A way out of the darkness

My most disastrous intimate relationship was with a woman who had been diagnosed with depression. When she was feeling particularly down, she would text me; “Tell me a story”, or even say it out loud if we happened to be physically together at the time. I was always at a loss for the words and never really understood her request. Until this morning.

I’ve been slogging through the last quarter of 2020 as a turtle might crawl across a mud flat. Most days I float along a little and can make some forward motion, even if it appears from a distance as if I’ve just been baking in the sun. This is not an easy time of year for me, under the very best of circumstances. In a pandemic, with most of the world effectively shut down, I’m grateful when every evening arrives just so I can go to sleep.

Last night found the phantoms snuggling right up close and casting a particularly grey pall over every aspect of my emotions. I tossed and turned for hours. Had a small glass of good scotch to brighten the mood. I have even taken to swallowing a couple melatonin capsules before bed every night. But none of that helped last night. There was nothing in particular bothering me. Just a depressing emptiness that I couldn’t seem to shake.

At some point, as I lay there, I started doing what I had done as a kid. Whenever I found myself bored or with nothing else to do I started imagining. Creating worlds within my mind. And when I gave myself over to this fantasy and started embracing the wonder of a world that didn’t exist, I found a brilliant blue sky and a forest full of magical creatures. Sleep came on the wings of a dragon and when I woke up this morning the depression that had been dancing around the edges of my consciousness for the last few months had miraculously lifted. And I remembered those words from a long ago love.

Tell me a story.

Better yet, write it down and gift it to everyone. Just maybe we can imagine it into being and bring a whole new world to life. After all, what are we living in now? A world that contains so many magical creatures already. Here’s just a couple:

Photo by Sébastien Goldberg on Unsplash
Photo by Ashleigh Robertson on Unsplash
Starling murmuration 2020 #Geldermalsen

And of course, my personal favorite magical creatures:

My grandchildren

We live in a magical world right now. We’ve used science to explain almost everything. Yet, we can’t satisfactorily explain how it came to be without referring to some magical “big bang” that effectively created all of this from nothing. We have no cogent explanation for what consciousness really is or how it works. The deeper science digs, the more magical it seems to become. Maybe we should start with the magic and assume it all begins with that. Meanwhile, on your darkest days, it might just help to imagine how much more wonder there is than that which you might be feeling at any given time.

It can’t possibly hurt to try.

father, motorcyclist, old retired guy who’s just a little lost on a blue marble corkscrewing its way to oblivion

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