Tag Archives: Yesterday

Under Blood Red Skies

This morning, despite a problem with my hip, which I will explain in another post, I managed to get out walking again this morning, no inner arguments or excuses, today marks a new start and a new season, so it was time to get walking again, spending time with God and it was a great walk, I came home with numerous ideas for posts I would like to draft, so over the next week hopefully I can get to them.

There wasn’t a great sunrise this morning, but the rising sun did turn the clouds a deep red, at times blood red and at others a fiery red.

Under Blood Red Skies

Under Blood Red Skies

When I looked at the skies I was reminded of two verses, firstly from Matthew 16.

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.  (Matthew 16:2-3)

Where Jesus has been asked by the Pharisee for a sign from heaven, he talks about the saying which we are all taught at young age, although I know it as…

Red sky at night shepherds delight, red sky in the morning shepherds warning.

But having said that most of the time I find this to be wrong, I have many times walked under red morning skies and found the day to turn out to be great.  When I walked under this sky this morning, I was as far away from the lake as I could be on my walk and wished I had been at the lake to capture the reflection of the clouds upon the lake too.  That started my thinking about a story from the Old Testament that has always intrigued me, this time the signs were definitely interpreted incorrectly.

Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man,
young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border.22 When they
got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the
way, the water looked red—like blood. 23 “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have
fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”24 But when the Moabites
came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And
the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites.  (2 Kings 3:21-24)

The Moabites just got it wrong, they simply saw the reflection in the water and saw what they wanted to see, not the reality of the situation, they simply saw the sky in the water and jumped to the completely wrong conclusion and this lead to their destruction.

By this time my mind was thinking back to a number of things from last weekend, starting with my poem, Faded Mirror.

FADED MIRROR

I’ve been looking in the faded mirror
The face I see I do not like
I don’t see the one You see

When I see ugly
You see only beauty

When I feel old
You call me child

When I feel alone
Your arm reaches around me

When I see failure
You proclaim my victory

When my scars begin to show
You wipe away my guilt

Forget that old faded mirror
Who I see is not who I’m made to be
Because You created me for greater things

I wrote this partly out of how I have been feeling at times over the last year, but mainly out of deep memories of some of the lowest moments of my life, the times when I looked deep into the mirror and saw only a life not worth living.

As an addict looking back, I guess you never really see the signs of who you are at the time, they’re easy to see now, but when you’re deep in this cycle, while your addiction does everything it can to hide it from those around you, it hides itself from you also.

But there were moments of strange clarity, painful clarity, when you knew who you were, but had no control of how to free yourself.  For me these moments came on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons, when I was alone in the house and was forced to stay sober as I had karate later.  I never drank before karate, maybe one pint or so, but never so I couldn’t carry out my duties, I drank after karate, but somehow this was the only thing I really kept sober for.

But being alone in the house brought out my most sinful nature, then I would go to get ready for karate, probably take a bath, but whatever would find myself in the bathroom, facing into the mirror with a penknife in my hand, questioning why I existed at all.

At those moments of sinful guilt, so many thoughts of how I was just a wreck of human being and not worthy of a place on earth, dark thoughts ran through my head, telling me it was time I just ended it all.

EVERYONE WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF I WAS DEAD!

I’M JUST THROWING EVERYTHING AWAY, I’M NOT WORTH IT ANYMORE!

I’M JUST A WASTE OF A LIFE!

IF I’M DEAD THE SYSTEM WILL PROVIDE FOR THEM, BECAUSE I CAN’T ANYMORE!

And so on and so on….

These dark thoughts ran through my head over and over again, there was no light only darkness and death of a life not worth living anymore.

But as the tears fell, there came just one thought that put an end to it all…

“THINK OF YOUR CHILDREN, THEY’RE BETTER OFF WITH YOU AS YOU ARE,
THAN LIVING WITH THE MEMORY OF WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO FIND IF YOU DO THIS!”

Then I knew that my daughter, who then would only be about five or six when all this was happening, would probably be the first person to run up the stairs to look for me, she would find me in the laid in a bath of my own blood.  Oh yes, I had planned it all, cut the wrists, then get in the bath and just wait to die.

But this one thought that I still had two little people that needed me, even like this, broken me, I put down the knife and turned away from the mirror, darkness lifted for a while, until the next time that is, oh yes, there were plenty of next times, but every time the same process, alone, sober, the knife, the darkness, the dark thoughts, then the “think of the kids”, the same cycle every time.

But the worst feeling then was the feeling of nothingness that followed, the hatred for oneself, the self loathing, the limbo I found I was in.

I WAS TOO MUCH OF A COWARD TO LIVE AND TOO MUCH OF A COWARD TO DIE!

I hated that feeling, it hurt, it was painful, it was as though I didn’t belong anywhere anymore.

Somehow I always managed to get in the bath, wash away those feelings for a while and go and do what I needed to do at karate, then afterwards ply myself with as much alcohol as I could.

The last time this happened was the day before I started this journey, the day before I called Gareth and put in place the changes in this life that would see me find God, stop drinking and start a journey I never thought I would ever take.

In that mirror, the reflection I was seeing was a lie, a deception, the darkness was telling me I wasn’t worth it, those voices in my head lied to me, now I know what was happening each and every time.

Over all the dark thoughts that wanted my death, a single voice shouted louder, a whisper in the ear which was heard within the heart not just in the head, a whisper from God saying hang on, there is a life worth leading here, just hang on.

Last weekend a friend from Church, who descended into a depression around the same time as I did last year, discussed how this depression brought him to attempt to take his own life, to cut his wrists, he said to everyone that maybe they wouldn’t understand, but he felt God was holding his wrists, keeping him safe.  Maybe many couldn’t comprehend that, but I could, because I now know that I could never get my hands to move in those moments, I know now that my wrists were being held safe too, I know God held my wrists and whispered in my ear, He did this for me and I didn’t even know Him back then, but He did it anyway.

It seems that like those Moabites, who saw a reflection that deceived them to their death, I saw a reflection that deceived me, I didn’t see what God saw, I saw a life not worth living, He saw one with a great future, I saw a life that was waste to the world, He saw a life that was needed by others.

That day, when I last found myself with that knife in my hand, facing the deception in the mirror, I gave that knife away, I left it on Victoria’s beside table, with a note saying “I don’t need this anymore”.  Though this last time was painful, I felt that nothingness of a life in limbo, afraid to live and afraid to die, I knew that this time it was different, I didn’t know then I was going to call Gareth the next morning, I had asked Victoria to ask if I could speak to him, but I didn’t know what was going to happen, even if I had his number, I doubted I had the strength to actually call him, all I knew was that this cycle wasn’t going to happen again, it couldn’t, this time I thought….

If I couldn’t kill myself, then maybe it’s time to start living.

But that said, when I fell into a depression last year, I had moments, bad moments, moments when death seemed better than living.

At my lowest moments, I didn’t want to go upstairs into the bathroom and cut my wrists, no I saw myself, carving words into my arms, I always saw myself cutting the words “I WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH” deep into my arms, yet once again, as the vision played out, the thought that once again, my young daughter would be the one to look and find me, shut down this thought process, for a while at least, until the next time anyway.

Through November and December, I had trouble sleeping, I just couldn’t sleep, I would lie in bed, pleading with God, not praying, pleading with God not to let me wake up in the morning.  If this was life, I didn’t want to live it.  I wanted Him to take me to heaven now, because I felt nothing here on earth.  Night after night I pleaded to fall into a sleep I would never awake from, because I felt so empty.

I don’t think I have ever told this to anyone, not even my Connect Group or my closest friends at Church, I guess I am ashamed of this memory, ashamed that after everything the Father did for me, I was letting Him down.

He warned me I would fall, He showed me that in a vision, then He showed me that I shouldn’t run away from Him either.  Although I never ran away, I did doubt Him, I argued with Him, I fought Him, I ignored Him, I let Him down, yet He never left my side.

Someday’s I still look in the mirror and feel I’m still “NOT ENOUGH”, but I guess that we all feel that sometimes, I let the mirror deceive me still.

But something changed this weekend.

This time last year, I started my descent into depression, it pretty much started on the week before I went to our Church’s Unleash Men’s Getaway, there I realised I was falling and got the vision of being swallowed by a whale, God was telling me not to runaway, there I began the process of discussing how I was feeling with friends, so I had support as I walked into the deluge that was to wash me away over and over again.

This weekend saw this year’s Unleash Getaway, but this year over the weekend I got the overwhelming feeling that God was telling me, that what started here on this weekend last year, ends this year, my sins are forgotten, the battle, the struggle is over, now it’s time to start walking with Him again.

Which is why, despite the hip pain, I was determined to start walking again this morning and I loved every second of it, the pain faded as I walked in the presence of God.

 YESTERDAY by MAINSTAY
Watch my mind grow legs and wander
What did I expect to find out here, out here?

I am only halfway here tonight
Say that You can take this off of my mind
Every time I go back I realize
That yesterday is never as good as it seems

I’m lost in the feelings that I thought were gone
Come in and make all of their light fade out, it fades out

I am only halfway here tonight
Say that You can take this off of my mind
Every time I go back I realize
That yesterday is never as good as it seems

Oh, make their light fade out
Oh, make their light fade out

I am only halfway here tonight
Say that You can take this off of my mind
Every time I go back I realize
That yesterday is never as good as it seems
Yesterday is never as good as it seems