We Cast Long Shadows

We cast long shadows over our own lives,
So long that we belong to those shadows,
Though we imagine we are walking in light
With our sight set high and so we fly . . .

We fly to our own murky destinations
Without hesitation or any examination,
Thinking all will be well (so sound the bell!)
When we have only created our own hell

We cast long shadows, deep and dark,
And in them we hide from stark reality,
But the finality is all the same (and not tame);
We wake up to realize it’s more than a game!

Yes, we cast long shadows over our lives,
And we bury ourselves in their folds,
But when bold comes the light shadows flee
And we can see clearly the bright truth
And then, and only then, can we really be free

Fog of War ~ Cry for Help

It is the fog of war and I cannot see clearly as I am nearly blind,
And so I bind me to you, my Beloved, clinging to you kind hand,
And you tie your band around my waist lest I here waste away
In this foreign land with battle trenches dug deep into the earth
From which every soldier must show his worth even in dying,
Crying for mercy and peace and I, too, beg the warfare to cease;
Oh, my Beloved, give me new lease on life and let all strife end!

Here is my heart and all of me, too, to do with as you might will;
Take and seal me for eternity in fraternity with you forevermore,
But bring relief now as well as the bell chimes out this late hour,
And show your power to heal, and to fill me with your great love
Above the cacophony of this world into which I’ve been hurled!
And write my own name on your palm and calm all of my fears
Which lurk ever near to my very soul and so wholly fill this hole!

And grant me sweet serenity even now . . .
Oh, grant us serenity even now, my Beloved

An Openly Honest Comment Upon My Condition

Dealing with depression and anxiety is no laughing matter, to be sure, especially when prescribed medications begin working against you. Not that medication alone is the answer, but when what has been prescribed no longer helps but, in fact, begins causing negative side-effects, then you are moved beyond frustration to the point of tears.

This has been, and continues to be, my own experience. Several weeks ago, it seems the antidepressant prescribed to me lost its effectiveness and then actually caused akathisia – that is, continual restlessness, agitation, sleeplessness and heightened anxiety. This has been enough to drive me to tears, as I am fighting on two fronts: depression and akathisia.

After numerous visits to the emergency room and three hospital stays, my psychiatrist wisely removed all antidepressants and even cut in half the dosage of the mood-stabilizer I have been taking. Alas, though, largely removing the culprits – that is, the psychotic medications – has only partially subdued my akathisia, for which I am now taking medication.

What am I to do? In many ways I believe I am actually taking too much medication, mostly to address side effects of other medication, but without the medication for akathisia I am caught up in a whirlwind of nervousness, agitation, restlessness, and high anxiety. Will I ever know freedom from all of the above? In other words, will I ever be free of depression, anxiety, and akathisia? Of course, this is my ongoing prayer.

But let me get to the point of sharing all of this: One who does not struggle with these internal problems, or ailments, should be very careful not to judge those who are experiencing this (or other physio-psychological difficulties.) Really, unless you have experienced this, or another condition, yourself then you really don’t know the awful reality of bearing this burden. You cannot understand just what devastating effect it all has on the victim.

However, you can show love and compassion, encourage and offer to help to the extent that you can help, and you certainly can pray for the person who suffers. This is a point well-worth stating, remembering, and putting into practice. Sufferers need kindness, sympathy, and help rather than suspicion and condemnation.

Moreover, it is really beneficial – potentially, at least – for family and friends to acquaint themselves with depression, anxiety, akathisia, and other conditions. Learning is the first step toward authentic sympathy as well as the ability to truly help the one suffering. As you begin to better understand the condition(s) then the better equipped you are to actually provide much-needed, genuine, and courteous benevolence.

Personally, as I suffer I realize that most people in my life just don’t have a clue. Depression and anxiety are largely “unseen” afflictions. The akathisia is more evident because it is more physiological, manifesting itself in constant, erratic motion – i.e. extremely jittery nerves, inability to concentrate or carry on a sustained conversation, etc. – but even still, people wonder why I just don’t settle myself down.

I feel a certain sense of hopelessness because I cannot adequately explain my depression, anxiety and akathisia, and I am worn to a frazzle anyway. As moment follows moment, and day slips into night, my whole person is seemingly at war with itself . . . and I seem to be losing! Thank the Lord God I have been able to hold on to hope born of faith that this too shall pass; otherwise, I would despair to the point of giving up altogether.

On the brighter side, though, there are those who do understand, either from personal experience or through a loved one (or close friend), and so they are able to relate. Of course, this only goes so far; after all, they are unable to alleviate my actual suffering. Still, it is an astounding blessing to know that I am not alone. Now if I could just find the cure for it all! (And I say this sincerely.)

Right now the war is thick and every battle has its own special aspect with which to deal. Right now I hardly know which end is up and which is down . . . but I do know the suffering and am well-acquainted with the wounds resulting from the fight. I also know how tremendously grateful I am to God, who has sustained me thus far and promises never to leave nor forsake me!

No, none of this is a laughing matter. It is serious and I would not wish any of this on my worst enemy. God help me! And God help those around me – those within my network of friends and family – to understand (to the greatest extent possible), and to be patient while encouraging and praying for me. Finally, may I learn to be even more empathetic toward those gripped by depression, anxiety, akathisia, and other difficult ailments while longing and waiting for my own redemption from this awful pit! Lord, have mercy!

As I Cross This Ocean Deep

As I cross this ocean deep where secrets keep,
My fair soul sends forth its prayer so very bare,
And naked I stand before the band of angels,
Aware of weakness of flesh, with fresh songs
So melodious and filled with love from above;
Ah! But can I sing with them and bring peace
To my spirit so troubled within me in serenity,
While the waves come higher quenching fire
In my heart, taking the better part of my self
Into watery caverns buried beneath the water?
And when shall I reach the coastline of glory?
When shall I sit in peace to tell my paltry story?
When shall I walk the distant shore in peace
With new lease on life – new, abundant life –
Given to me as gift as I lift my hands to heaven?
Ah! I cross this ocean deep where secrets keep,
And in this journey grow into brand new birth
For all that I might be worth on the other side;
So, dear Lord, help me on board this regal ship
Not to slip in despair, knowing you will repair
As you lay this my heart bare without one tear,
And so I shall yet be all that is meant for me . . .

Let Me Rise Above as I Lay Me Down

I lay my life down in your arms, O Beauty and Peace,
So be gracious to grant me rest and on life new lease

Crown me with your love in this forlorn town of humanity,
And drive away the insanity as I now lose all of my vanity,
And bold let me enter your fold for there is rest, I am told,
And there mold me and make me like you, ever so divine

And as I walk these paths and talk with pilgrims who balk
At the idea of any tranquility with hostility and no humility,
Let me not be ensnared in their claptrap, but rise above
Such fray to your love this very day along life’s terrible way

I lay my life down in your arms, O Beauty and Peace,
So be gracious to grant me rest and on life new lease

After such great turmoil graciously grant the best of rest
In your numinous nest, and to be gone with soul festering;
Let me find merciful safety in your hands and loving bands
While the sands of time slowly fall through the hourglass
Of heaven leavened with passion that shall not pass me by

I lay my life down in your arms, O Beauty and Peace,
So be gracious to grant me rest and on life new lease

Good Morning Life!

For the streams and hillocks and sweet dreams,
Fountains of water, and flowers and mountains
That rise, and blue skies, how could I despise?
For fireflies, moonlight at night, and the stars
That shine from afar; for my friends and family
So near and dear, where is there room for fear?
For perfect love from above casts out all fear!
For riverbanks and the quiet time, I give thanks;
For sunrays and bays and child’s play in the day,
And ballets and bouquets, how could I be hateful;
No! I am grateful … grateful for this and more…
And so I say, ‘Good Morning Life! Good Morning!’


Note: First published on March 12, 2017

So I Belong to You

As the stars belong to the night and light to the day,
So I say, ‘I belong to you,’ and I long to be with you,
So, too, I will be true to you, my one and only love,
My dove from above, who hovers and covers me,
Always close at hand with bands of compassion
In passion of fire that never tires or ever wanes
In nearly insane affection but with no affectation
In connection with the best part of heart and soul,
Filling that hole with which I have lived for so long,
Giving me your own song sung sweet in meeting me
Each and every moment as I breathe in the fragrance
Of your undying devotion in unending motion forever!