Since the weekend after the Boston Marathon, I’ve been under a gray cloud. Not a dark one, full of lightning and thunder and ominous promises, but a gray one, like a persistent winter in the northwest where the sun just can’t push its way past. I would diagnose my feelings as “dysthymic”, which is a psychopathological word to say, I feel a consistent low-grade depression.
“I confess that I have no philosophy, nor piety, nor patience, no art of reflection, no theory of comprehension to meet things so hideous, so cruel, and so mad, they are just unspeakably horrible and irremediable to me and I stare at them with angry and almost blighted eyes.” –Henry James
This past weekend was bright and glorious with sun and warmth. On Saturday morning, I bared my deepest soul to a few wonderful, trusted friends. After the explosion had settled (really; it was like I’d vomited my story onto the floor in front of them), I went and had breakfast with those dear ones. And I went out and I hiked, just trying to pull a little of that sun out of the sky and down into my aching heart.
I was walking through a little glade when it spoke to me. The voice rang out, clearly, piercing me straight to my soul. There was really little doubt that it was a message intended for me to hear. They perched up in trees near me, and came near and nearer, singing. The words were unintelligible, but the message was received. My heart opened up to it like a desert greedily swallows water in its sands.
Had it not been for that message, my heart would have continued its slow shriveling. Even now I bring the sounds to mind, as a sort of fortification against disaster. I’ve heard it since I was a child; my mother always pointed out their particular song. Never, though, had it been so direct. Never had it contained a message.
Am I meant to understand this message, with my human framework of thought? I imagine not; my Being heard the message, and resounded accordingly. Some things are beyond the world of thought and understanding. Some things must simply be received, with the realization that a deeper Knowledge is at work.
How could it not be deeper Knowledge, with its way of carving hope in my heart like a stream through a canyon? Solid, unbending rock yielded to soft, persistent water. It clears my blighted eyes, soothes my despairing mind. My dysthymia is persistent, rigid. But these tender hands cannot be denied.
Thank God, said I, with tears on my face. Thank God that in the terrible shades of evil in this world, messages like these persist. For who could bear to live without them?