I was going through a spiraling depression… The lows were lower than low, deep down in the depths of darkness. I couldn’t get it together. I couldn’t figure out how to feel anything other than hopeless.
I scrapped seven paintings, stared at my cursor when I tried to write, and struggled to even talk or answer the phone. Getting dressed, showered, and outside was another challenge. Nothing mattered.
I figured it was time to call my shrink, but I worried about my ability to get in the car and drive myself there. The act of actually “getting there” seemed so overwhelming to me, as did almost any normal activity or task.
The room was dark, dim, and dismal, just like my mood. My curtains hadn’t been opened in days. Dishes, plates, and empty food containers lay strewn throughout the floor. The phone occasionally rang, but went unanswered. I had to do something. Calling my shrink would’ve been a good idea, but instead, I just went outside.
My teeth were un-brushed, just like my hair. My face un-washed with no makeup, and my clothes were the same ones I had on the day before and had slept in. I wandered my neighborhood unsure of where I was going and eventually got myself out on the main street. It was dark out, the street lights were brighter than the last 3 weeks I had lived and oncoming headlights were tracing like streamers.
My eyes were weary, my steps slow and cautious. Brisk walking pedestrians brushed past me deliberately, each with a purpose, I with none.
I stopped out front of a Methodist church and heard a gospel choir. The powerful voices carried out the front door with LIFE and inspiration. For the first time in weeks I was moved and actually felt something other than hopelessness. I sat on the steps of the church for a while listening and quietly taking it in.
Eventually a well-dressed black man appeared behind me and said “So, are you just gonna sit outside or are you gonna come on in?”
“No thanks” I said
“You’ve been sitting out here for damn near a half hour now, there must be some reason why you’re here.”
“I guess… the choir is nice.”
“So… Then, why not come on in and hear them the way they deserve to be heard, in the house of Jesus Christ our Lord.”
I felt uncomfortable being around a man of God… I felt like if he really knew me, he wouldn’t bother. But he did, and I didn’t want to argue with him or explain why I hate churches… so I went in.
Being an Atheist, you don’t expect a church to offer you salvation, but it did, and I felt something that I hadn’t felt in a long time… Hope. I watched those beautiful gospel souls singing, clapping, and reaching unbelievable octaves with their powerful voices and I broke down. Tears fell down my cheeks as I stared at the choir through glassy watery eyes.
I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. I don’t even think my shrink could’ve worked this kind of magic. I wiped my tears and smiled, as I wondered how long it would last.
I heard a voice behind me. He said “It’ll last as long as you want it to.”