A Trip Down the Well

There’s a well in my mind. It’s deep and dark and cold, with slippery sides. Sometimes I fall in.

How dumb can that be, to know that it’s there, and still fall in. But my thoughts lead me there, unawares, like a wine glass at a party being refilled — only too late, you discover you’ve gone too far.

My thoughts are footsteps. Thoughts of loved ones, gone from the earth. Thoughts of suffering, I cannot soothe. Thoughts of the limits and mistakes I must live with.  Too many footsteps in this direction, and down I go.

I used to fall in easily, and bob about in the gloom, adding more tears to the water. But over the years, I’ve taught myself how to climb out, guiding my footsteps, climbing the wall, with different thoughts. Thoughts that can reach down in the dark.  Simple thoughts of what I can do. A chore. A task. Lunch with a friend. An outdoor excursion.  A change of music.  A different route to a daily destination.  Some distraction that engages my mind in the world that is, in the life I have.  Over the years I’ve found lots of tricks to try.

The well is still there, a home for deep sadness. It is a part of me, and I know I will fall in again. But I also know I will not stay there.

You see, inside the well, I cannot love anyone. I cannot help anyone. I cannot share another’s joy.  And that hurts more people than just me.  So I must climb out.  And I do.

It just takes awhile.   The well is pretty deep.

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