Dear Soul, Straighten up and Fly Right

12 Nov

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I’m not as bad as Mr. Hyde, in that I don’t get my kicks from spazzing out on the neighbors when night falls. But when night falls, I definitely grow darker. Feelings of loneliness heighten, and I start to feel anxious and upset. My internal freak outs run the gamut, from how to deal with being 27 and perfectly single to fear of nuclear attack from Iran; from the three pimples on my chin that are more resilient than a Twinkie to how our nation will ever recover if Hillary Clinton is elected president; from feeling like a loser with no friends to pondering the eternal state of my soul. Yes, I’m an utterly unbearable emotional diva between 11 pm and when I fall asleep, but the fact remains that I struggle with feeling restless and discontent.

Fortunately, I have a sister whose advice I tend to take to heart. She visited me here in College Park a couple of months ago, and we experienced a ghastly contemporary Christian service together. My takeaway: sitting at home staring at the wall would have brought me closer to God. Hers: at least there was an emphasis on Scripture memorization. And so, I decided to get to memorizing. First, James 1; next Isaiah 53; then Psalm 42; now Romans 8. But back-up to Psalm 42. King David’s mantra therein stuck with me:

“Why are you downcast, O my Soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

David is reasoning with his own soul. It’s a perplexing concept, to imagine a person using logic to straighten out his one immaterial (though immortal) aspect. Despite his pleas, David remains emotionally shipwrecked. He isn’t alone, either. Martin Luther referred to periods of feeling forsaken by God as Anfechtung, and Mother Teresa spent nearly half a century feeling disconnected from God.

Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, opines that “half, two thirds, maybe three quarters of the depression that we experience as Christians is depression over our depression. We’re sad that we’re sad. We’re surprised that we’re surprised. We’re upset that we’re upset. And if [we] weren’t so upset about being upset, [we] wouldn’t be as upset.” Isn’t that the root of anxiety, deciding to focus on that which we cannot fix ourselves?

Life stings. It aches. It frustrates. It’s unsatisfying. But if we truly believe in David’s mantra, from start to finish, ultimately our temporary discomforts, pain, and anguish will fade away. Until then, after night is a new morning. There’s comfort food to keep you going, too, even in healthy varieties. Like this recipe from Julia’s Album, a mock alfredo sauce with cauliflower replacing the butter and heavy cream. I’ve tested it out and Julia knows what’s up, though I wouldn’t recommend the nutmeg addition.

CAULIFLOWER ALFREDO SAUCE: http://juliasalbum.com/2015/01/cauliflower-alfredo-sauce-recipe/

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CALORIES (per 1/2 cup serving): 70

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