I Wished to be a Sparrow (Reflections on depression & faith)

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I stood in the field alone, looking out to the western foothills. The sun was starting its descent from day to night, but it wasn’t quite sunset.

Not quite.

It was the magical time just before. The window through which everything is more vibrant in color, more alive, rimmed with gold. My favorite time of the day.

“This is when they should bury me,” I thought.

This is when they should lower my body into the ground, when the sun turns the world golden before its arc into night.

When the leaves on the trees flash a bright spring green. And the cottonwood floating in the air looks electric. When the long grass glows warm, its tips a blur of undulating white.

When everything is just a little too bright, just a little too beautiful, just a little too intense.

Just like me.

I was out in that field looking for God, not for salvation but for some sign that things would be okay after I died. For me and for the people who would miss me so, so much.

Depression is like being dead in a world that is cruelly alive. Cold and hollowed out like a corpse, you try to connect with the living, try to feel the warmth of their hope, but you can’t.

My only tether to this life was my love. For my mom, my brother, my friends. For the dreams of what my life was supposed to be. For my children who had yet to be born.

But the pain was becoming greater than my love, and so I was preparing to die. I didn’t know how exactly. That was for later, after I’d made peace with myself and with God in this field.

After I knew I’d done my very best to live. Because I wanted them to say at my funeral,

“She did her very best to live.”

I noticed sparrows darting back and forth across the field. As the sun began to set, they emerged.

Dozens and dozens of them flew about, only a few inches above the glowing grass, catching bugs in the last light of the day. A few of the braver ones flew close enough that I could hear their chirping and the swish of their wings.

They were exuberant and joyful. And I contemplated why they were not afraid. Their minds could not comprehend that the setting sun would rise again the next day, but they flew like it would.

They had faith that it would.

I wished to have that kind of faith.

I wished to be a sparrow.

 

236 thoughts on “I Wished to be a Sparrow (Reflections on depression & faith)

  1. slayerfanboy says:

    Depression is the ultimate hell. You’re not happy or sad. You feel nothing. You’re not alive, or dead. You simply are. You’re just existing. Your life is ruled by futility and then hopelessness. You have no desire to live. That my friend, is hell. I thank whatever deity is out there for heavy metal. It pulled me out and made me feel. I wanted to live again.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. gandurineclare says:

    Depression is like being dead in a world that is cruelly alive. Cold and hollowed out like a corpse, you try to connect with the living, try to feel the warmth of their hope, but you can’t.

    OMG!!! This description!!!

    -A.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Vivian says:

    This is so gorgeously written — I’ve been in that place where “the only tether to this life is my love” and you can move beyond, live beyond this but you also have to love yourself and seek help. I did and it’s why I’m alive today.. Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 3 people

      • quitesimplyjack says:

        Hey, I’ve had a read of some of your posts. The letting go of the past one really struck me, the way you described the burning room is brilliantly put! I write all of my songs about experience of the past but the burning room is one of the best analogies I’ve read! Keep up the work! And maybe one day I could write a song with you? 🙂 I think that’d be great!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Aishwarya says:

        Thanks. I would like to write a song with you, I play piano too and I like to sing. May be I could give music to your song and try singing it? Not sure about my singing though. Do you like to sing? I have sent you add request on Skype 🙂

        Like

  4. rangerstarshine says:

    Thank you for writing this lovely, haunting piece. Your prose reads like poetry and speaks so well to my experience of depression, which has plagued me for most of my life. I feel that depression is a condition that lies to those of us held within its grips. It tells us that we are the only ones who feel this way, that this is the way our lives have always been and how they always will be. You were envious of sparrows for their faith in tomorrow. I was jealous of squirrels because they could run about in play, not realizing how horrible and useless life was. Please keep writing. I have enjoyed reading this piece.

    Liked by 2 people

    • AKO Collective says:

      Thank you for this heartfelt comment. “Depression lies” is a phrase that Jenny Lawson uses in her work along with #not alone. She is strangely very funny and inspiring and totally bizarre in her story of mental illness. She also is a salve to those of us who have suffered in the shadows. I encourage you to check out Furiously Happy and her newest creation, You Are Here. PS – I love squirrels too.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. pjmarieblog says:

    Said beautifully. I have depression and I have faith. Medication makes the difference for me. I don’t believe I’d be here without it. I hope you find faith and a way to deal with the horrible haunting depression. I wish I could help you…

    Like

  6. Thoha Etsai says:

    I’ve been reflecting on depression through the lens of my own inspirations, and one of the points I’ve distilled is that to best love others as yourself, you have to first love yourself as you would others. I know what a tough sell that can be, but if your love for others has kept you tethered here, you’re at least receptive to the idea.

    Anyone can die; it takes courage to live. Stay courageous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AKO Collective says:

      Self-love has been a new space that I’ve been exploring only in the past year or so. It’s such a new concept, and I practice saying “I love myself” over and over after a friend suggested it. It was hard to say at first, which got my attention that this was something to focus on. It’s been a powerful practice. You are right on point. Thank you for the affirmation to continue.

      Like

      • Thoha Etsai says:

        It’s a good affirmation for me to know I’m not completely talking out my ass. 🙂 Below is a link to me ruminating on the inspiriation that got me thinking this way, if it can be of further use to you. There’s a line in that source material that says something to the effect of “if you sacrifice yourself…the people who love you will never be able to find true happiness. Your life does not exist for you alone.” I’ve indulged myself with images of who would come mourn for me if I were gone, but I think the idea of checking out so early is just that, an indulgence—let it remind you of your worth to others, before considering it as a course of action for yourself. Then find the help you need so you don’t need the image in the first place.

        (For what it’s worth from the peanut gallery.)

        https://sothisisautism.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/self-loathing-and-self-acceptance-in-which-i-am-a-big-fat-nerd/

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Swati Luthra says:

    Beautiful writing.
    Amazing work well done! Depression is a brutal phase and I can relate since I’ve been through it and the parallels drawn are a beautiful and breathtaking narrative.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. mindelate says:

    ‘Depression is like being dead in a world that is cruelly alive’.

    Snap. Your one sentence summed up pretty much everything about depression. This is such a beautiful post. Bittersweet. Yet comforting in a surreal way. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. The Cockroach says:

    What is the cause of the emptiness? What is the trigger for the depression? There is something deep inside of you; its under your skin. What is it? A reason always exists, you don’t need to be a sparrow, and you too can have faith, when you learn to let go…

    Liked by 1 person

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