Interruptions of Hope – Psalm 42 & 43
If you were to look at my life as an outsider, this is what you would probably see: an almost-29-year-old living in Nashville, loved by a truly doting and selfless husband, working her dream job [at home, in sweatpants!], with a wardrobe almost wholly supplied by a twin sister who works for Anthropologie’s headquarters.
If you were to come in a little further and step into my home, my safe place, this is what you would find: rooms bursting with Southern sunshine, an eclectic mix of West Elm furniture, thrift store finds, and a rather obsessive collection of [dying] plants. If you’re a close friend, you’d also see the messy side of our lives: the dishes crusted with two-day-old food, the dust bunnies in the corners, the hair on the bathroom floor (really, does it ever end?).
But if you were to peek into my heart, you would find something drastically different from my somewhat curated home and the ‘ideal’ circumstances I live in.
If you were to take up residence in my heart and head, here’s what you would find: a girl prone to depression; not just the kind of ‘down in the dumps’ feeling that thinks, “Man, I feel kind of down today.” No, it’s the kind of depression that keeps me in bed, with the curtains drawn, and an utterly crippling feeling of numbness and apathy toward life. For me, depression isn’t really ‘feeling sad.’ It’s more like ‘feeling nothing.’ I feel numb, hopeless, and utterly weak; all I want to do is sleep.
That’s why I love Psalm 42 and 43 so much, particularly the verse repeated three times, which says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
I love how David questions several times why in the world he’s downcast—especially when he has the glorious salvation of a loving God. I especially feel touched that David commands himself to hope in God, reminding himself that he will again praise his Lord—even if he is feeling despair within his soul. He interrupts his train of thought three times to remind himself to hope.
So often, during my bouts of depression, I can’t command myself to hope. My friends and family, and especially my husband, have to do it for me, and they do it so well. In fact, my friend Stacey dropped off their dog Gus, whom I love, to keep me company. One time, post college, my friend Rachel just sat with me on the telephone. I was in Holland, Michigan and she was in Naperville, Chicago, and there was complete silence on the phone. I was curled up in bed, and she sat there with me, over the telephone, for an hour, just comforting me with her presence.
It is only through the Lord’s sustaining grace and the love of my community that I am eventually able to tell myself, “Hope in God!” And when I am able to continually speak those words into my life, it’s like a burden of grief, exhaustion, and anxiety rolls off my back again, and again, and again.
Christina Vinson spent her childhood devouring books, and she vowed that when she grew up, she would read at the dinner table. After graduating from college, entering the corporate world, and getting married, Christina worked in higher education for a number of years, but decided to take the plunge into the world of freelance writing and hasn’t looked back since. Her days are spent writing for local magazines, creating website content, proofreading, and editing, all from her sunny home office where she spies on her neighbors and thanks God for the privilege of doing what she loves. In her free time, Christina relaxes by cutting cold butter into flour for currant scones, whipping cream for apple dumplings, going for walks, or, of course, wandering through the library. And every once in a while, she and her husband grab their separate books, open them up, and read at the dinner table.