At the Bottom

Here I am at the bottom again. Depression moves in swirls and waves most of the time and each day I dodge the waves and try to ride the swirls. If I could learn to recognize when I’m caught in a wave, I might be able to see more swirls. But in the wave, the swirls seem unreal. The good things that are swirls seem small and insignificant- fake even.

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First comes that pleading to God to help me- straighten me out- get me back on track. Then comes the self-loathing. “I used to be better than this.” And the worry. “How do I get out of this?” All the while the riptide is shredding and shredding each piece of me.

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Finally, I am at the bottom, the muck and the weeds surrounding me, and it’s an odd place. At the bottom, I can’t see the swirls or the waves. It’s just me stuck in the quicksand and having to deal with it.

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At the bottom I am like a lump. There is nothing redeeming about me. I have accomplished nothing. That being- that person -I used to be with the self confidence and nice clothes and polished up social skills isn’t me at the bottom. She is just a figment – a has-been. Some would call this a crisis, but it’s bigger than that. It’s a nothingness.

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As a lump I should have no feelings of inadequacy- no regret- no falseness, because I am only clay. I don’t look like anything, I have no expectations, because at the bottom you can only see the bottom.

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Yes, ripped up in those waves that came before, there were mistakes that put me on the bottom, a wrong decision, a bad medicine combo, a relentless negative narrative that tells me I don’t deserve anything. A heartless barrage of should and musts that are never met.

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After days, hours, minutes at the bottom I spot a tiny little swirl. Is it an opportunity? Because I am this lump, could I be formed into something different- maybe not even something better which is what the world would expect from one on the bottom, but something different? Surely that would take a lot of work, because I am at the bottom. And how does that work even begin?

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“So I went down to the potter’s shop and found him making something on his wheel. And as I watched, the clay vessel in his hands became flawed and unusable. So, the potter started again with the same clay. He crushed and squeezed and shaped it into another vessel that was to his liking. In that moment again I heard God’s word for his rebellious people. Oh, people of Israel can I not do the same to you as this potter has done? You are like clay in my hands- I will mold you as I see fit.” Jeremiah 3-6

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The potter started “with the same clay.” He didn’t throw it away and get some good fresh stuff, some brand-new baby straight from the womb to start a life free from regret and shame and mistakes.

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Is the work to turn the clay into something “Of his liking” the job of the clay? Is the clay expected to fashion itself into a beautiful vase or statue of magnificence? No, the work begins with the potter and the clay just has to allow itself to be transformed.

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I see the swirl- the opportunity- to allow God to do something with me to His liking. I could take my lumpy arms and start to etch out a nice big long “To Do” list of what it will take for me to be that woman I was- or to be different from her. But I won’t. Not today, sitting at the bottom, I trust the Potter. I trust God to make me to his liking- what could be better than to be admired by God?

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So, my prayer is for Him to take full control of my life. I will again ride the swirls, but in a way that God sees me riding them. I will still be crashed by waves, but God will use them to shape me to His liking.

My job is to be the clay.