People that actually love me were concerned about my mentality for a few minutes/months there when my world cam screeching to a hault. I had three people I loved to varying degrees die or die to me at a time. It was the deepest, darkest valley I have ever walked through, and I have been raped, had people die, moved across country alone, been homeless a little, had to walk to work many miles across town and so on. I felt this one hardest because it was incredibly deep meaningful people to me gone all of a sudden and a one that remained were attacking and criticizing me for having feelings about that. And for a while I must admit I was deeply depressed. That is saying something for a girl who had always fou d the best in things and who laughs for any reason at all or makes up a reason. I was shattered and broken, a real mess of a disaster. And I fell into a deep darkness. I had some people far away who loved me and my kids but I felt so very alone and crushed and hopeless. The bottom dropped out. And seriously, I adnm the nicest person I know. lol So, here the story gets good. I adnm this pathetic mess of a disaster and now I have a choice. Give up and stay depressed forever or allow the brokenness to lay me humbly before Jesus and ask Him to fix me. Do I didn’t ask because my words did not come. I cried for the billionth time and humbly looked up and said two words. Ready? “Jesus, help”. That was it. No one to hold, no one to see my tears, alone in my room and this is all I could muster. And you know what? It was enough. In two seconds, it felt like someone put arms around me and filled my heart with something better than what was there, I felt arms around me and I had to look again and make sure noone was there, it felt so real. I started healing right then and there. All of a sudden I felt like God’s little girl again. I felt life again. I laughed again. I mattered again. And the truth of it struck me immediately. Even if I am completely alone in this world, as long as I have Jesus, I am complete and rich beyond words. I truly need nothing but Him. So now I am stronger everyday and wiser. God is great.
I have found myself of late within a series of difficult events, fighting new battles within my mind. Throughout, I have navigated the rockiest of shores with a wide range of careful triumphant precision and something akin to trying to wrestle a live goose into a large pot of broth while blindfolded while crying like a chef who has just chopped no less than 100 raw onions. So, somewhere in the top!er coaster that has been me, I blew by my giftedness and focussed on, well, me. Disturbed by narcissists worldwide, I realized I was in very real danger of becoming one. So, what I can only call a revelation from God, just entered my mind. I have two things to use as tools in not becoming someone I hate or worse God cannot use. One is the biggest most powerful tool in the universe… the power and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, God Himself. Amazing! Grasping my problem with a firm grip and shaking it loose from me with a ferocity that rivals a lioness protecting her cubs is God protecting me when I ask. He is my powerful Heavenly Father after all. I am His and He is mine. Second tool is the gift of perspective of a sound mind naturally seeing the big picture. My innate zoom out camera in my mind. I had borrowed a friend’s attention to detail and fixated on the little nuggets that I generally, when true to self, would never have given the time of day. I had let go of who I was, the crazy, zany, wise one I was cut out to be who rises above the now and easily breathes in the big picture. I saw how tiny my own problems were compared to thousands being martyred and worse now, politicians as corrupt mob bosses of old, morality being plunged to negligible levels in the country I love the most, and so many other problems worldwide. My little issues are tiny specks compared to these things. Yes, they still matter to me. Of course, I love very very big and am passionately tender hearted so feel the recent losses in my life vehemently, but I cannot live there for there is much to be done. There are many hurting. If I live in my own hurt and get stuck there, who will be there to help others who are hurting? And who can help them best than someone who intimately understands and can empathize with their experiences? Oh how I would tie my own hands and God’s work through them if I gave in to sorrow and depression? What good would I be? Who would love these other hurting people? Whose hands would God use to heal them if not mine? And it hit me, I had given in to the temptation of selfishness and distraction and I refuse to give up my freedom to such petty things. So, here we are, arriving together at this momentous crossroad in my life. No doubt prayers uttered on my behalf brought it to fruition so I thank you dearly for them. And off we go, me with jobs to do, taking care of my family and home, serving others with my kids, visiting shutins and bringing them joy, being a part of the world again. No more protect and preserve mode. I have better things to do. I will save my tears for the onions.
There is certainly no loss for things to work up our emotions about. There is an enormous amount of pain all around us that cannot help but come into our lives in time. We can protect ourselves to some degree by isolation, walls put up- literal and figurative-, self-medication for some, bad relationships for others, narcissism for some and meditation and Bible reading for others (by far the most successful). But in time everyone is presented with a very poignant opportunity to break down and cry like a baby. And I have to admit that I have done a great deal of that lately. I am as close as I have ever come to a bout of depression. And I am mentioning it now as an apology for not understanding the crippling effect of it before in some of my dear friends. To feel so much, to feel everything around you, the weight of your own battles, the weight of your family and friends’ struggles, to feel loss, to grieve, to feel close to God but distant from Him simultaneously, to feel the weight of bad choices, past failures, broken families- my own and everyone else’s. I feel it all. I am generally strong and God graced me with an enormous capacity to hold up and help under such stresses, but even I in all my strength am not strong enough to hold up under the enormous weight of all that I am feeling. It is the ugliest thing in the world to let fly the tears to let off the pressure and steam from the valve and immediately have it built up enough pressure to do it again. It is demoralizing, the pain feels like a giant is sitting on your heart. You long for understanding, love, you get criticism instead and limitations. You do not get what you want or need and it feels farther from your grasp than you thought anything could be. It is a very lonely, very isolated feeling and I do not like it at all. Why bother? What is the point? It drains you from who you are to a pathetic someone generally tucked away deep within you that quietly hold the pain you give her. So, to my friends who suffer from this debilitating hindrance to happiness and calm, I give you my love and understanding and permission to cry and permission to call me at any hour of the night because I am usually up lately and I get you, I feel you, I know how it feels, I understand, I love you. God built each of us with these emotions, with the capacity for extreme joy and deliniating pain. When we draw close to Him, He helps. It is not taken away, but you get a calm for a little bit. What pulled me out some was in serving. That is the last thing you want to do when you are feeling forsaken by the world and all those you hold so dear. To serve when you are not served is rough, it is difficult, it takes energy you don’t always feel you have, time, resources. But it is worth it to hear a thank you. Sometimes you have to force yourself to serve to hear one positive word that will keep you going. And then I swear it gets a little easier. Not every day, but maybe one more day out of seven, then maybe two the next week and on it goes. But however long it takes, keep trying, never give up. We are God’s and He is on our side. We can call to Him for strength and it is a conversation that is never in vain. It may be the only conversation for a long time that is productive and meaningful.
Many things have happened in my life and my response is generally optimistic and hopeful, figuring out what to do, getting things done, charging ahead, always full throttle. My pulse has slowed of late and there is a different drum beat to dance to. I have this new thing in my life called sadness. I am not sure if it is from my daddy’s downward spiral with dementia, fading away or family life and changes or something I ate or some new hormones taking over my body, but I am not liking this new talent I have to cry at the drop of a hat. Never been a cryer really. However of late, I am some sort of master at it. I am changed in this regard. It is foreign territory to me. I, who can always find the funny, search out the stupid, love the enjoyable, invent it good am now in the position where I see the hurt in people’s eyes. I see their pain they are hiding behind the laugh. I feel their sorrow in their encouragement. And I experience it with them. And it hurts. Of course, my eyes are very clean these days, which is a plus. They probably needed that. However, they are clean now so this can stop anytime. An additional side effect is a stronger desire to hold my children, hug them, laugh with them, really focus on them. So maybe even sadness can have its productive uses. Nonetheless, I am understanding more the crippling pain a lot of my friends contend with of depression. It would probably be very much like what I have been going through only stuck there longer term, emotions just doing their thing and you’re left to figure it all out or be a victim of it. I’ve no intention of being stuck here because I feel there would be this hopelessness that would seep in and steal away joy and peace. So, here is what I will try. And I will see it if helps. I will focus on the hope. The great hope of God and heaven and so on AND little hopes of happy days in the sun, cool drinks, warm friends and will drive, even if the terrain has changed. It is still my boat and I will own it and make use of it. Have to.
Normally very happy because it is my choice to be so, it is strange to most that I too have sad days once in a while. I do nonetheless, and I want to explore and share it because you might need to pour out or understand some sad days too and you are not alone in that. Everyone, even perpetually happy people have moments of sadness or days or weeks or months even. For me, if I feel it for a day and have a good eye downpour, it passes by the next morning but that is just my experience. Most of the time my sad days center around my daddy, whose dementia is worsening by the day and I am watching slowly drift off to oblivion. That is my sad spot. We have good days and bad days but even his bad days he is not himself any longer, not fully. There is a point he has crossed where he will never be fully himself ever again. His body, always strong and will even stronger keep on even in their weekened state, but his mind is losing the battle. And missing him is not mourning him because some form still remains and I remember. So the pain is acute and long term. I miss my dad but still have him to visit and care for. And today that hit me hard because his mind wandered many paths during my visit, during our attempt at conversation. The second part of my sadness was my son having a cold but going to his dad’s house for the weekend where I can not take care of him and nurse him back to health, and when I asked how he was I received no response. That frustrates and saddens me because I care about the health of my boy. So these two factors and one other I cannot discuss had led me to the point yesterday where my eyes received a good cleaning and my mind dwelt on the sadness far too long. Sometimes you have to feel it. You have to just be sad. In fact, during said times, I try to be as sad as possible, making it far sadder with my imagination, picturing everyone I meet with hidden sadness and tears about to emerge. Then I can cry harder, more painfully, more heartfealt. What purpose does this serve? It cleans my eyes, for one. Secondly, it gets it over faster so I can move on to the rainbow after the flood. Thirdly, if I do this hard enough, I become ridiculous to myself and will turn it over into laughter. Maybe that is a little crazy, but a little crazy never hurt anyone and by the way do not judge me. lol. If I can convert the energy of the tears into a greater more positive energy of laughter, it helps everything and lifts my spirits, cheering me up afterwards. It is not that I negate or dishonor the sadness but that I pay it homage and respect it but then draw the line at it ruling my life. The sadness must never be the goal, must never rule the show. It is a means to an end, which is to remember that God gives joy and peace and comforts us when we mourn. That is the end of the story, you see, my friend. It is a happy ending. It is an ending worth pushing through to get to.