Often, I think of that day and try to recall what I gained on my midweek trip. Last year, in my inadequacy to manage my emotions properly, I was sick of colleagues, sick of seeing sicknesses, and the sadness, anger and frustrations that frequently accompanied it. During days like that, of which there were many, I tended to forget that life is more than what is contained within the walls of a hospital.
For the only time in my life, partly out of curiosity, partly out of desperation, I called a mental health hotline. Perhaps I understood a little better then, why society works hard to prevent suicide. There would always be the occasional person who truly doesn’t want anyone to know, doesn’t want help, and wouldn’t be swayed from what they wanted to do. But I think many aren’t that determined and would be grateful, when they look back, that someone helped them to see past the darkness with a perspective that they themselves have lost.
Interestingly, that day was full of angry looking clouds in all directions, and it started pouring heavily as soon as I left the house. I thought I would continue with my drive anyway, knowing a drive to the coast would be pointless for sight seeing. Not that I really knew where I was going or what I was doing anyway. Somewhere down the highway, not too far along, the skies suddenly became clear. What I had assumed to be an endlessly rainy day, had actually become full of perfect, warm sunshine. I saw it as a metaphor of sorts, to be reminded that it can be hard to imagine that dark clouds don’t stretch on indefinitely.
Under the sun, at the side of the road, I slept soundly. I listened to and read God’s words. I saw elderly people with gait aids, but walking about happily and functioning well. Later, I saw schoolchildren building sand castles and climbing on playgrounds. I bought an iced coffee and had a meal at a seaside town. From majestic cliffs, to crystal waters, to vast beaches, to curvy hillside roads and old lighthouses – I had driven on that route several times, but never appreciated the beauty of it as much as I did on that day.
I felt that God was so gracious to me, on my journey to nowhere. I was helped up, and loved by God, to whom I owed my life and purpose for living. The feelings of sadness, and dread of facing the coming days didn’t disappear. But the rest and food, and all that I saw and thought about, helped to readjust my perspective so that the weight of troubled thoughts and feelings would not be magnified out of proportion with reality.