I’m crawling out of a pit of self-pity this morning. I dug my own way in the last days, telling myself all the things that are wrong, that are hard, that are missing. Telling myself it won’t change, it won’t work out, I don’t deserve it to.
And I don’t know quite when I decided to pick up the spade and toss that first clump of mud aside, but the hole got deeper quicker than I ever expected it to and before long I was realising that I didn’t really want to be down there, but the sides had got too steep, the mud too sticky, the patch of sky above me just a small disk of blue seemingly very far away.
Yesterday was my birthday.
Is there any other day on the calendar that brings the same fear bubbling to the surface? Because here is another number added to the tally, and I’m marking all the ways in which I’m not what I wanted to be when I made it here. I’m looking around and seeing the lack, instead of the abundance.
I’m seeing my struggle with work. I’m missing the friends who are far away. I’m congratulating my mama-friend on her new baby born on my birthday and feeling the emptiness of my own arms. I’m looking at facebook comments pouring in and instead of seeing blessing, I grumble that half of them haven’t been in touch in years anyway.
Sometimes, you dig yourself so deep, you can only see walls of mud.
Today, I’m crawling my way out again. Self-pity is the ugliest of vices and I don’t want to dwell here. There’s so much to be thankful for if I have eyes to see.
I’m pulling out all my best tactics this morning. I’m calling friends to hang out. I’m planning to go to that contemplative prayer evening later today. I’m playing songs over and over that call me out, call me upwards. I’m writing. I’m apologising. I’m reading through all those dozens of facebook messages and remembering each face, remembering how blessed I have been by the people in my life. I’m looking back at the last year and choosing to see the abundance that was mine, rather than the loss.
And I’m whispering softly to myself the words of the poet who came before me, whose life surely gave him reason to self-pity, and who nonetheless chose to say, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.”
Self-pity doesn’t work. And it’s a lonely pit to sit in. So this morning I’m climbing out towards the light, reaching upwards and out of this hole I’ve dug, emerging blinking into the day again.