“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.”
-Søren Kierkegaard
I have known despair; known her intimately.
I have wondered who I am, wondered why I am.
“Despair is a narcotic.  It lulls the mind into indifference.”
-Charlie Chaplin

We plodded on together, day after day becoming year after year.  It seemed despair and I would never part ways.  I wondered why God didn’t just wave a wand and fix me.  Depression took a significant toll on me and my relationships, but my therapist repeatedly assured me things would get better if I continued to do the work.  Eventually I dared to believe her, even when it didn’t seem possible she could be right.

But what we call our despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope.
-George Eliot

When I started to hope, that hurt, too.  If despair was a dull, constant ache; hope was a gut-wrenching stabbing pain.  I slowly began to understand the stark contrast between what I needed as a child and what I got created this level of destruction.  Determination to stop the cycle of anger and dysfunction to leave a better legacy for my own kids compelled me to keep going.  In the beginning I only did the work because of them.  I didn’t feel worthy of doing it for myself.

Life begins on the other side of despair.
-Jean-Paul Sartre

Gradually, I began to change.  My anger subsided, existing relationships improved, and life became enjoyable once more.  New, healthy relationships are evolving in my life and I am becoming free of my past.  Joy has shown her face again and I am embracing her with gratitude.   My kids will have a new legacy, and I found out I was worth the work, too.  God’s wand didn’t work the way I wanted it to, but His way brought me closer to Him and to others.  Once again, His way was best after all.

When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.”
-Dmitri Shostakovich
How about you?  Have you experienced despair?  Do you dare hope for something better?