to someone then so be it.. Because there is always someone else who we will strike a look or a convo from... Life is so short as u know... My friend JJ has a positive side, always and to some he might seem idealistic but he is a happy, content person and to me that is what matters.

Jenny said...

Beautiful...the weather here in Utah has a way of making me feel this way as well.

Your amazing at writing and sharing wonderful comments. I always leave your blog with a smile.

Joan said...

I hope the gloom lifts. You seem to know what you need though. =)

Linn said...

Absolutely beautiful words. Thank you so much for sharing this, Jason. One of my favorite posts to be sure.

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

Wise words. Depression is such an egocentric thing. Reaching out to others is SUCH a help.

Easier said than done though.

peggy said...

I have to save this somewhere to go back and read when I need to. Thank you.

MBGITWWR said...

You are not alone in this. I can't begin to tell you of the things I know of pain and depression. I just hope you keep up the great attitude. I can learn a thing or two from you. I hope I have the courage to see the good in life right now. It's pretty dreary these days. Let's hope for a better 2011, eh?

Nuttley said...

Thanks, TF. I needed that. Immensely.

Anonymous said...

For me, opening my eyes to others around me and seeing just how good I have it, even with all of my short comings helps. Starting the new year I was ready to kick 2010 in the pants out the door. And then, some things were brought to my knowledge, of others struggling around me, and I realized that 2010was an incredible year. We're all alive. We have a roof over our head. Food in our bellies, clothes on our backs, the gospel..... I've nothing to complain about! Sure, I've things that can be improved! But that isn't the same.

I'm glad you were able to find a spark in your day. Feeling drear is just, well. DREAR!

tammy said...

It's true. We are our own biggest obstacles. And the best way to get over ourselves and feelings of self-doubt is to give of ourselves in even the smallest ways. Thanks for sharing this. Hope the blues are passing...

Sue said...

Wonderful and true.

Thanks.

Hope the rest of your fog lifts soon...

=)

Anonymous said...

Great writing! Very descriptive. And I love going to that particular grocery store. The employees are always friendly. It definitely is my favorite grocery store.

Gerb said...

Yup. Very well said. It's much better to fight those overwhelming feelings than to let them consume you. Not easier, but better.

jayniemoon said...

I've been on holiday from blogs, but yours is sure nice to come back to. Thanks for a great post.

Mr. Hughes said...

Wow!
Maybe this is a teacher coming back from break thing. I can really feel what you were describing. I have had those same thoughts filter through my head lately too.
I mean after all I applied for a job (only 2 applicants) and didn't get it, my class has seemingly fallen apart in the behavior department, (the list goes on)
Funny part to me is, that after reading your blog and going through your website it is evident that you are a very amazing teacher.

Thanks for the great comments on my blog, they always make me smile and realize that I CAN make it through another day!

Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

It's strange how the holidays have a way of bringing those feelings. We tend to be so hard on ourselves at times. I'm glad you are finding small ways to get you out of the funk.

I hope you're having better days.

Stef said...

Ack! I hate days like that. Sometimes it nice to feel the sad, but most the time, when we look outside ourselves we find our happy. So glad you found you happy...even just a little!

Just SO said...

I have so been in that spot many, many times. I'm glad that there were those there to help flame that spark that you were able to feel.

And I LOVE that video.

Make Do and Mend said...

Thanks. I needed this today.

Queenie Jeannie said...

Big hugs!! Everyone goes through this, but not everyone is honest about it. Keep hoping!!!!

elysabeth said...

That was intense. Thanks for sharing with us. I wish you would add an email subscription to your blog so I can get the postings in my email. It is easier to come over and leave a comment when need be rather than trying to find the link to your blog to search whether you have posted something new or not. Mr. Hughes has bragged on you and that is why he said I should follow you. We work together virtually during his writing class time. I'm open to doing other virtual classroom visits as well (sorry, Mr. Hughes - lol).

As for the depression, we all go through it and somehow come out the other end. I'm not a teacher but I have felt similar feelings that you described in this posting. I'm glad you found your shimmer and came out on the other side of the consuming part of the depression and worked through it - just takes something little to get there sometimes. I look forward to reading more when I can find the time - Mrs. E :)

------------
Elysabeth Eldering
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series

Where will the adventure take you next?

http://jgdsseries.blogspot.com
http://jgdsseries.weebly.com

Today's Gift said...

I sometimes tend to get stuck in a rut of self-pity and it's only through others that I get out.

Hope you're doing better!

Mikki said...

You hit the nail on the head. Great post!

Vanessa said...

Love it!

Mrs. Organic said...

I guess I'm mostly a lurker/taker, but this time I wanted to thank you especially for that last paragraph. Thank you.

Shannon said...

Oh yes, the 'obstacle of ourselves'...I am a regular runner on that course, and I find myself face down in the dirt more often than merely going around. Thank you, Mr. Z, for the perfect reminder to be aware of what can pull me out of such ruts.

Kara said...

Again I am reminded that a good, true friend, no matter how far apart in distance or life, can always inspire you. I'm grateful I know you.

tiburon said...

I am not sure if I have told you lately - but I happen to think you are awesome. And I am blessed to have you in my life. I didn't get the chance to thank you properly for your sweet and thoughtful Christmas gift - but it was just perfect.

Keep on keepin on - because I really dig the "you" that you are :)

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