Hitting the Trail—Part 1

(c) 2010 by Patricia R. Henschen

Flowers require darkness as well as light to blossom.

“…without darkness
Nothing comes to birth,
As without light
Nothing flowers.”

–Excerpt, “The Invocation to Kali,” by May Sarton

Remember that classic Bill Cosby comedy routine where God calls upon Noah to build an ark? The conversation, paraphrased, goes something like this:

God:     Noah.

Noah:     Huh?

G:     Noah.

N:      Who is that?

G:     It’s the Lord.

N:     [Pause] Riiight!

G:     Noah.

N:     What you want?

G:     I want you to build an ark.

N:     Uh-huh. [Pause] What’s an ark?

And so forth. Noah, after way too many questions, doubts, gripes, and “Riiights!”, finally goes ahead and builds it.

I had a similar conversation with God in December of 1999. It went something like this:

God:     Patricia.

Me:     Huh?

G:     Patricia.

Me:     Uh, yeah? What do you want? (I already knew who it was, having gotten in the habit of conversing with God a few years prior—although talking way more than I listened.)

G:         I want you to write a book.

Me:      Oh, cool. You know I’ve always wanted to be a writer! What kind of book?

G:        I want you to write a book on depression.

Me:     Dep—what? But I don’t know anything about depression. Why depression?

G:        Because it’s needed.

Me:     Huh. Well, I suppose I could do some research. . ..

Back to Cosby’s skit. After one of Noah’s attempts at avoidance, God replies: “How long can you tread water? Hahahahahaha!” I never knew God could be so snarky.

Back to my, er, invitation from God:

G:        Patricia.

Me:     Huh?

G:        You won’t need to do any research. The writing will come naturally, based on your experience. Hahahahahaha!

At least, that’s how I think it went. Fortunately, I had already tuned out the conversation by this time and didn’t “hear” the last line. If I had, I would have said, “Riiight!” I conveniently filed the topic under “Possible But Improbable Things to Do in My Lifetime,” and went about my clueless way.

Fast forward nearly two years: I am newly diagnosed with recurrent major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder; and am taking antidepressants and already experiencing the inevitable weight gain. The 12 months ending in November, 2001 would have given Job a run for his shekels: The ending of a significant relationship, my father in the hospital, deaths of two loved ones, unbelievable financial stress in my business leading to bankruptcy, a stressful new job, a cracked molar leading to a root canal and a crown, a protracted, severe illness on the part of my dog that required medication costing $310/month, being assaulted in a park while walking said dog, a car accident that totaled my Nissan Pathfinder¼. There wasn’t much on the Top 10 Causes of Stress list (any such list—take your pick) that I didn’t experience that year.

Next time: “Hitting the Trail—Part 2.”

(c) 2010 by Patricia R. Henschen

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