Psalm 34

I carry a handwritten copy of the 34th psalm in my purse. It is so comforting to me.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;
He protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
-Psalm 34:18-20
I have spent much of my life battling clinical depression. I am often broken-hearted and crushed in spirit. I have wondered why He gave me this cross to bear. It is so lonely. It is so devastating to know that even if I get to the top of the mountain, the stone will just roll down again. I'm borrowing too many metaphors, but bear with me. I'm not especially sane at the moment.

I preparing to write this entry, I was looking at different translations of the Psalm, and I finally read the little snippet at the beginning that I often skip over. You know, the part where it tells you what that David wrote this one to the tune of Gilligan's Island? Anyway, the litte snippet for this Psalm is:
"A Psalm of David when he pretended madness before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed."

No wonder I like it so much. It's supposed to sound like a crazy person is speaking.

It's also an acrostic poem of the Hebrew alphabet. This amuses me in and of itself, but especially so since I found this psalm through a poem by Denise Levertov. "O Taste and See" is perhaps the only "carpe diem" poem I've ever liked. The poem is her response to the Wordsworth line "the world is too much with us," a sentiment I often agree with. If only the world would retreat a little, give me a little room to breathe, I could spend more time on God. I could spend more time creating peace and perhaps even figure out how to indulge in joy. Levertov's "O Taste and See" makes the point that when we engage with the world we are engaging with God. He's in the food that sustains us, in ads on the subway and everywhere in between. Every day we are
"living in the orchard and being

hungry, and plucking
the fruit."
Right now, I am struggling to remember that I am living in the orchard, that He will keep my bones unbroken, and that so long as I look to Him, my face will never be covered with shame. It helps to carry these words with me on a tattered sheet of notebook paper, especially when I can't seem to carry them in my heart.

ELizabeth Bathurst

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