Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Musings About My Birthday

UPDATE: Despite what everyone keeps telling me, web research has proven that the wonderful scent people call linden is actually that of the Russian Olive Tree. So whatever love and gushing I have given for the lindens, the credit goes to the russian olive. See This Article

Today, for the last time, I am 41. In a few short hours I will be 42. I used to love birthdays but I don't enjoy them as much anymore. The fuss is gone. The thrill is gone. Now, it is just a time to recognize that my body is aging faster than me, faster than my face, faster than I feel. I shouldn't say just. It isn't just anything. As with most things in life it is a mixture of happiness, sadness, excitement, disappointment.

I don't know why I am so down the past few days.

Whenever I get down and irritable, there is a part of me that wonders, is it back? I get concerned that Depression is marching again, spreading a dark cloud over me, digging a pit for me to slide into from which I cannot escape. When I get snippy, I always wonder if there is more to it than the immediately apparent cause.

I cannot permit Depression a hold over me anymore. I cannot go back to that pit. It feels like drowning, suffocating, deaf, dumb and blind, panicking, smothering. Drowning. The last time. Oh, the last time. Well, really all the times before begin to run together in my mind, but I have a mental picture of terror...horror. The pit is filled with mud and I am sinking. The daylight above my head grows smaller and dimmer as the walls grow taller and taller. No matter how hard and how fast I climb I sink further and my hands and feet are slipping in the muddy walls. Every inch I gain I lose as my hands slip again. I'm crying and screaming. My mouth is open and I feel the force of my lungs pushing air past my vocal chords, but no sound comes out. No one can hear me. I hear people walking by the pit, but they cannot hear me, they cannot help. My hands and feet are covered in muck, it flies into my eyes, my hair, my nose, my ears. I breathe it in. It covers me. I can't shake it off. Oh I am drowning in mud. Drowning in despair.

I cannot go back there.

So, anyway, I have learned a few things that help keep me from the edge of the pit. What I have not learned is how to rid myself of the fear of the pit. Maybe that's because for me the danger is real. The fear reminds me to practice the things that keep me from falling in. To pray, to sing, to think on the goodness of God, not just in a general way, but in the specific ways he has dealt with me and with his people throughout history. To be thankful. To praise him. To think on his sacrifice and the love that led him to that. Oh, and I keep watch lest I need the medication that regulates my seratonin levels. Sometimes, even when my mood isn't depressed, I can feel that my body is. I quit sleeping, or I sleep too much but without getting any rest. My fibro goes off the charts, a sure sign that my sleep is disturbed. I do not let that go on too long, but will get myself in to the doc for meds. I used to be ashamed to do that, and in my heart of hearts there is still shame, even though I no longer believe in my head that there should be.

So I will be thankful for all the things I have. I have a husband who loves me, even when I'm crabby. I have three great kids. I have two bratty wonderful dogs. The birds were singing a delightful song today. The rain is greening things up a bit, cleansing pollen out of the air, and refreshing my spirit. I have gas in my truck. I have all my teeth. I can walk, talk, breathe, move, sing, read, write. I have wonderful friends both here and throughout the world. I have my Jesus who loves me. Oh why should I need more?

My mommy loves me. She made me a three tiered tidbit holder, drilling plates and a bowl so that the spacers, feet and handle create a wonderful spot for serving cookies, candies, or for displaying various fruits as I have currently.

Do you know my favorite birthday gift? The Lindens are in bloom! My favorite time of the year is right now, even though my allergies are off the charts! Oh the blissful, intoxicating, sweet smell of lindens. For such a short time they bloom and spread their delightful aroma. A sense of well-being floods me when that scent is carried to me on gentle breezes. I have missed it a bit the past couple of days, since the rain seems to wash the scent from the air. But every spare moment that is NOT raining, I am ever alert for those silvery leaves. Oh bliss. What a cure for depression. How can I be depressed with that perfume surrounding me? Oh that I could bottle that scent, that I could have candles that fragrance the house with that odor, soap and lotion and shampoo with that delightful smell.

Perhaps that would spoil the wonderful anticipation I feel each year as I wait for the days of the linden flowers. Perhaps it is meant for a season, to mark the passing of time, like the passing of years.

Should I die at this time of year, fill the church with branches of linden. What a lesson in the flowers. They are small, almost unnoticable. Completely unspectacular, but they smell so sweet that they delight even those who never notice where the sweetness comes from.

I want to be like a linden. Oh, I wouldn't mind being spectacular, but that is a gift given to others, and that's okay. I would like to be a woman whose sweet fragrance graces those who never even notice me. I want to have the sweetness of Christ pour out of me, pervading the air, providing respite, peace, calm and a reminder of beauty and joy to those around. May the presence of Christ dwell in me. May his fragrance break forth from me. Oh may I be glad to be spectacularly unspectacular if even for just a season. Oh, that I would be anticipated, looked for, that the evidence of my inner beauty be as pervasive as this, my favorite scent in the world. For the past few years I mistakenly thought the flower was that of the Russian olive, which has the same silvery leaves, and I need to become like that. Should I care that I get the credit or that it goes to another? Shouldn't I delight in being who God made me and in doing what he gave me to do? May I be a sweet perfume.

Oh, I have no more depression. I am intoxicated with this gift from God. So if you are walking or driving and see a flowering linden, pull over, pick a few small flowers, stick them in your pocket and enjoy the sweetness that is gone too soon. Let that small flower with the delightful smell remind you of what we are to be...a pleasing aroma.

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