Like a Phoenix, We Can Rise
The events of the last week–the passing of Robin Williams and our beloved greyhound Baylor, as well as the civil and social crisis in my home state of Missouri–sent me on a nocturnal search for my journal. I have years of trusting my gut at 3 a.m. when it says, “Get up and write.”
The beauty of gut writing lies in its therapy. Without fail, after my mind purges, I finally sleep.
So it was a few nights ago.
From my journal, edited a bit for clarity:
Time shifts slowly sometimes, like the moments in a sleepless night. Time can also take a monumental leap forward with no pause for explanation. Each progression is maddening in its own way.
Sleep eludes me this night, due in part to an aching hip but more because of an aching heart. But what is it that really calls me from sleep?
I think it’s a lifetime of deep thinking; some might say depressive thinking. I grew up a brooding sort and sometimes, though I strive to find the bright light, darkness calls. I may peek into those ebony-laced shadows, as I am tonight, but’s it’s been a long time since I stayed for long.
And still I rise, wrote Maya Angelou. How is it that she rose, often bloody and torn, that others do as well, while some succumb to the darkness?
What keeps me from going there, into the black crevices of depression, when Robin Williams couldn’t stay out?
Brain circuitry, chemical imbalances, both of which I say I understand but I really don’t. I do believe that mental illness, of which addiction is a part, forever alters the game of life.
That part about time? Each second is a trial or a blessing, depending on the level of balance.
So much to learn, but more we should stop
There is so much to learn about what makes us–those with a brain disease or imbalance–tick, but knowledge and empathy is not nearly enough. There is plenty we can do to help but maybe there is more that we should stop.
Stop being so quick to judge, to gather a head of righteous steam.
Stop offering incendiary opinions, especially when a public microphone is offered.
Stop contributing to hateful rancor with name-calling and race-baiting.
Stop ignorant shouting from street corners.
Stop pretending you know the whole story; chances are you don’t.
Instead, start leading with love. Let love guide your words, thoughts and deeds.
When you find yourself in the blackened shadows of a mean-spirited mindset, rise up instead and find your way back to the light. The light is where you belong.
Rise up, beyond appearances, beyond what you think you know. Rise up toward the willingness to believe you don’t have all the answers.
We’ll never know for sure why Robin couldn’t rise up one more time. We may never know for sure why the maelstrom in Ferguson, MO, happened the way it did.
But here’s what we can know: Our own phoenix is ready to rise. Answer the call of your own why, then do something different to illumine your light.
I’m convinced it’s the only way to feel peace.
Photo courtesy of Oleander