Vitamin B12

The weather today was bleak and dreary. It’s hard to imagine a much more depressing scene than the view out my windshield this morning. Wet. Slushy. Old snow melting into rivers across the highway and clogging the ditches with cold. Water on the windshield, water splashed by tires, water from the sky and water from the earth, and all of it cold and the earth too soggy to yield anything but mud and more water. Not life-giving water. Too cold, too much for that. Soul wearying water.

Gray sky, gray air. Bleak. Cars swishing by, tossing water up in the air in dreary arcs.

All of it reminding me of the condition of my soul. Your soul. Everyone’s soul. Such a lonely scene, so cold. I wondered where God could be in such a world, a world of so much misery and suffering.

I say it’s hard to imagine a much more depressing scene, but that’s actually not really true. I know someone who is overseas fighting a war and losing people to the ravages of hate. He says the weather there is about like it is here, and I wonder whether killing and being killed is even more depressing when it’s cold and rainy with melting snow making the earth soggy with water. Or whether the water dilutes the blood that already soaks the earth and dilutes emotion with it, whether the cold numbs the soul and makes it all easier to bear.

I went to a doctor today, a naturopath actually, and among other things he gave me a Vitamin B12 shot, to bolster my weakened immune system. B12 is also used to treat depression. Within two hours, I felt great. The weather has not changed. It is raining even now, this evening. The dirty snow is still busily melting and dripping from rooftops and forming puddles and streams in the road. The cars still swish water up into cheerful arcs. And that’s just the thing: The arcs are cheerful now.

And here’s the irony: The glorious mood-lifting effects of the B12 kicked in about the same time that I got a message from my friend overseas saying that there were more human losses today, more people he knows and is responsible for who are going home in caskets. Now don’t get me wrong. This news did not make me happy.

It also did not depress the hell out of me.

How much of what we are, of what we feel, is chemical? I want to know this, and I don’t want to know this.

I wonder whether B12 shots could help soldiers deal with everything they have to bear. I wonder whether mandatory B12 shots around the world would help everyone deal with everything they have to bear. Maybe it would make everyone happier and if we were all happier, maybe we wouldn’t all be so pissed off at each other that we have to go fight each other and then maybe we won’t have soldiers and they won’t need Vitamin B12 to make life easier to bear, because they’ll all be somewhere doing fun and lovely things with their lives instead of busy killing each other. I want to shout it from the rooftops: Peace and Goodwill to All Mankind! Get Your Vitamin B12 Shot Today!

Of course I’m not entirely serious. Mandatory anything is rarely a good thing for Peace and Goodwill. And I’m sure Vitamin B12 is not in fact the answer to all the world’s evils and ills. But I do wonder about it. I mean, if taking it makes me feel so great, is that because feeling great is my natural condition hampered only by a vitamin deficiency, or is it my natural condition to feel depressed and lonely and the B12 is currently acting like a drug to mask my true condition? And does it really matter?

And, honestly, where is God? Is he is in the Vitamin B12? Or the dreary arcs of water? Does she visit soldiers and make them feel better—or worse? Does God really even care about any of this, or are we more or less on our own to figure it all out?

I know where I can find the answer. At some point I will take the time to slow down, shut up, and listen for the voice of God. I know that God will speak to me, is probably speaking to me now, if I’ll just close down all the noise in my head and listen. Already I begin to understand what God has told me again and again—yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Yes: in the Vitamin B12 (grace at a dreary time). Yes: in the cheerful arcs of water. Yes: visits to soldiers. Yes: Better. Yes: Worse. Yes: God cares. Yes: We’re more or less on our own.

Maybe when I take the time to be quiet, I’ll understand how that’s possible. But for now I’m just grateful for whatever, it’s all good. Vitamin B12 rocks.

 

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