Solomon and His Problem

I’m starting to think depression is a gift available for everyone. More people have it in common than don’t. Maybe it’s the blessed awareness that everything is fleeting. Solomon, I think, was the most depressed person in the world. Or at least the ultimate addict. What separates him from every other person is that he was able to carry out his search for happiness to its extreme. And he did. We, however, settle for what we can afford. I’m sure if we could own the world we’d claim it. If we could have a thousand women we would. Or knowledge. Or power. The hunger in humanity is insatiable. That’s something I know well. If it can be satisfied, the thing we satisfy it with is unfit to properly make you full. Like eating when thirsty, drinking when hungry. The result is cramping, rejection of the thing that fills. Alcoholism turns to drugs, drugs to sex, sex to food, food to books. Satisfaction is desired, while dissatisfaction and repetitive rejection is all that’s ever achieved.

I see Solomon among this pattern of people. Maybe he is God’s “large and startling figure” drawn for the blind to see, spoken of for the deaf to hear about. Our comic example. Flannery O’Connor uses this technique in her prose. Writing larger than life characters that are so simply human—and murders, pedophiles, racists, addicts of salvation. She calls this the grotesque. It’s absurd. Exaggeration. But it begs the reader inward. Does the large shadow of absurdity cast itself on us as well?

Maybe abnormal is not so abnormal. Maybe depressions cure is to be depressed. And to go deeper into its grey world.

I was in the mountains recently, ignited internally by a sky full of stars. Then the fog came, blotting out my happiness. In the morning the same foggy mist tickled my nose, a delightful alarm sent down from mountain ridge above. Then the wind blew, and the cold dew shivered me. Alcohol wears off. Coffee cools. Cups empty. Apples become apple cores. Our senses diminish with age, memory holds on a little less longer than before. The ebbing tide will soon stop receding, for it will soon stop lapping the shore. And then what whisper or hush of happiness will there be to hear?

The cure. At least that’s what I think I believe. When the waves go stagnant and we have given in to the receding of the tide and we find ourselves on the dark beach where there is no sound, then maybe God’s voice will be clear. Until all things are hushed and our beach is bare, I’m not sure that we should expect to hear anything but the whispers of the world. So how deep are we willing to go? How quiet are we willing to be?

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