10 Years / by Sarah Schwartz

I looked up from my laptop to where Derek was sitting, separated from me by a coffee table littered with a half eaten pizza and glasses of cheap wine. We were working steadily on our respective computers, hammering out programming details for a project at work.

"You know, I've been on anti-depressants for 10 years this month," I said, interrupting our focused silence, the fact having just occurred to me.

Derek smiled.

"So, do we throw you a party, or will you...?" he said, half jesting, half not.

One of the things I appreciate most about my community is our commitment to celebration. Life is short and beautiful and heartbreaking, and long ago we made the decision that we would seize every opportunity to celebrate all of it. We pour our hearts into birthdays and graduations, things you are expected to celebrate, but our real specialty lies in celebrating the things that might otherwise go unnoticed, or that don't scream "this deserves a party!"

When Katie got her first job out of college? We threw a bachelorette themed evening, in the name of her marrying her career. Monica just bought her first house, and we are devising an escrow themed event to mark that milestone. When Kate lost her job? We dressed up in black and went to our favorite rooftop bar to bid adieu and good riddance to a season that treated her poorly.

It wouldn't be unlike us to throw an anniversary party for my 10 year relationship with anti-depressants.

And while I'm probably not going to throw a party, I can't help but feel that this anniversary needs to be observed, or marked in some way. It has been 10 years since I whispered to a counselor through the hot tears streaming down my face that I needed help, that I was tired, that I didn't have the energy to fight the demons in my mind alone anymore.

That small act has had an incalculable impact on the years between now and then, setting me up to be more fully and freely Sarah, than I would have been otherwise. And while it certainly hasn't been a cure all, it has been an important companion on my journey to wholeness, paired with counseling and community, and I am ever grateful for it.

So I'll mark the passing of this decade here, dear reader, if you don't mind. This seems like as good of place as any to shout into the darkness that it hasn't won, that it hasn't taken me, try as it has and might.

And so, for the guidance and courage of my good, good parents, and their willingness to get me the help I needed, hallelujah.

For the kindness of counselors who have offered me safe spaces to say aloud what hurts, what scares me, what I hope for, hallelujah.

For the countless teachers, mentors, and friends who had the courage to say, "me too", assuring me I wasn't the only one who struggled, hallelujah.

For music and poetry, artists and authors, and their steady reminder that beauty can still be found, hallelujah.

For underlined Scriptures on well worn pages that tell of a God whose presence I cannot escape, even in the depths of Sheol, hallelujah.

For the 292 days of sunshine in Southern California per year, and the abundance of vitamin D that provides me, hallelujah.

For my fierce and faithful friends who show up and keep showing up, who know when to take my face between their hands and boldly speak the truth, hallelujah.

For red lipstick that serves as a reminder to be brave on days where I wake up feeling small, hallelujah.

For my stubborn streak, that gets me into trouble in almost every other area of my life, but has served me well when it comes to getting out of bed every morning, hallelujah.

For the feast of blessedness, as Jonathan Martin describes, that can only be savored by those who have first tasted their own blood, who have experienced darkness and death, and felt them give way to resurrection life, hallelujah.