I can't say as I actually understand the depths of human sadness. I used to think so, and today reflecting on those days, I don't really know what took me there and why.
I think depression is an easy place to get to. It reminds me of my cannon post a couple of months ago, that our minds take us places even without us as willing participants. That is, we take the journey of each step willingly, but we don't have the map as to where we're heading and if we've never travelled that way before, its easy to end up in a place we didn't even know existed, let alone want to visit...or move to.
All that to say that there was a time that I might have been depressed. Maybe I should ask Mom or Dad about it. Maybe they have insight. I didn't know what it was then. I thought it was realism.
I read a really good book about 1991 or 1992. Inside Out by Larry Crabb. You may recognize the title. It was really good and realistic. I'm not knocking the book. For a guy like me though who was reading and not discussing or having any real human connections with regard to life at that point, not even really knowing that that was healthy, it became a little dangerous. What it left me with was a sense of self-loathing. I was sinful, my whole life was tainted by selfishness and motives based on my Calvinistic sense of total depravity. (Today, Calvin speaks to me more in a comic book with his pet tiger than he does in "The Five Points".)
At the same time, my mind was also being filled with Christians who were tainted by sadness for the first time. Before this, the first 20 years of my life, Christians were only sad at funerals, or, they used to be sad, but now they had Jesus. That was my impression, not the law, not what I was taught, maybe it was the sheltered Bible-belt upbringing, I don't know and I don't really knock it, I just was surprised that Christians were getting divorced, feeling lonely, getting angry with God, feeling tired and like their finances were ruined. I knew they got sick and sometimes died, but they were always old with grey hair and grandkids too. I was introduced to bands like 77's, Daniel Amos, Mike Knott and LSU, Undercover, Mark Heard, Bruce Cockburn, Altar Boys and a few others, all claiming to be Christians but with a different outlook on life than I'd ever heard of. They seemed to be experiencing pain and still holding on to their Christianity. Ric Alba, a guy from the Altar Boys sang a song that included the words,
Don't pat me on the back and ask if its all better now,
When I'm torn in two I don't mend so easily.
I thought I heard a baby cry, it was the man next door
I heard somebody say, hey big boys don't cry anymore.
Well, I used to think so to, but I think I know better now
Now, I think that's beautiful poetry, now I know where he was coming from when he wrote those words, I still ache that it is some people's existence. But it doesn't have to become me. And that is great. That was great art, but lousy life philosophy. It takes a while to get past that adolescent angst of having to have your life imitate art, fitting into some goth, punk, emo, preppy, popular kind of category. I missed one of the finer points of art, letting it beautify and paint your world a little better than you'd decorated it yourself. I tried to move into the gallery.
There is more to say, but real life is calling me...
"Yes, little man?"