I had a bout with depression during our engagement season last year.
It's a startling sentence to write. Depression almost feels like an identity. Maybe it is. Earlier, life and joy seemed joined at the hip. In those days I felt like a beggar, pleading with life for a reason to smile.
I don't care to diagnose it. It suffices that depression is sometimes chronic, sometimes episodic; sometimes a disappearance of dopamine, other times the appearance of crisis; sometimes nagging cloudiness, other times a constant stabbing in the dark, stalking for joy under a starless night sky.
Existence is joy. I’m not saying that my existence is joy. But I am saying I have met something shrouded in unapproachable light in silly moments. I pass three old Jewish ladies, their hands taking turns dancing, saying some words along the way. A four-year old boy mashes his feet onward until him and his glassy brown eyes and his improv chocolate face painting are eight feet in front of me and the Dunn Bros entrance. I march along Loring Pond and again I see Red-winged blackbirds, those avian playground bullies, but they’re only pecking grass next to a bunch of Grackles, the freckled-face pipsqueaks.
And in those bare moments—clearly not the stuff of Hollywood!—I greet an inescapable and elusive reality, coursing through life. In those moments, all I know is that its best name is joy, I can’t stop from chuckling, and though we battle against its opposite at varying times and depths, we were meant to belong to something like it.
And I hope (suspect?) that just as a dripping glass of ice water proves we live in a world where thirst is quenched, so too these dumb old chuckles would prove we live in a world where they will one day meet the reason behind them.
photo cred: camden mcafee