A little less than two years ago I was hiking the coast of Whidbey Island, Washington, with a friend. We were nearly at the end of our journey, and my own much longer pilgrimage of depression had already begun, though I had not as yet admitted this fact.
The coast of Whidbey, at least that stretch of it, is incredibly beautiful with the kind of beauty that has always most appealed to me: beach and coarse grass and stubby twisted trees leaning away from the wind, like a scene out of my favorite book. The sea on our right was dark grey and the sky above it was covered with sweeping grey clouds. As we rounded a point of the coast I watched a flock of birds move in slow graceful pattern across them. I knew intellectually that what I was seeing was beautiful and at another time would have thrilled my soul, but I couldn't care. All I could feel was black boiling anger and hatred at the world for being beautiful and at God for making me unable to feel or rejoice in it. If it seems strange to say this, it is. I thought I hated Him in that moment.
A few days ago, on my way to church, I chanced to look up and saw a flock of birds winging across a similar grey sky, each one moving both by itself and as part of the group, none impeding another, grace incarnate. I caught my breath watching them--and then caught it again remembering how for so long I couldn't care. It was like a miracle.
"Little girl, get up...."