I grew the moustache. I blogged a few times. I told anyone who asked about the #Movember movement. I told people the importance of men’s health. I told them how so many men either ignore or refuse help when they need it. I told them how important it was for men to take care of themselves to avoid unnecessary illness, to avoid premature death. I knew how to talk about this really well all month.
But I wasn’t listening. Not to a single word.
Here’s my Movember Confession: I have not been taking care of myself. I have not been doing the things I need to do to keep myself well. In fact, I have been in a pretty low place emotionally for quite some time now, and I just haven’t pulled myself out of it. I even canceled my last appointments with both my therapist and my spiritual director, and I haven’t rescheduled. I haven’t seen either of them in over a month.
When did it start? Well, maybe it’s connected to writing the manuscript of my book. For the first eight months of this year, I spent hours and hours reliving painful memories and writing about them. Turning them into what I thought were stories with artistic merit. Then in the beginning of September, I switched gears completely, and put so much of my hopes in the thought that it could be published. I researched publishers, prepared submissions, and to date I have submitted it to four publishers. I’ve heard from one of them so far, a rejection. Perhaps part of my mood is related to this unfinished business.
It could also have something to do with the politics of this year. Just when I thought things wouldn’t get nastier in America, I’m proven wrong. The midterm elections, the Kavanaugh appointment process, the migrant caravan, have all been so painful to me. It hurts me to know that people hate each other. It hurts me to be called a “libtard.” And my faith has been affected by this as well. It hurts me to see people of Christian faith who are completely convinced that their faith calls them to support a certain policy, and people of Christian faith who are equally convinced that their faith calls them to condemn that same policy. It hurts me to hear people on both sides saying that “you can’t call yourself Christian if you…” And it makes me wonder what the point of having faith is. If faith can lead you to being the leftiest liberal, and the same faith can lead you to being the rightiest conservative, then what purpose does it serve? And is Christ really where any of us truly owe our allegiance, or is it to a particular partisan politic?
Or did it start back in the spring, with our back-to-back multi-day power outages? I did not handle them well. I was an emotional wreck through them, and I wonder if I never fully recovered or processed what was really a trauma to me.
Well, wherever it started, it’s been a bad year for me emotionally. Depression’s got me by the throat, and even writing this is very difficult, knowing that you will read it. But I think it’s important that I write it. And I know that now I’ve written it, I have to do something about it. Perhaps that means I need to make those appointments. Perhaps it means it’s time to get back on the wagon with walking and praying. Perhaps the fact that Advent is starting in three days, a new church year, might be just the right moment to start looking for some hope. Start doing the things I know I need to do to find that hope.
I’m growing my beard back for December. Movember is over, but hope is on the way — I hope.