A Cool Towel on Christmas Morning

This morning of the 25th, I wake up with a slight cringe and feel that hollow in my chest again. Like an automaton, I pick up my iPhone and scroll through vapid posts of gel nails and Jimmy Fallon talk show memes the same way one would pop a pill.

Sufficiently distracted from whatever inner emptiness troubled me upon waking, I got up and strolled to the kitchen where my mother had coffee, organic raspberries, Korean sweet potato, and hardboiled eggs waiting. Christmas carols play in the background. I smile and sit. She is a blessing in an otherwise troubled household, my mom. I take an avocado out from the fridge to slice on top of the wheat bread, but I place it there and plum forget about it. These things happen when you’re too engrossed in your inner world, I assume.

Coffee helps depression a little bit, but there’s a crash. I drink from the French press anyway. As my mom chatters about grocery store prices, the handsome thirty-year-old bachelor at church, and whatever other light news about menopause for the middle-aged, I feel that hollow growing again. I sigh. She asks why I am doing that, and I say that I’m tired, but really I’m sad and need to scroll aimlessly on my phone again to forget myself.

I go on Tumblr and Pinterest this time to browse Christianese inspirational quotes and curated fashion posts when my Headspace app sends a notification that surprises me: “Your phone can do cool things, but go do something more exciting now.”

Huh, wow. Yes sir, Headspace sir, I think. Placing my phone down on the carpet, I pick up silver metal dumbbells and do squats with my mom, who I push to exercise because I know bones get brittler by the year for older folks. Sweat and heavier breathing jogs the endorphins and I feel better.

It’s dumbfounding, though. Trying to run away from a presence inside of you is quite an unusual endeavor. It’s not a flight from fright response. It’s a desperate reaching out for sugar, action movies, and other sub-realities to keep your mind snapped outward and not inward, where you are all too aware of how you feel.

But sometimes, because I’m at least cognizant enough to know that distraction is fruitless, I enter the cavern by my own volition and sit down crisscrossed in the innermost part and try to understand why this place and these feelings exist.

I sit there for a long time. While melancholy and depressed, I at least am not running away while looking behind my shoulder. Resigned feels better than frantic for the most part. Before scooching into a deeper, darker corner, I suddenly remember the new blog and how I had paid sixty bucks for the yearly WordPress subscription on impulse to get started on writing and expressing what I hid so well.

So if I wanted to do something more exciting than scroll, I guess that would be it. I get up. I come here. Right here, on a computer typing the story of this entire morning. It’s 11:10 AM and I’m where you are, reader. You may be scrolling on a phone and distracting yourself as I was just an hour ago, but I’d like to think you’re on your computer as I am. We’re both on a computer and that makes me feel glad. I feel like kindred spirits right now, you and me.

And writing my heart onto this blank document, letting the sad truth pour out anonymously, feels like a cool towel you put on a throbbing pain that upon touching the bruise brings a sweet chill of relief.

Father in Heaven, writing makes me feel better. Maybe you made me a writer and only in doing what I was created for will I feel whole. Right now, I have a cool towel on the aching hollow and it feels smaller than before. I will keep writing until You come to take me Home.

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