After a tense day at work, filled with many problems to solve, numerous e-mails, and telephone calls to return, Paul wanted to get home, eat something, relax on the sofa, and watch just anything on television. However, heavy traffic caused the usual minutes in the car to become hours. It was dark when he arrived home. Entering the house, he immediately took off his shoes, threw his bag in the corner, said a quick hello to his wife, and glanced at his two children, who were playing on the rug. After a warm shower, he put on comfortable clothing and sat at the dinner table.
“Is there anything to eat?” he asked drily.
“Your mother called a while ago. She was complaining that it has been several months since you paid her a visit.”
“She knows I don’t have time for that. I have more to do than go see her. Bills to pay. Problems to solve. And the new supervisor will not leave me alone. What an impossible woman! It seems to me that she’s afraid the company will go broke. It’s really hard to work with her. She’s driving me crazy!”
“This is all you talk about lately—problems, bills, and your supervisor. Did you even notice that your children are there in the living room? All afternoon Mark has been asking what time you would get here.”
“Is it going to be the same thing again, just like every other day? Complaints and more complaints! They hassle me at work, and then you hassle me at home! Do you think it’s easy to support a family with just my salary?”
These last words hit Silvia where it hurt. It was not fair. She had left her job for health reasons, and he knew that. While it was a blessing to spend more time with the kids, listening to her husband’s mocking reminders day after day was becoming unbearable.
“Our children are growing up and they hardly know their father. And I am not even going to mention the state of our marriage!”
“Can’t you just give me some time? I am tired, I have a headache and no patience to have this conversation now.”
At that moment, Paul’s six-year-old daughter handed an envelope to her father.
“Not now, honey! Can’t you see that your mother and I are talking?” Paul snapped.
He stuffed the paper into his pocket carelessly, ignoring his little girl, who slunk away with tear-filled eyes.
“Are you so stupid? Can’t you see what you are doing to your family?”
“I’ve had enough! I’m going to the bedroom. I just lost my appetite.”
Paul felt that he was losing control of his world. The man who used to be secure and self-assured was no longer able to manage his own life. Negative thoughts were taking control of his mind. His brain was in turmoil, and bad memories continually made everything worse. His body was in a state of excessive fatigue because of his lack of physical exercise. His stressed-out supervisor constantly demanded reports from him. All he wanted was some rest and sleep—and maybe he could just never wake up.
When he rolled over on his side, he noticed something in his pocket. Taking out the wrinkled envelope, he opened it and found a note scribbled in crayon. He felt pain in the pit of his stomach as he read the words, “I love you daddy.”
Have you ever felt like Paul, swamped by commitments and unable to deal with so many things at the same time? Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel and running away to some deserted place? Perhaps you are lucky and your days go by calmly, without mishap. Right now, millions of people are suffering the effects of anxiety, stress, and depression. These problems have grown increasingly common in our world.
Some time ago, Stephen Hawking, the famous British physicist, made a statement that went viral in the media. His subject was not fantastic theories about different universes. Hawking, who has lived confined to a wheelchair for decades because of a degenerative neurological disease, offered advice to people who suffer from depression.
“The message of this lecture is that black holes ain’t as black as they are painted. They are not the eternal prisons they were once thought. Things can get out of a black hole both on the outside and possibly to another universe. So if you feel you are in a black hole, don’t give up—there’s a way out.”
Perhaps Hawking’s words of encouragement cannot reassure someone like Paul, who is living in a “black hole” of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
- Is there really a way out from these problems?
- Is there hope?
- Can a person crawl out of the black holes that this life presents?