That phrase ‘down in the dumps’ is apt. You feel down, deep down, that life is paralysing. You feel the darkness of Frodo, carrying the weight of the one ring.
“No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are left to me. I am naked in the dark, Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eyes, and all else fades.” The Return of the King.
I have been there.
How is it that we move past this ‘down’?
In my case, it was the keeping on. Keeping on doing. Keeping on being. Keeping up with exercise. Keeping up with prayer. And the sacraments. And sacramentals. Especially sacramentals, those misunderstood things. Clutching a blessed rosary. Holding a medal. Remembering what and Who it is they signify.
The keeping on eventually lit a teeny tiny glow of light in the darkness of downs.
The glow gave warmth and light and a sliver of hope. Maybe the downs are not forever? Maybe all else does not fade.
Making little changes helped to pierce the veil of downs. Reading more fiction forced memories. Reading spiritual works and even self-help books removed some of the nakedness of the darkness.
The twinge of fear about enjoying any positive times was removed. You know that fear, that life has taught you well. That whenever things go well and are good, be aware. The good cannot last but will be punctured by the bad. Yet again.
That fear was lifted. By getting past the downs and a surprising notion that came after months of down-ness. The notion that maybe it is not that good times will be punctured by bad times, so don’t enjoy the good, just-in-case. The notion that instead, maybe it is the good times that illuminate the bad, and the bad , the downs, are the small interludes and not the main fare of life.
Ah. Getting past the downs to enjoy the good is not life. Enjoying the good, alongside some downs, is the stuff.