Ever since the initial exhilaration of living someplace new wore off, I have found myself rather depressed in West Virginia. It is just so green here. I cannot even see a slice of sky from my window, only walls of green from trees rising up the side of a mountain. Being green probably sounds wonderful, but to me, green is the heaviest color- dense, dark and difficult to digest, like a solid stick of butter with no bread. Heavy things, things that are difficult and thick with no bubbles, have always been my weak point in life.
In New Hampshire, the conversations I would overhear, tended to revolve around movies, restaurants, politics… airy, impersonal things. Here, it is mostly thick and sticky gossip, or else ironing out the details of Jesus’s Millenial Reign. Football, faith, and family are all that really matter here, and it isn’t clear to me how I can be a relevant part of that picture. Plus, I miss the ocean.
So, about every 36 hours I get so depressed that I can neither move nor stop crying, which will provoke James to drive me out to one of my favorite parking lots (yesterday it was Walmart). I tell him what I am feeling, and invariably he shows me a new way of looking at the situation, which causes the depression to evaporate almost instantaneously, giving me the energy to get out of the car and explore all of the parking lot’s interesting nooks and crannies. It is strange, how quickly even the heaviest feelings can change in response to seeing things in a different light.
Which has really underscored for me how much our feelings reflect our thoughts. And our thoughts- these seem to reflect something even more rarified, which I would call our spiritual perspective, our core beliefs about life. What is life? What is its purpose? Is it guiding me? Is it forever? Does it want the same things for me that I want for myself? And so on and so forth. Mostly we go through life answering these questions only subconsciously, but still our conclusions form the basis for all our other thinking.
But how can we know the true nature of life? It isn’t really something which can be determined by our intellect. But I think we have faculties which go beyond our intellectual, emotional, and physical ones, even if these faculties are not always acknowledged by our society. On some level, we KNOW what life is, and we KNOW who we really are. But too much confusing feedback from the world can cause us to doubt this part of ourselves who knows.
There is, I think, a golden sun in the center of the universe, whose light feeds our minds with truths about life and our place in it. If we shut our eyes to this sun, the world grows dark and confused. We strain our minds, trying to find reasons to feel good about ourselves, we strain our emotions, trying to stimulate them towards happiness, and we strain our resources, burning through them to fill the emptiness.
If I had to name this sun, I would call it The Future. In a way, I think our most important spiritual belief may be the idea that we are immortal beings living in eternity. Without this, the future can never truly be bright, and without a bright future, happiness is impossible. Without eternity, there is no true love, no true meaning, and no true growth. Without eternity, there is no reason to believe that the universe loves us or that we have much value at all. But with an infinite future, all set-backs are temporary and all gains have infinite value. Relationships take on a new dimension, and we can set the most lofty and profound goals for ourselves. If I could change one thing about our culture, I would change our belief in impermanence to a belief in forever, because I think this would cause us to honor the golden things that really matter. And on a personal level, I wish I could regain the feeling of timelessness I knew as a child. Because when time ends, peace begins.