The Cloud

A spoken word poem on mental illness.

Where do I even begin to explain the chaos and noise inside my brain?

I’m at a loss for vocabulary, when mental illness attacks like a fortified adversary.

For a long time, I have kept my voice silent, from fear that what harms me, may become more violent.

But today I am going to explain to you, how this illness is so much more than just feeling blue.

It kicks and it punches and is nothing but abuse; there’s no way to wave a white flag and call for a truce.

But as you will soon hear, there is more to the story; this is not just about pain, but about God and his glory.   

The Cloud
If someone you love has anxiety or depression, you might know a bit about its devastating oppression.

It’s like a black cloud that follows wherever you go; it’s impossible to escape, if you try then you’ll know: the more that you run, the more it will grow.

The cloud stays with you from morning to night; from the rise of the sun, to the setting of its light.

Inside this cloud, you are always in pain; when the world sees sun, you only see rain.   

The apostle Paul talks about being rich in the Lord, but that’s tough to see when you are being pierced with a sword.

It’s like having a vice grip of fear, clenching around your soul, with daggers digging in, that you just can’t control.

See, the cloud never goes, it just changes in size; like I said, I can run, but it stretches the skies.

God, your word says ḥă-zaq we-’ĕ-māṣ, be strong and courageous; forgive me, but from inside my pain, that’s completely outrageous.

How can I be brave? How can I be tough? When the lies of my mind say I’m just not enough?

Strength from above
God, when the rain from the cloud tries to catch me in a flood, you reach out and grab me and save me by your blood.

The cloud can’t deny how you have chosen to justify this broken and bruised soul, who you continue to make whole.

Help me never to forget or lose sight of who wins the war as I engage in this fight.

The cloud brings a storm, but we can ride on a wave; my God will protect me, it’s only he that will save.

See, although the cloud is real and it sets out to steal all the happiness and joy that I try to feel, I can choose to kneel before the Judge and make an appeal.

And I can say this:

“God, your grace is sufficient, and your power is complete in my weakness; in hardships, in difficulties, even in bleakness.

You never leave or forsake, in you my heartache starts to quake and deep within me, faith begins to awake.

Every day, God, as you whisper with your Spirit, give me the eyes to see and the ears to hear it.

Help me to see that when I am stained with tears, that you are near, and that you’re greater than my fears.

Help me to be true, to who I am in you.

As I renew my mind and the fear begins to cease, fill it with what’s of you, and your unexplainable peace.”  

 

  • Nathan is a doctoral student in Practical Theology at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ont. as well as a missionary with Young Life.

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