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Sad Christian Creative Nonfiction

This story contains themes or mentions of mental health issues.

I am anxious. I walk around the supermarket, trying to think of what food I might need to exist another week. I hate it when it is this busy. It feels claustrophobic and unsafe. How sad that the only sense of security I feel these days is being away from people. I hurry over to deli section to find hummus, and glance at the plants. Normally I walk by them without a second thought, but for some reason today is different. I notice a plant in a simple white pot. It has tall sword-shaped green leaves with white stripes. It's simplicity and elegance catch my eye. I think it is called a snake plant? Into my cart it goes. I suppose impulse-buying house plants really is a phenomenon. Fallen once again into the trap of consumerism, I think wryly to myself. I am probably going to just kill it within a week, which makes my heart sink just a little. Might as well give it a shot, though.

I wander around and throw what other necessities I can find into the cart. Finally, I cannot deal with the crowd anymore, and I bolt for the registers. The cashier, a kind-looking older woman wearing fun earrings smiles, scans the plant, and says "Oh this one is so pretty. I hope you enjoy it."

"Thanks, hopefully I can keep it alive for a while," I replied. She seems so nice. Inwardly, I feel a small spark at her sweetness. Then I feel it die as I mentally spin, wondering if my interaction with her was too awkward. Why am I so strange? What do others think about me? Why has my discomfort and anxiety around people worsened again?

She hands me my receipt and I drive home, taking the less busy way. I turn music on to distract myself from the discomfort of my perceived awkwardness. After parking, I manage to make it up the stairs to my apartment in one trip with all the bags and the plant. Now, where to put it? I might actually have to open some blinds, now. I place it on the window sill and wish it the best. Her name is Persephone. I have always liked that name.

I am crying. Another family member just died. I do not understand death, it is so final and hard to fathom. One minute a living person resides on this earth with us, then they are just gone. The image of her body haunts my mind. As I am on my knees rocking back-and-forth and blinking through my tears, I see Persephone still alive and standing tall. It has been a long month and I am exhausted, but I feel my heart lift ever so slightly knowing that my plant has lived, and knowing I am caring for a living thing.

I am tired of crying. I have worn myself out with the ups and downs of my emotions. God seems silent. I thought I was numb before, but this is a new level. How fascinating. How frightening that the feeling that I do not want to keep living like this has slowly hatched in my mind like a sickly baby bird. Am I suicidal? I wonder. Not quite. Just tired of my mind racing, tired of my heart hurting, tired of grieving, tired of not understanding why I have felt this way for so many years. I should water my plant, she looks sad, too. Wilted and drained of life, just like me.

I am at the end of myself. I cannot do this alone anymore. My mind has spiraled down into a place where nothing makes sense. I simply cannot untangle it enough to keep up the pretense of functioning. I need help. I wonder if I still have that therapist's card. Maybe she will take my insurance. What if the way I feel is not actually normal and requires more targeted intervention? Sort of like repotting Persephone when nothing else I tried seemed to help her grow. I know there must be more to life than this and that God desires more for me than this. It is time to find myself a new pot.

I am a little better. I am talking to people about how I feel, praying again, hearing from God in small ways again. I am not where I want to be, but I am better. I have realized I must be patient with my mind and emotions as I begin to heal; it will take time just as the body takes time to knit itself back together from an injury. As I sit at my dining table, I notice I am actually enjoying the fresh air, music, and light flooding into my apartment through the open patio door.

There is now space in my mind to reflect. I glance at Persephone sitting proudly on the window sill. There were a few times I thought she would die over the last year. Yet, she has grown so tall and full, and seems to be improving now that winter is over, just as I am. I happened to look up her name recently and was stunned to find Persephone was both the goddess of the underworld and the spring. I smile at the perfection of the name. She was a constant through this last season - a living thing I could care for during a time I did not desire to care for myself. We have grown together over the last year. I am glad I did not give up on her, just as I was never abandoned by God to wither away. I feel so grateful that He stopped, picked me out, took me in, and cared for me. He lead me through this journey, as heart-rending as it was. Perhaps we all go through these stages of needing to be repotted. We must be plucked from a cramped and often rotten environment, and placed into fresh soil and surroundings where we can have space and resources to grow. I think that is what happened to me. Maybe things will be all right after all. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I am a little better.

April 27, 2022 18:51

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1 comment

Jacob Gauthier
18:46 May 02, 2022

Hi Sophia! Congratulations on submitting your first story to Reedsy! We're happy to have you join the community. Thank you for writing such a vulnerable story—I like that you didn’t shy away from writing the difficult thoughts and emotions your character was experiencing. One thing I think that could improve the story would be including headings before each time skip—just something simple like ‘Fall 2021’ so that your readers have clear indications that time is passing. That aside, I also wanted to mention that I loved how you compared ...


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