Darkness is, to a large extent, best known by those who have been there. Here are words of depression, anger, exhaustion, sadness, confusion, despair. (Here is an image.) If you have never been here, you are lucky. If you have never been cut off from the experience of joy, you probably can't understand the emptiness that so many live in, day after day, month after month, year after year. If you have never experienced injustice, or have never suffered for being "too sensitive," then thank God and pray that you'll never know the rage of the "victim."

The cycle begins....


I'm running so low on the fuel tank of life
It takes plugging into music to keep me moving....
The borrowed energy/emotion flows like IV solution
The music's beat substitutes for exhausted heart
...I only dread when tired mind makes me turn it off
leaving emptiness.

Depression is...

...when listening to joyful music stirs only the faintest memory of what joy is like. The memory comes back faintly of the immersion of joy that accompanied the song, the joy that, in fact, was the source of the song, the expression of the song, the experience of the song. This memory of joy glints momentarily, a reflection of a reflection of a distant reflection, and is then swallowed up in the overwhelming darkness.

...and finally, with the passage of time, there is no glimmer of memory, and joy rings hollowly, emptily, through the dark spaces where light cannot reach. Joy itself is forgotten, lost. The song becomes meaningless, a bunch of words and notes put together in a nonsensical, ridiculous way.

All of life is like that. Pointless, repetitive, wearying.


...The easy way, perhaps, out of really loving others as you love yourself is to hate yourself. Then you can, in truth, love others as you love yourself. He who does not feel the need to strive for his own salvation can hardly muster the will to strive for others'.


...Why is the world so harsh? Why must suffering be a component of growth? Why must evil be the easy way, and good be so terrible? Is God so sadistic? Does God, as the accusers say, necessarily contain evil?

It's enough to make someone just want to end.


What is Holiness? What does it mean, really, to be kind and just, selfless, giving, peaceful, self-controlled?

What is peaceful? Must it be the dull peace of daily routine spent in organized silence and disciplined prayer? Is there room for laughter, spontaneous activity, and excitement, and fun? The fundamentalists would have us forsake such things.

What is giving? Is it as they say, when we care more for others so much so that we don't care what happen to ourselves? Yet ... is it right for a man with dependents to knowingly risk his life to help a stranger?

What is obedience? Is it mindless slavishness to a dictator who may or may not be wiser than you? Is this not what Paul advised to women and slaves?

What is curiosity for? ...the angels say that they do not ask "why"; they are content to do. Why has it suddenly become wrong or inappropriate to ask why? Aren't those who never question anything surely as dead as mindless machines?...

(...)Thus are saints born: they never complain (to God, anyway), they accept their misfortunes, and they learn to be happy in their suffering.

Isn't this how sufferings are prolonged and increased, because people would not fight them? A nation full of suffering saints, ground willingly under the heel of oppression, their dying breath a praise to God? Is this right? "Don't worry, either you will break under torture, or you will rise a saint." Is that God's way?

How can you enter those states of belief? How do you know which ones are right? It is too easy to be brain-washed into thinking that something is correct, only to later discover it was a terrible trap that would have, in the long run, crushed and destroyed the spirit.

Circle of Hell

Hounded by questions for which there are no answers.
Imagined replies to prayers rushing about in patronizing
circles: It's your fault. You should learn to obey. You should
learn to like what you hate. God wants you to suffer, and
you have to learn to like it, or else you are doomed.
You're running around in mental circles because
you are disobedient
to God.
If only you were really selfless, and really caring, and
really good, you would not be in this state,
hearing these patronizing thoughts,
being driven nuts
to the point of distraction.
Get up and do the will of God.
Stop acting like a child.
No wonder you're not getting anywhere.
No, this isn't patronizing. You just think
it is because you're being defensive.
You're just not humble enough.
And see! Your prayers are doing no good....


Serves the whole (expletive) world right if we (expletive) destroy ourselves. We damn well deserve it! It would serve us right! (Expletive) piece of (expletive) world. Stupid bunch of (expletive) morons running around (expletive) things up! Look at the crap that goes on. Get rid of it all!

(All said with a certain satisfaction in looking around and seeing just how screwed up everything is. Matches perfectly current mood, brought about by apparent inanity of others and/or disappointment in oneself. The whole world is just so irritating that only destroying it seems to bring any satisfaction. If one is destroyed along with it, who cares? It would be only fair.)

Helpless Rage

So what do you do when everything hurts and you wish you have pyrokinetic powers just so you could blow things up and destroy the world, but of course you can't and your inertial conscience tells you not to? What? "Let the attacks slide off"? "Count to 10"? "Work out your frustration via exercise"? Get real!

So instead you sit there and stew, because you can't shake it off, and you've counted to 10 probably a hundred times already, and you absolutely hate exercise and want to kill anyone who patronizingly tells you to. You've even tried praying, but that doesn't seem to help. They say that at any moment you can choose to be happy, but you can't. So what do you do? You wait until the oblivion of sleep drags everything into the subconscious, so you can start the next day fresh and hopeful on the surface, with secret new darkness injected somewhere familiar deep down, waiting silently for the day when the safety valves of conscience finally break under pressure and you can really go mad and finally do what you've always wanted to do. In fact, you hope that day comes soon.

Cynicism, Apathy, Blasphemy

...and of course you realize that most everyone has had their own troubles (though some people still seem totally blind to reality, and some lucky few never seem to have any real problems). "Isn't everyone walking around with a hidden burden of pain?" Next logical conclusion, "Why can't we open up and help each other?"

And the next obvious answer is: "Haven't you tried? Haven't you been run over by morons who don't give a rat's ass about the pain they cause, or who are so blind they couldn't see others' pain if it sat up and slapped them back? Haven't you yourself inadvertently (or maybe quite deliberately) hurt others? Hypocrite! Don't be ridiculous! This is part of the human condition. Life sucks; get used to it!"

So, why bother? Why bother? No one around you seems to ever improve. Your own life seems to be moving in endless repetitive circles of destruction. Maybe prayer and faith have turned a lucky few's lives around (I mean, they testify about this in every issue of Reader's Digest, don't they?), but your own life? Hah!

Why did God inflict this curse of life on us anyway?

...and back to exhaustion...

...I'll float back up out of rage to a neutral position again sometime. Maybe feel some hope again, forget some of my woes, forget what rage feels like, remember a little happiness, but then the next storm will hit, and I will sink again and forget joy. And then, inexplicably, I will slowly make my way up again until the next storm. They tell me I should fly out of storms, but that's easy enough to say, and I can't figure out how to do it, and no one will teach me.

I'm tired. Tired of going through the cycle of light to dark to light and back; tired of the shades of gray, tired of rage and joy and up and down and fighting, fighting, fighting; tired of forgetting what it's like anywhere else, tired of remembering when I get there, tired of being tired and most of all, tired of not being able to do anything about it all - and then being told that it's all my fault because of my negative attitude.

(Expletive deleted)

There are darker realms than these, where self-destruction turns to vindictive hatred of everything and everyone. Where revenge and hatred against all looms up as the last great goal of life, and beyond that thick wall of rage, the last barrier, lies the immense emptiness of uncaring apathy, dissolution, and death: the deepest abyss.

If you have never glimpsed it, or have forgotten the terribleness of that view, how can you even think to judge those who have lashed out against others, or themselves, in a seemingly mad act of violence or destructiveness? Have you seen the vast pain hidden behind the rage? Or have you felt the oppressive weight of depression blocking out the very concept of joy? Have you experienced the immense exhaustion of living in a cold emptiness where warmth and life are slowly sucked away, leaving nothing but despair? Have you been so depressed that even if someone showed you a doorway out, you might not have the will or energy left to step through? Have you been so frightened that you could not trust a single person, a single voice, or even a single thought, and so stood paralyzed in fear, unable to move, to act? So sad and in pain that rage, hatred, joy, happiness, grief, pleasure, and pain all seem to be one terrible whole whose only exit is utter destruction? There are other states of misery, of variation untold!

The difficult task is not to judge, but to help. Not to condemn, but to reach out. Not to patronize and lecture, but to seek out and support, to listen, to understand. And not the least, to remind ... there is Light that is apart from the darkness, which does not judge, does not condemn, does not patronize and lecture, and in which mistakes are forgiven, wounds are healed, and once-forgotten joy can be rediscovered and understood again.

Postscript: To seek to help those in darkness, one must be willing to be hurt by the anger and sorrow of those who are in pain. There is no way to help without being hurt ... and there is no way to help without the courage to keep caring anyway, despite the hurt.

And finally, I would like to offer one possible antidote to the fear/threat of eternal damnation and eternal worthlessness. When I feel overwhelmed by my own sinful and hurtful nature, when I have struggled with a horrific personal flaw but it just won't go away, when I have looked at my own actions and see that I am unable to take the "high moral path" and I despair of God's mercy (because I am clearly unrepentant), sometimes I say this: "Screw it. I'm going to try to do good anyway. I'll do what I can, as flawed as it is, and if I'm damned for being a terrible sinner, if God is going to condemn me for my unrepented sins, if I'm going to have a nasty life review because it turns out I did everything selfishly for my own glory... oh well!! I'm going to do what I can anyway because... that's all I can do! I don't care about the outcome; I'm going to try anyway."