Fog and Purpose

This post may strike you as rather philosophical, but there are seasons of our lives–and minds–when nothing else fits the bill.

You hate it when the status quo is simply to pretend like everything is always fine and dandy, right?  And you equally hate it when people you know launch themselves from crisis to crisis as if they truly inhabit an endless chain of traumatic evens and then tell you about them as if there was nothing more to their lives, right?

Well, if you’re me, that’s true.  Maybe you enjoy the flavor of a constantly bright happiness.  Maybe you like drama.  I’m a pretty upbeat person, so I understand the desire to keep your mind on the positive.

But…above positivity, I prefer honesty.  Tell me when you’re sailing on Cloud Nine and please also let me know when you’re cleaning the Bog of Despair’s mud out of your nose. 

Seriously.  We’ve all been in both places, and we need to hear to know we’re not alone. 

So help me, I’m going to show y’all where I am right now.  And if this resonates with you, please shout it out.

All the paths I’ve tread have led me to exactly where I stand today for a purpose.  I believe that in this lull of activity, a house’s proverbial rooms can be swept, projects tidied, and way made for the next tempest of inspiration to barrel through.  I know not the time nor the place of the next tempest, but it will come again.

I remember the desperate emptiness I felt when I finished Moonlight and Oranges, and the secret throbbing ache that wondered if I only had one good story in me to tell.  I know now for sure that the answer to that is ‘no.’

But right now, things are quiet.  So quiet, I have reached the point in which  I start asking the dangerous why? 

Why do I write?  Why do I get up in the morning?  Why do I bother exercising or journaling or checking my email? 

It’s not fun, and its certainly surreal to watch people I know, walking through their day-to-day with eyes shining with purpose and excitement (or maybe it’s their panic for a deadline, but that’s still purpose, if you ask me), and I can’t help wondering where the hell my own purpose went.

Life crushed against me so hard, the spring has uncoiled in the reverse direction, shoving the heavy importance of everything back so that it’s so far removed from me, I hear my heartbeat echo in the void.

What do I do now? 

(If you need a break for a laugh, slide over to Hyperbole and a Half’s Adventures in Depression.)

I do not believe in utter chaos, nor do I think it’s my responsibility to create the entire meaning behind my existence (especially because, in the midst of this confusing moray, I’m pretty sure I don’t have the superpowers to create any new meaning right now).

So I will instead rest in the truth that God designed me with a purpose, and that purpose hasn’t run its full course–because there is the very real evidence that I’m still alive and kicking–and until my head breaks clear of this fog and my boat stops drifting and all those endless minor annoyances stop seeming so major…

I will sit quietly.  I will slow down.  I will remember that, after my relationship with God, my husband is my best friend and I need to cling hard to him.  I will surround myself with loved ones.

I will be honest and record this moment, groping blind through tunnels, unsure of when I will feel warmth and light again, but certain, in the deep pocket of my heart that remembers both the mountaintops and the valleys, that there will more light.

And my peace isn’t contingent on this sunshine.  Just knowing that further inspiration, purpose, and excitement are somewhere ahead is enough. 

I’m tired of believing the “If I could just have_____, I’ll be happy.”  I’m equally as disgusted with telling myself, “If I can just accomplish______, I’ll be satisfied.”

It’s not about doing it’s about being.  And I’m exploring just how odd it feels to be me, and nothing more.

To those of you out there who feel or have felt this same darkness, this depression, this numb inability to know exactly what’s wrong, I am there with you, praying, breathing as slowly as I can, waiting to see what happens next, and knowing, with a shadow of a smile somehow sticking to my mouth, that the sunbreak will come.

And for whichever one of us gets there first, let’s promise to help each other out, or at least to cheer each other on.

Onward.

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

Comments

Fog and Purpose — 4 Comments

  1. I know this feeling all too well. Thank you for being honest & diving into the depths & dark places of being an artist. I’m there with you and glad you haven’t given up.

    • Paul,
      I’m glad it connects with you. There’s comfort in knowing we’re all in this together, even when it’s not fun. Thanks for letting me know.

  2. Pingback: My Life in Red | | Elise StephensElise Stephens

  3. Pingback: I photosynthesize. Get over it. | | Elise StephensElise Stephens

Leave a Reply