Sometimes when I sit down to pray, Jesus tells me to get up and do something else. He did that today, quite specifically.
"Lord, I can't pray the Office right now but I want to give You some time today, so this is the time I am giving You. I'm tired and overwhelmed and my thoughts are going places I know I can't let them go. Please, please help me know what I need to do to get through this day."
And He said, "Go to the Garage."
The Garage is a coffee shop that caters to hippie sorts: organic cane sugar, vegan brownies, banners with vague hindu symbols painted in bright colors. All the baristas have either dreadlocks or unnatural facial piercings or both. I like it there because the atmosphere is cheerful and laid back, and it's just busy enough that I (with my laptop, Doc Martens and Mary Poppins coat) can disappear into the crowd but not so noisy that it gives me a headache, or so expensive that I can't afford to go.
...okay, so I a little bit can't afford it.
Back when I still lived in my parents' basement, I had an article from A Splintered Mind pinned to my wall for several months, until I gave it away to someone who needed it more. It discusses ten ways to fight off depression, the first four of which are, in my own mentally abbreviated form: start fighting it before it starts; know when you are depressed; name the reason(s) for your depression; develop the desire to not be depressed.
I remember struggling with these when I first posted the list on my wall. Each seemed separately and uniquely insurmountable. But today, reading them over in the little bookstore that takes up one corner of the Garage, and is furnished with tables and chairs for those who like to drink their coffee surrounded by literature, I noticed something.
Even though I haven't looked at the article in at least a year, these steps have become ingrained. Habit. Every morning I take measures to keep depression at bay, whether I feel it coming on or not. Every time I'm sad or anxious, I note it, like a birdwatcher, and I ask myself why--whether it's because of something that's happened and is upsetting me, or that I'm trying to do too much to the cost of my sanity, or just those pesky neurotransmitters misfiring again. Every day I remind myself that more than anything I want not to be depressed, because if I am depressed I can't want anything else. I don't even think of these as separate acts so much as an ongoing state of life.
And that, my friends, is progress.
So is this soy chai latte. My Lord has such good ideas.
With His love,