catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 4, Num 13 :: 2005.07.01 — 2005.07.14


In need of repair

The ceiling in our living room had a hole in it. The problem began as some slight stains but soon we discovered that whenever there was a rainstorm with winds from the east, water would run along a slat and drip though the plaster. We tried to find the leak under the eaves, in the roof by a dormer and often we thought we had it beaten, but with the next rain, water would appear again. Eventually, a large chunk of plaster, a bit bigger than a pizza, fell onto our couch and we had a major blemish on our living room ceiling.

We had this hole in the ceiling for quite some time, years actually. It was just part of the character of an older home. It was also a problem of a lack of cash to fix the roof properly and there was no sense in repairing the ceiling if the underlying problem was not dealt with. Several summers ago we did finally put on a new roof and replaced the windows in our upstairs. That was when we discovered a gaping hole in the windowsill of one of the dormers. We had our cause. But just to be careful we waited a full year of storms and melting snows to be sure there were no more leaks.

Then, finally, a friend who was also a craftsman undertook the task to replace the full ceiling in the living room. He was going to try to replicate the coving and plaster design that had been damaged by the water. He wasn?t able to do it exactly but in the end, after a few weeks of dealing with living room furniture in odd places and a lot of dust, we had a beautiful, complete ceiling again. We painted the room a new color, which we like better than the old shade. We started enjoying the same room in the same house but with new and positive changes. It took some time but it was worth the wait.

A few years ago, I discovered that I was in need of some major repair too. Much like the hole that developed in our living room after neglecting a leak for a long time, I had a problem that I was not even aware of?a problem that probably shadowed me for most of my adult life, but that I had kept hidden from others and myself with hard work and perseverance. That fall, my defenses couldn?t deal with it anymore. I never felt rested and yet I rarely slept. I had a good family and solid marriage but I felt as if nothing was right. I went to school faced my kindergarten classes everyday, but found no joy and felt the task to be more and more of a burden. I soldiered on bravely until in December, my body would not listen to the tyrant in my mind and I broke. The tears that flowed so easily all fall wouldn?t stop one night. I was too tired to even do stairs without concentrating on placing one foot after another. The experienced educator who used to balance a class, church committees and family obligations with out batting an eye, couldn?t even hold a book and finish reading a story to her students. After some patient counseling by my doctor I came to realize that I had been battling depression for a very long time and that I just could not carry on anymore. I had to give in, rest and let my mind and body heal.

This process was more time consuming and more difficult than I ever imagined it would be. Just stopping is just stopping. Healing involved a long process of letting my body, my intellect, my spirit?all of me work together to put the pieces back together. I never knew how integrated our mind, body and soul are. If I had a good sleep, I could walk in the sunshine and that would ease the darkness in my mind. After a deeply moving meditation on the Scriptures, I would be able to cry and then the tense muscles in my back and neck would relax. Over and over I saw how a change in one small area of my life caused ripples of change throughout my whole life. Through a slow process of medication, rest, counseling, laughter, tears, prayer and study and patience from my family and friends, the emotional darkness eased, the physical strain left and sunshine and joy came back to my life.

I learned many hard lessons during that time but as my doctor predicted, I am a better person on the other side. Looking back on all the things I learned, I think that the heart of the matter is that being with God is as important as doing things. Meditation and study need to go hand in hand with hard work and planning. God has things for us to do but not all of them involved frantic action. Many of them involved quietly enjoying his goodness through music, through nature, through artwork, through studying His word and through the blessings of fellowship with others. In Psalm 46 we are commanded to ?Be still and know that I am God? even in the midst of troubles, battles and important distractions. Finding Him leads the way to finding yourself completely.

The darkness and fatigue in my soul are gone and a true smile is back on my face and in my heart. God has been faithful. I am like my living room: the same personality in the same body but with some positive changes after some hard times of decay and repair.

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