I envision myself as a captain in my boat, looking ahead, studying my path, taking in the realities of what I am facing. Today is the start of my five consecutive working days. It seems doable. I know I can manage this. Then I look down and oh, I almost forgot. There’s Jesus sitting down in my boat looking up at me. He’s smiling, amused, as I am gearing into the action mode.
When J asked me last Monday if I could cover his Friday shift, my hesitation was pretty obvious. Because I only work 20 hours or less in a week, I think my co-workers easily assume that I can pick up more shifts, or that I would want more shifts. I don’t. I strongly feel against picking up more hours. To explain why is no easy job for me. I don’t drop my depression talk so casually. I know I won’t get a pass with that ticket. I know most won’t understand.
But it’s black friday and everyone is working except me and another co-worker. She can’t cover him, she told him already. So he’s left with me, and I am his last resort. It’s not like he wants to go partying or stay home with his parents. He needs to work his other job that his boss scheduled him for against his availability.
“He just put you in the schedule to see how you will react. I see.”
“Yea. So please, help me out. Please?”
After much thought, I agreed to cover him. “Ok, I’ll do it. You’re covered.” J thanked me deeply, and I knew he meant it. Honestly, I did want to help him out but I wanted to help myself out more than anything. I wanted to put myself to the test, to see if I am capable of doing this. I wanted to see how far I’ve come on my healing journey of depression. If I can work five days without crashing, that would mean that I am back to my healthy self; the power house, the energizer bunny, happy-go-lucky girl no matter what the circumstance is. And I will make this week a critical term. Once I pass this test, I will see myself in a different light.
Good signs are already here. I am not shattered by what I am facing ahead. I am okay with working the next five days without a day off in between. I am not dreading it, I almost look forward to it, just to get past this. Exactly one year ago, I was writing a letter to Mark, my boss, that I am going to resign my managing position to step down as a part-timer because of my depression. Even after resigning, and reducing my term, I barely made it through. In the end, I had to quit my job two months earlier than I planned. I left the island two weeks later and fled to my family’s care.
Has it really been a year? It’s been a long hard year, but not much harder than any other year. I just took it harder than it was, because my brain was not compatible. It just needed some healing, and I needed to learn some coping skills. I am far from being perfectly equipped for the war I face. But still, I declare a war to win me. I am ready to fight again. I’ve fought so many times. I’ve lost, too, but the win will come. The ultimate victory is already here, so what do I have to fear?
Few years ago, I went to Hawaii because of the quiet voice in my heart that said:
“Separate yourself from the world for a while. Separate yourself from the outer influences. Do not be shattered. Do not be shattered. Solitude. Solitude. Solitude.”
Today, I hear the same voice telling me the same thing again. And I don’t have to go as far away as Hawaii. I don’t have to run to the mountains or go into a cave. I can separate myself right here, right now. I can go to a place where the world cannot reach me. I am not shattered. I carry solitude within me. As long as I carry Jesus within me, in this boat that I am in, I am carrying solitude and all of the good things one can ever imagine.