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Hapless, Helpless and Hopeless- when the dark side takes over

~John the Virginian

The legendary Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon was apparently written about the escalating mental health problems of former member Syd Barrett. It's reads like a chronicle of the pressures of this life. Even the song titles give glimpses into the agonies we face to overcome- Speak to me, Money, Time, Us and Them and Brain Damage- all images I can personally relate to. I bet you can too.

To me, the song that hits me hardest from this album is The Great Gig in the Sky. Pure artistry. No words. Somehow, Pink Floyd captured perfectly the agonizing lament of a soul stricken with grief that it cannot even find words, it couldn't even express them if it could. In the mournful music and soaring cries, they say here what words could never express. A soul broken, a soul defeated. Hapless, Helpless and Hopeless like a shredded tire on the side of a road.

Moments later, the album winds up with a single heartbeat and the mumbled words There is no dark side of the a matter of fact, it's all dark.

I am not writing this as a man who has been there, I'm writing it as a man who is there now.- right now, standing on the dark side of the moon. I'm beaten, I'm broken and I don't have anything left. I have done all I can for as long as I can and I see myself, my family, my friends and countless others, expected to bear far more than we are able and bear it without rest for weeks, months, years. We dare to hope and pray and hope and pray and hope and pray that things will get better but they just seem to always get worse. We plunge ourselves into addiction, not really to feel better but to feel numb. I'm reminded of another Pink Floyd Classic.

Staggering and stammering from more blows than I can even number, for what seems like 10 eternities, I am now smothered by the same grief that perhaps a hundred million Americans are blanketed by- the greatest electoral crime in our nation's history. Shivering with fear at the monster at the door shredding our rights and plunging us into a permanent dark winter of violence, oppression, perversion and death, my rage is once again captured by the band. Just listen to the second (closing) guitar solo of Comfortably Numb (5:05) and you can almost hear the storm raging in my soul and racing through my mind.

and God commands me walk on! but He gives me no aid, no light, not even hope.

My thoughts turn to another song....

The cold wind blows and God looks down in anger on this poor child.
Why so unforgiving and why so cold? Been a long time crossing bridge of sighs

~ Robin Trower

Music helps carry me through these times. Out of control with loneliness, despondence and anger. Anger at a thousand different people for a thousand different things. Self loathing anger turned inward, white hot rage turned outward. The people who ruined my life, the lives of my family members. Rage at the enemies inside America that helped the enemies outside of America.

and yes... I'm angry at God. Where is He in all this? Why has He abandoned us?

A thousand evil doers doing a thousand evil deeds and, though I understand the mercy of not turning them instantly into pillars of salt, I can't fathom why He doesn't frustrate and curse their efforts like He always seems to do to mine. They always do evil but their evil deeds go undeterred. Me, on the other hand, the harder I try to do right, the more God beats the ever loving daylights out of me.

I recall the words of Saint Theresa of Avilla:

Lord, if this is how you treat your friends, it's no wonder you have so few of them.

So I fall into anger and rebellion and sin followed by guilt, followed by resolve, followed by God, once again, either acting as though I am completely invisible or pounding me like a tent peg.

At least...that's how it looks from inside this dark place.

Will I crawl out of this pit? Probably....eventually....

but now you know you are not the only ones who face this hellish night.


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