When the Darkness Closes In

Before the storm that brings the tornado, the sky gets steadily darker. The clouds loom. The rain pounds and the wind thrashes against living and man-made structures. The intensity grows with each minute of the storm. Living through the storm can give stories for a lifetime, but also can leave people with intense fear of the darkness.

I’ve never lived through a physical tornado that ripped through my neighborhood. But the signs of the storm, they seem to relate so closely to the warning signs of torment of the mind. The darkness. Depression.

The last week or maybe even longer, at night, I feel the storm approaching. The sky is dark. The outlook bleak. Is there any way to avoid the storm? Terror can grip my heart as I cry out, “No, Lord, not the darkness! I can’t walk through this again. We’ve been through this once, isn’t that enough?”

I keep my eyes on the impending disaster. The clouds swirl. Then, I finally sleep. I wake in the morning, never very refreshed, but always trying to face the day. Resolved to do what I can to pretend that darkness is not ever approaching. But night? At night my defenses and sensibilities are worn to the bone and dulled at the same time. I cannot fight the coming storm. I want to run.

Where could I run? There is nowhere this storm will not find me. “You’re a loser; You’re a Loser”. It gets closer, darker, louder. I look back at my day and I see all the ways I tried to escape and in escaping, I feel like I left the chance to actively love those I’m surrounded by but feel miles from. Guilt rages. If I could just get rid of these feelings.

“God, why must I feel? Can’t you turn the feelings off? I know Your Truth! I know I’m Your Daughter. I know I’m not a loser. I know my failures are covered by Your blood. So can’t you just turn off these despicable feelings which lie and lie so well?!?”

I think my pleas fall on compassionate ears, yet the mind has its own bullying tactics. “Don’t you know God created you with feelings? You wouldn’t feel love for your children if you didn’t have feelings. How could you want God to turn that off?” my mind taunts.

Yet, in the rationalization which was intended for guilt, I find some truth and I revel in it.

“Melanie, I’ve created you with your feelings. Melanie, You aren’t the darkness. It is separate from you. Separate from Me. Melanie, I’ll walk with you through the darkness. I’ll take you with me. We can dance in the rain. It may not be a jig, in fact, it may be a more slow and intimate dance. I’m not here to get you out of the darkness. I’m here to walk with you through it. You can feel it. I feel it. It is not too much for Me.”

I wonder, will this storm hit my heart, or will it suddenly change course? I don’t know. But, I know now that I’m not going to be terrified if it does hit.

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