Tuesday, August 17, 2010

colors of summer

As summer is winding down and school is about to start, I just wanted to share a few pictures of how beautiful summertime out west can be. Two of the three are from last summer, but I'm still a fan. There are plenty more where these came from, but they're a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

thunderstorm and sunset on the 4th of July in Kansas

Palo Duro Canyon, last summer

Palo Duro Canyon again

Sunday, August 15, 2010

a glimpse back

Today I'm sharing with you a journal entry I came across from sometime during the fall of 2007 or spring of 2008. I praise God that things are no longer this way in my life, but this is an accurate portrayal of what I experienced for a number of years. Those years very much shaped who I am, as I think you will understand better after reading. For that reason, and also so any of you who have also experienced such a time will know that you're not alone, I decided to share this with you. No pity wanted, just understanding and encouragement.

I feel my soul begin to plunge again into the unfathomable depths of despair. It is an abyss I have become quite familiar with -- an enemy more dreaded than any other I have faced, yet at the same time a comfortable friend. None, not even I, can understand the mysteries of the transformation that occurs within me. It's a bad case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, only less predictable. A whirlwind or tornado that appears as if out of nowhere, wreaks havoc on my spirit, and then vanishes back to God knows where, leaving a perhaps troubled yet strangely tranquil sky behind it and nothing but a trail of destruction and disaster in its wake. And I am left to sort through the mess, the ruins of what once was my life, trying to put back the pieces to give some semblance (to the world? to myself?) of normalcy, all the while mourning with bitter tears as I compare the devastation that surrounds me to the peaceful, joyful, and whole life I once led.

This malaise that has taken possession of me -- what is it? Can I give it a name? I have tried, though none seems suitable, or perhaps it's that all of them do -- depression, despair, frustration, hopelessness, exhaustion, confusion, anger, bitterness, emptiness... What is this ghost that haunts me, a specter I can at times avoid and at other times against which I am utterly powerless?

I cannot understand the inner workings of my heart, the processes of my mind. I do not know why I feel like I do or what it is in me that changes, that begins the dreaded metamorphosis. As regular and yet as unpredictable as the weather here in my northwest Arkansas home, my mindset and my heart move from one end of the continuum to the other. Sometimes it happens gradually, building throughout the day until I have inched my way into this diseased way of thinking and feeling, and other times it is as sudden and as painful as a gunshot. Whether it's a word, an action, a circumstance, or a lack of one of those things, my mood swiftly transitions from the typical gray twilight in which I seem to live into total blackness, like the darkness that surrounds you on a night with no moon or stars and not a single light to be seen.

Every word I hear, every thought I think becomes twisted and dangerous. "Are they talking about me?" It's either, " Yes -- they must have awful things to say," or "No -- no one cares enough to give me a first thought, much less a second." If I take a look in the mirror, it's "Yikes! I look horrible today. If you look closely, you can even see the ugliness of my soul in my eyes." Or there's the despairing "I look all right, or maybe even good, but what's the use? No one is ever going to care anyway. Why try?"

Any faint glimmer of hope is immediately snatched away and turned easily into a weapon to further the piercing darkness that surrounds me and envelops me. Why cannot hope abide? Why must it flee so easily? Why must I be left in my aloneness, seeking always for comfort and companionship and finding none that promises to salve the wounds my heart has had inflicted on it?

photo found through Google image search at http://www.paranormalknowledge.com