Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone; snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, in the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Some days darkness wins.

Some days, it doesn't matter how hard you try, how much you pray, how much you logically know that somehow, someway, things will work out, depression wins. The weight of life's circumstances becomes too much to bear. Every single task becomes an insurmountable mess.

It's almost Christmas and I'm supposed to be enjoying time with family, anticipating the birth of the Christ Child, and all that happy .... stuff. But I can't. Not at this moment. In this moment, the darkness is closing in and the weight of my illnesses is upon me and the fact that it's ripped my family's finances to shreds for reasons too many to count fills me with guilt. If it weren't for me, for my illnesses, we could pay bills. We could go places, do things, fix our house, and the list goes on. 

It's one big pity party in my brain and I want nothing to do with it. I want to get out of my head and into the moment and concentrate on the little things, the good things, the holy things I can do with my family. I want my mind to rest in assurance that when the end of the month comes and bills are still needing to be paid, there are people who love me who will help out until we get back on our feet.

The darkness doesn't allow for such positive thinking. Depression dwells on the lack, encourages the guilt, changes a loving family home into a desolate wasteland of things needing to be fixed and replaced, full of obstacles for my malfunctioning body. Guilt hinders my ability to ask for the help we need. Again. Every time I try, I burst into tears. 

So I do the only thing I can do - I put on Christmas music and take lots of deep breaths and clean things and make crockpot cranberry sauce. I stick a candle in a can of jellied cranberry sauce for my newly minted sixteen year old, light it, and lead a rousing if off-key round of Happy Birthday for the young man. I say yes to kids staying up late. I say yes when the 14 year old requests staying up just a bit longer to watch Slapsgiving 2: Revenge of the Slap (*waves to HIMYM fans*). I cry. I write. I love and love and love because it's the only thing I have left to give.

And I feel deeply sad the entire time. There are good moments, even magical moments here and there, but the underlying gloom is unyielding. Tonight I pray for sleep - for good, restful, nourishing sleep and a better outlook in the morning. 

Whether or not it comes, I know things will get better. The Light is coming. Whether I'm happy or sad or rich or poor. And that's all that matters, especially now. I hold on to the coming of the Light. 

What can I give him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; yet what I can I give him: give my heart. (In the Bleak Midwinter, C. Rosetti/G. Holst)


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