Thursday, March 16, 2006

two and a half minutes.

that's how long i was in hell tonight; two and a half minutes. long enough. too long.

i was on my way to choir practice and i was thinking about monday, hoping that something will go terribly wrong and that i will die.

i have something of a bad history with anesthesia, so it's not all that far-flung an idea. monday i am having the first of a course of ECT treatments and we get to find out how i'll do with the anesthesia.

so i'm thinking please let something go wrong and let me die. i'm done with all this and at the same time i'm ALSO thinking please don't let anything go wrong. i'm not done yet.

it is very uncomfortable, having both of those thoughts in my head at once. and i'm trying to sort it out, trying to come out from under the staggering weight of it and i get into downtown richmond (such as it is) and just as i go to cross the tracks, the gates come down.

my train is coming.

before i know what i'm doing my seatbelt is off and my hand is on the door but i manage somehow not to open it, not to leave my seat but the temptation is there and renews as each car of the train goes by.

it is not too late. i can still catch the train.

but i think for a moment about the people inside the church. surely the would hear those sirens. it would be messy. later on rumblestrip will tell me that it doesn't matter to her one bit whether the departure is messy or not; it would still be what it is, and horrible.

but thinking about that saves me for at least as long as it takes for the remaining cars to pass.

and i don't know if it's God's idea of a joke, but it's a prety poor one and i have some words about it later.

meantime, it's choir practice. don't look up. don't look people in the eye. don't give anyone a chance to ask.

don't make me lie to you, i think. but there's one among them to whom i have promised to tell the truth: rumblestrip.

so, skirt around the outside. avoid her if i can. and i do.

but it is my habit after practice or after a meeting jsut to go into the sanctuary alone and have a few words or just to sit quietly and listen. sometimes both.

and tonight i'm sitting, head bowed, crying, and i hear someone come down the aisle.

"i don't know who you are," i say, without lifting my head and without knowing who it is, "but it is not your night to have to watch me."

it is rumblestrip, tender and sensitive and ready to retreat. "i thought maybe you didn't want to be alone", she says. "that you shouldn't be alone."

"no, yes. i'm sorry. thank you. please stay."

rumblestrip is right of course.

and after a while i'm ready to go home. i wasn't expecting rumblestrip to follow me there, but she did and i'm glad. it was quite a thing, going back over those tracks, train long gone.

it's going to hurt some every time i go over the tracks for a little while, i'll wager.


-K said...

Still thinking about you. I will call this weekend.

Anonymous said...

I came here from an entry of yours in the Prayer Chapel at

I have the lovely label of "chronic major depressive episodes, recurrent, with seasonal affect" to keep me company in this life. I am guessing yours is "bipolar disorder". It hurts to see such pain in your writings, but you also share such brilliant flashes of grace and beauty. I hope in those dark "where's my train" moments God will remind you of the light he has brought to you in other times.

I started this comment with the intention, not of swapping labels, but of thanking you for your website. You write so beautifully. You are so articulate about both your ups and the downs, and about the way reality slips and slides when mental illness affects one's perspective. You mentioned writing music, but clearly your creative gifts don't stop at notes. (In my opinion this is the flip side of mental illness - so very many of us also received significant creative abilities. I call it the Tortured Artist Syndrome.) My own truest inspiration comes only toward my darkest moments, a bittersweet tradeoff at best. I kinda envy your more "balanced" illness, is that sick or what? But not envy in a malicious way, just I wonder what it would be like to see the world as you do instead of from the same recurring dark angle.

Anyway, thanks so much. I pray that ECT is going well for you and will look forward to reading about it.

Anonymous said...

I read some more today. Saw your postings where you identified your illness. Read about your rats and lots of other things. I'm so sorry to hear that one died in December. I have cats and a dog. Please don't take offense at my status as an owner of would-be rat-eaters; only met one rat in my life and he was a charming and very intelligent gentleman regardless of how my cats would have seen him. One of my cats died in January. I still miss her.

What is the etiquette of the world of blogs?? Here you are pouring out so much of yourself, and the beauty of who you are is so clearly visible. I want to reach out, to respond. But it's not my blog, it's yours. Am I allowed to acknowledge that I already love your soul even though we've never met? Or am I supposed to just keep thoughts like that to myself and pray for you? I can do that, too. The praying part anyway; the keeping my thoughts to myself part is only among my strengths when God is intervening directly between my soul and my self-expression.

I won't write any more for now; have probably already well overstepped my bounds. But you will be in my prayers. Somehow this week, as I've read your blogs, you have become important to me. I hope you'll be back soon. I hope ECT wasn't too traumatic for you, though personally I can't imagine it not being so. I hope so much for you. Be blessed.


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