"People around depressives expect them to get themselves together: our society has little room in it for moping. Spouses, parents, children, and friends are all subject to being brought down themselves, and they do not want to be close to measureless pain. No one can do anything but beg for help (if he can do even that) at the lowest depths of a major depression, but once the help is provided, it must also be accepted. We would all like Prozac to do it for us, but in my experience, Prozac doesn't do it unless we help it along. Listen to the people who love you. Believe that they are worth living for even when you don't believe it. Seek out the memories depression takes away and project them into the future. Be brave; be strong; take your pills. Exercise because it's good for you even if every step weighs a thousand pounds. Eat when food itself disgusts you. Reason with yourself when you have lost your reason. These fortune-cookie admonitions sound pat, but the surest way out of depression is to dislike it and not to let yourself grow accustomed to it. Block out the terrible thoughts that invade your mind."
"Patience is a willingness, in a sense, to watch the unfolding purposes of God with a sense of wonder and awe, rather than pacing up and down within the cell of our circumstance. Put another way, too much anxious opening of the oven door and the cake falls instead of rising. So it is with us. If we are always selfishly taking our temperature to see if we are happy, we will not be."
I came to an interesting realization a few weeks ago, and it was this: I like myself better when I'm single. I feel that I am stronger, wiser, more humble, more faithful, more patient, more exacting with my time, kinder to others and more fulfilled at the end of the day, when I am single, than I ever am when I'm not. And it's pretty easy to see why, but I'll list the reasons anyway:
1. When you are single, life kind of sucks. It's true. So, in an effort to make your life worth living, you (that is, I) tend to be better about doing those things that you know will really bring you happiness, even if only in the short term. Like selfless service, and hard work, and spending time with your family, and other things that you just don't make time for when you're dating.
2. Because you're so dang lonely and your moments are therefore harder to get through, you plan them more carefully. You live your life deliberately because you must, because it doesn't just float by on its own anymore. You can't take it for granted anymore that there is a boy waiting for you every evening after work; no, instead you have to actually stop and decide what productive/enriching thing you're going to do with your free time that evening. This usually means that your time is ultimately better spent than it would have been otherwise.
3. You learn what it means to be responsible for yourself again. Responsible for your happiness, responsible for your sadness, responsible for figuring out your own problems. The point is that you don't have the option anymore of handing your latest tragedy over to the nearest male figure, imploring him to dispose of it like you would the kitchen trash. Instead you sit with it, you experience it for yourself, and you come to remember who it is after all that you're supposed to be depending on. You resolve once again that you will never, as Elizabeth Gilbert puts it, "use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings."
4. Finally, you are compelled to be humble. You figure out pretty soon that happiness in the form of a significant other is not going to come to you of your own efforts - it is clearly in someone else's hands, and in His timing. You learn a lot about what it means to really, I mean really, exercise faith (at least, as much faith as you've ever had to exercise so far in your short, cushy life).
So, in short, you're a better person. (Switching back to first-person now) I hate being single, I really do. And yet, I'm never more at peace with myself than when I'm trucking along without a man. How does this bode for marriage? Must I choose one over the other? I have so much to learn.
In case you didn't hear, it snowed in Provo today.
I've recently made two internal goals that I'd like to make external, via my blog, so I can be kept accountable.
1. Smile at people in passing (as much as is possible with the long path, of course).
2. Address people by name when I greet them. I feel like "Hey, Larry! How are you?" is a lot more meaningful than, "Hey, how are you?" ...which is what I usually do. Sometimes it's because I've forgotten their name, but most of the time it's just laziness. But no longer.
So let it be written.
Yes that is the best picture I could find of people greeting each other.