Some days I just can't.
I can't find the energy to accomplish anything.
I can't reach the joy that I know is there.
I can't feel the love I know surrounds me.
I'm paralyzed by fear and longing. Longing for something that will fill me. Make me feel whole, complete, full. Home. I want home. I say over and over, yearning for it - I just want to go home - yet I'm in my house, my home, at the time.
I fill myself up - with food, with things, with so many books, and with blogs and social media and other people's words. And yet I feel empty.
I fill myself up - with my kids' love, my husband's love, the love of family and friends. And yet it's not enough.
I fill myself up - with prayer, church activities, worship, the Word. Yet I feel something lacking.
What I long for is not like the comfort and joy I feel when I'm snuggled in bed under a pile of children watching a good movie. Not like the warmth and fullness I feel during the Evening Prayer at church. The longing is for more. For something I couldn't put my finger on for the longest time. From the abyss of depression and anxiety my heart calls out for home, my soul for wholeness and peace, my spirit for ... for ... for God's embrace. Finally I realize that what I long for is Eternity, Heaven.
Throughout my suicidal years, I didn't want to die. I wanted the safety and peace of God's embrace. I wanted to be in a place where my pain would be no longer. A place of deep peace. And perhaps that made things worse. What I longed for was not death. It was for forever with God, and there was no way of my own doing to get there.
So I attempted to fill myself with work and stuff and food and excess. When filling myself failed miserably, I instead tried to empty myself of everything, to no longer feel anything. I took sleeping pills and drank too much alcohol to dull the physical and emotional pain. And then I cut myself to feel a release, to remind myself that I was indeed still alive, even though I felt dead inside.
It is in this dark, empty place that God is close. Sure, God is there in the beauty of the earth and life's most precious, glorious moments, but He is large in these places of despair.
But still, He does not fill them. If He did we would not see beyond to the joys of this life - of giving and sharing and learning and growing and praising and loving.
What to do with the emptiness, then? The longing?
Give it away.
Give a helping hand, a bit of time, a smile or kind thought. Give thanks.
It is through giving that we fill ourselves. It is through sharing our spiritual gifts - those gifts we have that are a pleasure, not a drain, to give - that our spirit overflows. It is through sharing God's love for us that our souls brim.
When we fill ourselves with giving, we glimpse Heaven.