Friday, August 13, 2021

The Next Right Thing with Depression

“I've seen dark before, but not like this
“This is cold, this is empty, this is numb
“The life I knew is over, the lights are out
“Hello, darkness, I'm ready to succumb.”

Last year was rough for many people around the world. Thankfully, my wife and I managed to avoid many of the trials that others faced; my wife finished out the school year teaching from home, I graduated on schedule, and we both got to spend extra time at home with our new baby girl.

Instead, 2021 has been our roller coaster year. Only a month in, I lost my new job because I’d failed my licensure exam (that’s the short version of the story). Without another job to take me on, my wife and I had to move across the country to live with her parents while I studied and passed my licensure exam and while I got a new job. My in-laws are great people, but even with the best of in-laws it doesn’t feel good to move in with them.

During the six months since I lost my job, I’ve had to deal with the anguish and hurt that comes from being unable to provide for my family. I know it shouldn’t, but there’s been a shameful, emasculating feeling that’s accompanied all that my family has been through. Instead of being guided through life, we’ve felt pushed and prodded along the path.

“This grief has a gravity, it pulls me down
“But a tiny voice whispers in my mind
“You are lost, hope is gone
“But you must go on
“And do the next right thing.”

I lived in Utah for twelve years (and my wife for six years). We had a life that we enjoyed with friends and family. Even being in Texas with her parents and sisters has left us confused about where our life is headed. Will we ever move back to Utah? What will our lives in Texas look like? 

It’s easy to feel lost and confused during all of this. I’ve had days where the world seems dark and my depression feels worse than it should. I’m definitely not the best at handling the uncertainties. I like to have things planned out. Case in point: You should see the spreadsheets I have with plans for this blog.

But it seems the Lord has other plans for me. Even my gospel study apparently agrees, as I recently caught this line from President Eyring:

“As you live worthy of the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Lord can direct you to safety even when you cannot see the way. For me, He has most often shown the next step or two to take. Rarely has He given me a glimpse of the distant future, but even those infrequent glimpses guide what I choose to do in daily life.”

I’ve heard it said in twelve step groups before that part of turning “our will and our lives over to the care of God” includes trusting His plan. Even though I have a good job now and we’ve moved into our new apartment, I still feel lost sometimes. How do I make this new place our home? How do I face my new reality? All I can do is put one step in front of the other, like Anna in Frozen 2

“So I'll walk through this night
“Stumbling blindly toward the light
“And do the next right thing
“And, with it done, what comes then?
“When it's clear that everything will never be the same again
“Then I'll make the choice to hear that voice
“And do the next right thing.”

No comments:

Post a Comment