The Basement

God, my soul is thick with dread

And muted tears,

Sinking deeper with every step I tread

And losing feeble years

In silence.

Heavy drags the weight of days

Pulling me under,

And still you swamp me with all of your waves

And deafen with thunder

Yet say nothing.

I look up to your sky to find

There some escape;

Instead the clouds encompass all my mind,

A heavy cloak, a cape

But no flight.

To you I call all day, all night,

My spirit splayed;

The dead cry with me, yet they have no sight

To see your grace displayed

And do not dream.

My eyes veiled from what you have done,

Already close to death,

I follow you into oblivion

With weak and fading breath

And thinning faith.

Darkness is my closest friend;

Still I pray,

For, with no resolution and no end,

You may yet mend the fray

And bring in day…

~ “Despair” by Matthew Pullar (After George Herbert’s “Deniall”)

Basements come in diverse forms and serve a variety of functions. I’ve had everything from a century-old basement crawl space suitable only for hiding from tornadoes to a finished basement on Long Island that served as a separate living quarters when I was very low.

The basement in my bipolar mind is dark and damp yet soothing almost like a womb. Sometimes I fall into it when I’m least prepared. Other times, I methodically descend one step at a time.

When I was doing my best, while serving in Ovid, New York, I set up an office in our basement.

After often spiritually grueling Sundays, I would descend the basement stairs on Monday mornings to pray, become immersed in God’s Word, and sit in front of my computer screen, dreaming of new life to emerge.

The basement can be a deep pit we fall into and from which we never come out. Yet, when we have a solid foundation, the basement is the safest place to be protected from the storms around us (and within us). Time and again, God has met me in the basement of my bipolar mind and, after reminding me of His constant care, has shown me the stairs and directed me to face the world with greater confidence, better equipped to serve in the Spirit of Christ.

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