A Bottle of 18-Year-Old Angst

(Preface: This is part of a category of blog posts called “Moments,” devoted to describing moments of my life and their subsequent significance. This entry was prompted by an old poem I wrote in college.)

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

His heart torn, as it both loves and hopelessly despairs, the young man sits forlorn, in a tired room, at a worn wooden desk that bears the scarred marks of prior occupants, now ghosts, cottony cobwebs forgotten in the chamber’s dusty past, and repairs his gaze to the storm clouds begotten within, that now gathering, threaten to swallow the world unawares.

His heart presses up into his throat so hard it aches. It aches as love and longing strain against the desperate hopelessness and strife; it grieves as all it knows of life appears as just a thin mist rising up from the road after an afternoon rain, and it burns hot with a volcano of impotent outrage trapped beneath a bedrock of pain.

And in the midst of the tumult, a yellow Bic pen bleeds out blue, ink staining letters and words into the pressed white pulp of a college-ruled, spiral-bound notebook:

"This world we live in 
          is a terrible mess;
She looks like a dream
          in her long flowing dress;
Filled with sorrow
          and unending despair;
I run my fingers
          through her long soft hair;
Try as we may
          we can never achieve
She runs her hand
          down the length of my sleeve;
That which we want,
          but still we keep trying.
She kisses me
          and hears not my heart crying."


A late hour of a forgotten day in 1982, mourning the tragedy of love and desire in the face of the meaninglessness of life and the imminence of death.


Written while sitting in a dormitory room in 1982 by an 18 year old former me, the juxtaposition of these alternating lines resonated with the angst in my soul and reflected the tension between the love and passion of youth and despair born of the seeming meaninglessness of my existence in a barren and heartless world, ready to self-destruct at any moment in a cataclysmic nuclear firestorm. I longed, even ached, for something truly meaningful, something eternal, but despaired that such a thing actually existed. Little did I understand then that my obsession with meaning and purpose was a secondary cause, driven by the drawing of the One who had long before set His eyes upon me as His own.

If eyes of flesh were to look at that 18 year old me – full of youth’s vigor and earthly promise, and then gaze across the span of 40 years to 58 year old me – disabled, sorely afflicted, dependent, and without hope of outward improvement, there would not be a moment’s hesitation about who was better off. They would be dead wrong. Because now I have found Jesus Christ – His love, His forgiveness, and His eternal life. And although the outward burden of physical affliction that I now bear cannot compare, gone is the spiritual hopelessness and despair.

In reality it was my sin, and my looming death and judgment, that were the nuclear firestorm. When, years later, I gazed upon Jesus Christ in faith, it was the firestorm that vanished like a mist and my eternal life in Jesus Christ became real.


Dear reader, the world today is much as it was then, and despair, the dark offspring of hopelessness, stalks the landscape of humanity like a clutching specter, whispering lies and seeking those he may devour. Although truth may seem elusive and life may appear as a meaningless mist, this is a not the case. Hope is real and truth has a name, and his name is Jesus Christ.

He left His throne in heaven to be born as a babe in a manger. Grew to manhood, and when the time was right He submitted to death, even death on a cross, to pay the sin debt of all who would ever call upon His name in humble repentance and faith. Death could not hold Him and He rose again on the third day. He ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father, where He rules in righteousness, power, and love.

Now all people everywhere are called upon to repent of their sins, lay down their arms and their rebellion, and surrender into His loving embrace, trusting in Him for their forgiveness and for life, eternal and abundant. Behold! Take heart! In His grace, He calls sinners. He is calling you. Do you hear His voice?


“And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.'”

The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 2, verse 17

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 17, verses 31-31

“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, Chapter 22, verse 17

18 year old me, full of pride, despair, and longing

© Craig Sabin 2022 All rights reserved

18 thoughts on “A Bottle of 18-Year-Old Angst

  1. So touching and so heartfelt. I think we can identify with your 18 year old self. I remember how deeply I felt about so many things then that I just accept as part of the world now. I am also thankful that Christ has transformed my life. What a difference!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, I am so very grateful for all the Lord has done in my life. Sometimes I wonder what it might have been like to come to faith as a young person or teenager, but then the Lord finds ways to redeem so much of our past and we wouldn’t be the same without it. Thank you so much for your comment, Valerie!


  2. Hi Craig, moments in our life can indeed change us. When we accept Christ and go forward in His truth and light, our life changes. Our thoughts and priorities change; we have an abiding hope. Your post is a wonderful testimony. 🌺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gary, thank you for your continued encouragement. There are so many kind folks like yourself who always take the time to leave an encouraging word. Praise the Lord that He gives us new life because nothing short of a brand new life would have done the job!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Craig, I’m so glad you have divine perspective now. While most youth wouldn’t envy older people – and there’s a certain despair in that (“If I’m feeling this bad at my age, how bad will it be when I’m an old person!?”) – we have come to terms with our mortality and look beyond that with joyful hope. “Hope is real and truth has a name, and his name is Jesus Christ.” – AMEN!
    P.S. Thank you for laying out the plan of salvation so clearly. Praying those who need it will read it. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, my heart rejoices with all He has done! Yes, I recall sometimes taking solace that my age was less than a quarter of typical life expectancy at the time, although deep down this was thin soup to a hungry heart.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Brother, this is deep; such a godly reflection of the ‘old man’ and the new man who rises up to life in Christ. God tells us and shows us that the flesh counts for nothing.
    I often think how He chose servants at their oldest or weakest time in their lives. There’s still hope for old me!
    Thank you Craig, your reflections and inspirations. And the photo too!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Praise the Lord, Lisa Beth. All of God’s kingdom values run contrary to fallen man’s, and we who appear to be without hope are blessed with being certain of what we hope for. It’s my hope that perhaps the Lord will use this post to communicate hope to someone who is much in need, and in any case, may He be glorified for the blessed change He wrought in me.

      Liked by 2 people

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