Everybody's 4 a.m.


When it is four a.m. and you've been awake for hours- only on this night it's not the sleepy tiny voices calling but the grimy, slithery ones.

Tonight it is the dark keeping me awake and tossing, counting the ways I could have should have would have . . . I kick off thick dark blankets and then pull them over me again.

I look out the window, padding down the sidewalk a woman is out for a late jog, or maybe an early one. I wonder if she is running from something, too, the same voices calling her out of rest and into the rise-earlier-try-harder dark.

I find the best thing to do with these four a.m. voices is to look them in the eye, and agree with them.  Yes. I could have done better. Yes. I'm sorry. God I am sorry sorry sorry.

The next day, I clean out the refrigerator.  Make it really shine. Prepare a good meal. There will be dessert tonight, and carbs, and butter. I light candles.

Sometimes the only way to receive grace is by taking hold of physical grace- to scrub and wash and slice and simmer and somehow, in setting some small piece of the physical world right; in creating something good and nourishing and holy out of mundane, ugly, chaotic- somehow there is hope.
The reasons for depression are not so interesting as the way one handles it, simply to stay alive.  This morning I woke at four and lay awake for an hour or so in a bad state.  It is raining again.  I got up finally and went about the daily chores, waiting for the sense of doom to lift- and what did it was watering the house plants.  Suddenly joy came back because I was fulfilling a simple need, a living one. . . .  Whatever peace I know rests in the natural world, in feeling myself a part of it, even in a small way.   
Maybe the gaiety of the Warner family, their wisdom, comes from this, that they work close to nature all the time.  As simple as that?  But it is not simple.  Their life requires patient understanding, imagination, the power to endure constant adversity- the weather for example!  To go with, not against, the elements, and inexhaustible vitality summoned back each day to do the same tasks, to feed the animals, clean out barns and pens, keep that complex world alive.  -May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

Loved this: The Best Thing To Do When It Comes Time to Give Up by Shawn Smucker

Comments

Cami said…
Lump in my throat, forcing back the cry. You unearthed a great deal in my heart and gave words to some of it. Thank you. And oh how I love Rothko's work. I remember discovering it and being completely drawn in and seeing color differently from then on.

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