Mouse over a dried-up well
Well, this is my last column for the ol’ Liberty Champion. How should I begin the piece that marks my end of this position?
I have no idea.
I could start with the fact that I’m writing this at 3 in the morning, and I can hear the pitter-pattering of the mouse we’ve been trying to catch for a few days. He stole one of our Hershey Kisses the other night. What’s your beef with us, little guy?
Or I could start with what my column’s been about. Micah’s Musings. Alliterative, I know. I came up with the title all by myself.
I looked it up just now: To “muse,” according to Oxford Dictionaries, means to “be absorbed in thought.” Fittingly, if I had to attribute one characteristic to myself, it would be that I’m highly introspective. Whether I’m in a large gathering or having a one-on-one conversation with somebody, my natural instinct is to retreat into the caverns of my mind.
It can be a really great thing to think a lot. It makes me a better listener, it helps me critically defend my views and it can be highly imaginative.
Of course, there are downsides. There’s a reason people say, “You need to get out of your head.” It’s because, when left to your own thoughts for so long, your mind is bound to go to places that aren’t healthy, and you’re bound to get lonely.
So these “musings” have often been very deep thoughts that have been stained with both positive and negative thoughts from my mind.
If you’ve read any of my previous columns, you’d know that I don’t take lots of things very seriously. If I can make a joke, I will; if I can poke a little fun at life or myself, I will. My goal for this column is not to make light of serious things; it’s to find the light through Christ, even through the serious times. Hopefully, that message is clearly perceived through each piece I write.
The encouraging side of my mind is like a well. From this well I like to draw my analysis of the everyday life, the good and the bad, and relate it to Christ. Each column has been like a bucket that dips into the waters of that encouragement.
But I’ve noticed that as I’ve continued to write these columns, many aspects of my life continue to go more awry, and the well has had less and less encouragement to draw from. My mind has become a well of darker, sadder thoughts — thoughts that stress and depress and trouble me — and I’m afraid that at this point, I have no more funny anecdotes or theological claims to offer.
Yep, being the end of this semester, my mind’s well has run quite dry.
This semester hasn’t been anything like I had thought it would be. A culmination of big and small disappointments and failures have led to my self-worth being shot down almost entirely. There’ve been physical, emotional, mental and spiritual issues galore. The physical has brought things like sickness (and for those who read my first column, my weird swollen eye); the emotional has brought things like painful friendships and strained relationships; the mental things have left me withdrawing from several classes because I can’t keep up with the workload.
Because of these things, I’ve doubted Christ’s plan for my life more this semester than I ever have before. Things I was so confident would be in my future became points of depression as the weeks have gone by. Things that I was so confident I would be doing right now, I couldn’t be further from doing. The few good days I’ve had this semester have been overshadowed by the bad.
If I were to look at my life from a worldly perspective right now, I’d probably find that all the stuff I did this semester ended up producing more failures than successes.
I often haven’t understood why the Lord has put me through so many things that he knows I can’t stand. I had wished that my last year here would be smooth sailing, but everything seems to be going wrong. Trusting the Lord through it has seemed exhausting at times.
But something inside me — or, rather, someone — has urged me to press on. Even though I would love nothing more than to flop on the floor and give up, I know that the Holy Spirit is helping me continue, holding me up.
So here is my charge to everyone who has kept up with this column or who is reading it for the first time: Don’t be afraid to muse. But don’t muse too much; you need your time to focus and meditate on Christ. As I’ve said throughout my columns, and as I say now, he is always enough.
Dearest Lord, thank you for my mind. Thank you for my thoughts and remind me to focus on you when I get too into my head. You know this semester hasn’t been what I imagined it would be like; thank you nonetheless. Thank you for your forgiveness, and help me to press on toward your upward call (Philippians 3:14).
(At publishing time, we caught the mouse.)
Gilmer is the A-section copy editor for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on X