NOTE: This post is a little heavy on the depression and also a little judgmental. I say that not to pique your interest, but rather to warn you about how you might feel after you read this post. If you choose not to read, that’s just fine, but know that this post doesn’t really have a happy ending. One post in the future will have that happy ending, just not this one.
HERE BEGINS THE REAL POST.
It’s been two months now since I lost my job. Hard to believe, I know, but the shock of it has finally worn off, the exuberance of hope has dulled and the hard truth of reality has set in. Now, the hard truth just kind of presses on my spirit constantly, ready at any moment to simply press me into oblivion. As my dad calls it, I’ve reached “the slogging phase.” Slogging seems like an appropriate word.
Oh sure, this story will have a happy ending, where I summon the remainder of my strength and push back on the hard truth, just in time to save myself and everyone with me. But, just like in all good stories, the hero is trapped, with seemingly no way out and it appears that evil is about to triumph. That’s the stage that I’m in right now and I can tell you exactly where I hit rock bottom. That place is The Bishop’s Storehouse.
For those of you who don’t know (or who aren’t LDS) the Bishop’s Storehouse is a wonderful (and I mean that in the truest sense of the word) place where people who are down on their luck can come and get food, clothing, and other essentials, completely for free and with no obligation towards joining the church, listening to the missionaries or paying it back. It’s true Christian welfare at it’s finest and it’s available to all, regardless of religious affiliation or persuasion. It’s helped countless numbers of people and, in many ways, is the perfect example of what our Savior would do.
With all that said, I decided to take up the offer given to me by my Bishop to go to the storehouse and get whatever we needed. He wanted, genuinely, to help us and my pride, which has been beaten to a pulp, could not refuse a true offer of kindness from someone who wanted to help. So, the wheels were set in motion for our visit to the storehouse.
The way it works is that a member of the Relief Society (that’s the women’s organization of the church) comes to our house and helps fill out a food order. On the food order, there are a number of items available–everything from canned veggies to frozen meat–and you can have as much of it as you want. So, we ordered a ton of stuff, mostly canned and dry goods, to help us stretch the little money we do have left a little further. The order was approved and on Saturday, we went to the Bishop’s Storehouse.
Upon entering the Bishop’s storehouse, I was struck by how small, yet how efficient it was. It’s much like a grocery store, with about five isles of stuff, but there are no frivolous or high-end items. It’s just the essentials, and nothing else. Truth be told, that’s what it should be, but I was still amazed by the efficiency of the operation. And, at first, things were just fine. But as we made our way through the isles and I found that they didn’t have many of the things that we had put on our form, and even less variety, I started to bottom out a little. When we got to the fresh vegetables and found only onions and green peppers, my heart started to sink even more and when I saw that the frozen meat was a little dicey, I really started to freak out.
At that point, I looked up and took a good look at the people that were in the storehouse. This is when I lost it. (And here comes the judgmental part.) These people were not what you would call of high caliber. You could tell by their tattered clothes and general manner that these were people who were used to struggling. For them, a difficult lifestyle was all they had ever known, and I’m certain that many of their choices had only exacerbated their problems. For example, I remember one gentleman in a black hoodie with a lip ring who smelled of stale cigarettes and cheap beer looking directly at me. He had an odd expression on his face that seemed to betray the fact he was surprised to see someone like me there. We locked eyes for a moment and then he moved on, but at that point, I realized that, just like in the story, the wall was closing in and evil was about to triumph. So, I had a choice–I could give up and succumb to depression, or, as my facebook status says, I could try harder to spring hope from the prison of depression. I decided that I had to try the latter.
It’s Monday now, and I’ve tried to keep my spirits up over the last two days, and more specifically, I’ve tried hard to banish the thoughts of “woe is me” and “the world is out to get me” and, even worse “God is punishing me.” It’s not easy to banish these thoughts and I really wish it were as easy as casting a spell, or drawing a sword to slay a few enemies. But I think where the truth in those stories lie is in the fact that many of those demons and bad guys represent real demons in our own lives (forgive the cliche) and the reason we respond the stories (or the reason I do anyway) is because on some level, I believe I can conquer those demons. And even though everything seems bleak right now, I have no choice but to try. Besides, my mom keeps telling me that “life rewards effort” and unless I make that effort and try, of course evil will win.
Angela tells me all the time that what happened to me wasn’t my fault. No one could have seen it coming and sometimes bad things happen. The only thing we have control over is how we react. For me, I think I reacted badly and even a bit naively. Now, I’m going to try acting a little wiser and a little more positively. After all, the hero does have to win the day at some point.