10.09.2012

There's No Pride Before My Fall, Only Shame

At any given opportunity, I wield my Californian heritage as an excuse to act like a pansy when it gets cold. Guess what? It gets cold all the time here. A record-setting and very late Seattle summer appears to finally be on its last hinges, leaving the slate-colored skies to set in again. It began this morning. I drove down the I-5 with a hundred other people, except I'm pretty sure I was the only one who was weeping.

I think I cried most of the way to work.

While it isn't the most virile thing to declare your softness to the entirety of the interwebs in this manner, I must add that they were tears of joy. You see, there's a story there - that I don't yet have the audacity, presence of mind, or actual separation from the events that occurred to begin to tell. All I have to say is that I was the happiest person in Seattle this morning, happy to be alive.

I was happy to be alive because 12 days ago I came very close to killing myself.

Before I continue, I want to say that yes, I'm ok. No, I'm not suicidal anymore. Yes, I'm taking my medicine and going to counseling. Thanks for the concern.

What's scary is that I got a lot farther than last time (this is the second time in a year it happened). I won't get into all the details, but before I began the process of accepting the long sleep and stepping towards it ready to end being, I remember thinking "God, if I live through this, that means you still want me around. That means you still have work for me."

I won't say I didn't try my best to prove him wrong.

It's not until 12 days after the fact that the world-crushing weight of that statement has utterly buried me with its gravity. If I make it through this. I made it through. I still have work to do. He still wants me to do something. So this morning on the way to work, without knowing where to begin or what to say, I released my shame and accepted the fact that somebody, somewhere wanted me alive.

The story can't be told yet, but I will say this. Whatever God intended for me when he knit me together in the womb was very specific. Sure, doors were left open and avenues were unbarred so I might learn some things the hard way. But trying to take my own life is akin to upending whatever purpose I was crafted for. It goes beyond my selfishness to God's pride in his creation and what I was made to do. It's like a coach telling the quarterback to take the knee in the final seconds of the game and he goes in there and attempts to throw a 60-yard bomb but ends up getting sacked.

Football analogies aside, I'm glad I'm here. That's an understatement. I was a mess in the car on the way to work and I didn't care who saw. I was literally drowning in the idea that I couldn't kill myself if I wanted to because God won't allow it. I challenged him, he chastised me, and put me right back on the path.

Mr. Charles Spurgeon wrote that "God's promises tarry on arrival because he is trying to get us to love him more than we do." I read that this morning. It fueled my elation.

I don't know what else to say in this post because I'm still so humbled and in awe of everything that I've been bumbling around with a dreamy look on my face all day, taking joy in the simple things like orange juice and buying new CDs. Life is amazing. I'll tell this story soon, but I want to end this post with a poem I wrote. It's a narrative of sorts, but I started writing again, which is a good sign that I'm alive.

Take care, everyone.
JDS

The Cab Driver

It had been my first time in a cab.
The hospital paid for it -
handed me over to a stranger,
rendering me to a transaction and a casualty,
one of several that bleak Thursday.

I never knew his name.
He was more caricature than man,
an aspiring Crocodile Dundee lookalike,
though without the fortitude and twice the stale hat.
Blurry documents signed, rights forfeited,
safety comes first by coming last, as always.

He couldn't commit to the silence,
as he rifled off questions about college football,
making me believe he was paid by the syllable.
Things happened in the world while I aimed at a coma.
I knew it would never stop,
but those thoughts didn't matter after the goodbyes were uttered.

Twenty years, divorce courts, nine children.
Different wives. He kept telling me not to feel bad for him.
I didn't. He would stay afloat on those nine children,
refusing to go down in anonymity.

Down, down.
The fluids from the IV in the crook of my elbow
ran down my arm, coming to rest in puddles on the dirty seat.
I saw myself in them, capsized bits of the day floating there,
like swollen pages from discarded memoirs,
refusing to be forgotten by their authors.




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