steeplechase.

I’m a little bit anxious today. I’ve been a little bit anxious for a few days, actually, in anticipation of this day. My Mom is coming to see me today. Just my Mom, just me. She’ll be here for a week. The last time I had her all to myself was when she rode out to the middle of the country with me and dropped me off about 19 months ago. Both my sisters have kids, everyone is somewhere on the east coast. It’s just easier for me to go home than for anyone to come out here. So, that my Mom is coming out here for a week just to be with me is…everything. In this moment it’s a whole lot of overwhelming tears, actually. If my Student Worker were to turn around right now, we would have an awkward moment, to be sure.

My Mom has been tracking with me in my Summer of Self-Care. She’s who said, “Come on, let’s go,” because something needed to be done and so she took me to her quacky-doctor. I love homeopathic-y, naturopathic-y people. They are -we are- so weird and wonderful. We are all these mystical, created by God beings. As such, our dirt and spit-made bodies know what they need and these wise healers know the language they speak. Growing up, I saw a homeopathic chiropractor for my allergies and, well, for everything. It was normal and nothing at all questionable, except to my friends who didn’t go to one and then it just sounded like cooky witchcraft. I suppose this might be true in the case of some alternative healers, but this hasn’t been the case in my own experience. In fact, my own version of spirituality has always been respected and incorporated in my natural healing practices because integrated healing and self-care really is a Total Body Experience. So I am thankful to my Mom for taking me to her new guy (since we don’t live in our hometown anymore), and I’m thankful to God for using that guy to tell me my body was a “crap-bag” at the time, how it got that way and what to do about it now.

The reason my Mom is coming out here is because I’m having a little procedure done on Friday. Not a big deal, an out-patient thing. It is like the unhealthy version of me, the one who sometimes lives in scarcity and unworthiness, to make an even lesser deal over this so I wouldn’t be any trouble for anyone. But, truth? I need my Mom to be here.

Awkward moment of tears again…please no one walk past my window right now…

I want my Mom to be here. When I told her I had set it up, I didn’t ask her to come. It turns out I didn’t have to. She’s had a very  full summer with my sisters and their kids, and July is a packed month for summertime in the South. Plus, tickets are freaking expensive, and I would have understood if it just couldn’t have worked out. I wouldn’t have asked.

Facilities guys just walked in. Crap.

They pretended like they didn’t notice I was wiping my nose with a Kleenex when they came to replace our coffee station. Or maybe I just overcompensated. Close call.

Who am I kidding. I cry, y’all. Not tons, but my tears aren’t really that locked up. It’s just that sometimes I cry over real things, and then sometimes I cry over…real-er…things. I live and work and breathe and have my being in an environment where if the Spirit moves, then I can’t not cry and it’s okay and even encouraged, even though I have to remain, you know…semi-professional. Actually, though, my tears are not unique to my environment, I just cry sometimes is all. My tears know no geographical bounds.

So I didn’t ask but I was secretly pleading with my Mom to come out here. I didn’t ask her not because I didn’t think she would come but, like I said, just because I didn’t want to trouble her. And I didn’t want to set myself up to be rejected, so I just didn’t ask. My Mom. Who never seems to be troubled by me at all. In fact, seems less and less troubled by anything or anyone, and only becomes more and more engaged in my life without really even trying because that’s the way of a good Southern Mama. She is just precious and awesome.

Isn’t that strange? I know it’s not right-thinking, and I know for some people to spend time with their parents really is a devastating or abusive thing and I do not mean to compare nor diminish either of our experiences. If that has been your experience, please know my heart breaks for your broken heart. I am so sorry and I am holding space now for you in mine. I really am. For the little girl who grew up in my bedroom on the back side of the big red barn-house, the one who felt like she was too much and not enough, the one who grew up to be an ego-maniac with a self-esteem problem and is becoming right-sized in both her head and her heart all over again, this is the way she sometimes still thinks. She – I – started thinking this way all over again when that thing that happened happened and then un-happened, but for the Grace of God.

Do you know what my Mom did for me then? Nothing. That is, she listened and allowed and supported without encouraging the situation. She and one of my six aunts even found a vintage dress for me when they weren’t looking. If she worried, she did not show it. I think mostly she just trusted because she knew it was she all could do. She knew she had to wait it out, and allow into being what was never meant to be, so that I would know there was space for me when it all came undone. And there was. She stood still in her own Spirit, not willing to lose her sweet and wild and stubborn-as-hell daughter again but not willing to fight except in the Spirit for her, and then to trust the Great Spirit with her.

It seems all our best fighting -mine, anyway, and that of this woman- is done standing still in strength and in peace and in freedom, holding onto Love. She is probably my greatest teacher of this even now.

This is what she did when I was drinking, too. On the way to my bottom, after my last very rowdy birthday party…well, we had a moment, she and I. A very quiet moment shared in the dark that was light that I will always remember and will ever be a step on my way down so I could come back up. Gosh, she is so brave and so strong and present. She has always been a great Mom and an incredible woman. But as we have all gotten older and each set off on our own pathway to freedom from our family disease, she became even more of the Mom she always wanted to be. That’s the Mom I have now. And she’s awesome.

And that’s who is coming to see me today. I didn’t ask and I didn’t have to, though in a place of worthiness and okay-ness I told her it would mean a lot to me if she could but I would understand if she couldn’t. But she and my stepdad just sort of got on it because I guess that’s what parents do for their children if they can. I don’t know why it’s surprised me, though. Perhaps because I’ve always lived within driving distance of my family until I got out here. They’ve done it for my sisters, why would I worry or doubt they would do it for me? So weird, but that’s the false belief of a girl who is just understanding she is worthy. And so now I get her all to myself for a whole week. Because I’m a daughter -a very classic Middle Child of Three Girls, actually- who is worthy of a Mom who loves her daughter who loves her mother, and she does and I do very much. I am very much my 36-almost-37 year old self in this moment. And I am also very much my 6-almost-7 and 16-almost-17 year old self, too. Isn’t that always how it is between daughters and mothers?

We’ll keep it simple, no extravagant plans. I have some loose ideas. She is spontaneous and fun and we love to do a lot of the same things. But usually the best plans I make with my Mom are the ones we don’t make at all. I look forward to showing her my world out here in the middle of the country, introducing her to my new people here, and her to them. I want them to know each other, so they can know who gave and gives me life and she can know who is my oxygen out here. Mostly, though, I’m just looking forward to being with her sans interruption or competition.

In my Summer of Self-Care, I am learning all over again that it’s okay for me to state what I need and say what I want just because I can. In fact, I must. It’s a gift, this. And then to stand still in my own Spirit and receive from my Father those very things, because I am worthy just because I am His Daughter. Also a gift. I am also learning that people aren’t my Promise. God is both the Promise and the Promise-Keeper. He alone makes them, and He alone keeps them. He is my Hope, and He is my Assurance of all things. However, somehow this “Hope and Assurance” used to look an awful lot like believing I was meant to settle for leftovers. “Poor in Spirit” was just plain poverty of soul. Scarcity. Every man for himself. Live or die trying. And this is just not God’s way. Love’s way.

These are all Truths I once knew. Shared them here, to be sure, because even if I may not have believed any of this to be true for me, I really did know it was all true for you. Oh, the vanity. But here I am now learning all that’s True -or a lot, anyway- anew, all over again. And this time I’m learning that what’s True of you is all True for me, too. There is plenty of Plenty to go around for all, and no one has to go without. But first, to trust Love.

Since laying down my armor and freeing up my arms, I have been in greater position to receive Love’s gifts.

And today, this day, is one of Love’s gifts.

xo

 

 

 

hey, henry.

belong.

i hear this word and i think of something i heard recently:

we all want to know we belong, even if we don’t fit in.

i think first of family, how different but same we all are, each of us bringing our own same but different personalities. i have never not been a “tyson girl”, even now that each of us are pushing 40. but when you know each of us, really know each of us, we each are gifted so different. each of us loves so uniquely, and we all laugh loudly.

and then i think of the girls who i spent every night of my college career with on stage, we called ourselves the favorites because we were and we weren’t. we were good, clean fun and we were trouble, too. and some days we were just troubled. and he loved and yelled at us because he believed and we belonged to him and to each other. we wouldn’t have chosen each other had we not chosen to show up for each other on that stage.

i think of friends at home, those with whom i have history long. people who, on a moment’s notice, i can call and talk to and neither time nor distance matter, because we belong to each other. and we all bring our special qualities to the table, and we celebrate one another for them. my best friend who now i never see or talk to for no real good reason at all, but we show up for each other. she is the reason i ever became funny, if ever i am funny.

when my dad died, and we were all three staying with another childhood friend, and we were getting coffee on our cute main street in our little big town and a friend from high school was heading back to his own dad’s flower shop. he stopped, and held my hand and looked me in the eye without filter, and said, “we’re going to take care of you today.” i had never til then not had a dad.

and now it makes me cry. you made me cry, boy i had a crush on 20 years ago.

and this was now almost five years ago, it was halloween day, exactly three years from the day i knew that this day would soon come if changes weren’t soon made and they weren’t and it did. none of us lived in our hometown anymore, but we all want to again. at some point, we might. everyone i know who is from there, it is our very favorite place, especially that piano man who didn’t know a stranger and had not one enemy other than himself and the devil. that man i love, the only one who has ever loved me the very best he could, all things considered.

and the next year in our new town when we moved from our hometown, still together because we belong to each other, we bumped into a man we would learn worked for the funeral home and we spoke of how kind and wonderful and gracious the owner was to us, mr. turnage who first buried my grandma and then my granddad the same year, and then my dad several years after that.

and we asked this stranger-friend there in the starbucks at the barnes & noble, my niece was already learning how to knit in his wife’s lap. she was 3 at the time, maybe 4 by then…we asked him about ghost stories or funny requests.

and not knowing us or the story, just that we had a dad and grandparents he helped us lower to the earth to become the earth but not yet our names, he said, “well, there was this one time not too long ago a family wanted to ride their dad down franklin street one last time, and it was halloween and there was a basketball game, too…”

yessir, we know that family, and thank you for that and for telling us our story because it’s now it belongs to you, too.

the world is kind and gracious and it is good and as times get harder, people are getting softer and more loving and kinder and better. and god is getting bigger and the world is getting smaller.

and we may not fit in, but we really do belong to each other.

xo

5-minute-friday-1it’s been a while since I’ve done a 5mf.

glad i did.

click that link there or the button beside, and you can belong there, too. xo

beating waves.

i feel a stirring in my spirit, new words are on their way as i process what god is doing in my heart through all of my current life teachers…getting over and working through and becoming more…

for now, for today…sometimes i write emails to my niece for her to read when she’s older. i have another niece and nephew and one day i will write letters to them, too. today, i offer my most recent one for her to you because i think parts of it might apply.

child,

i came home to be with you and the cousins back in may, and i was really depressed. my body had shut down after a really hard year, entirely. (it has been really hard for me to be away from you, my love.) i tried not to show this to you, but by the time you read this it will be okay for you to know it. you give and gave me so much life, just by you being you. i hope i had enough sense about me than to put pressure on you for more than this, or for anything at all.

one day toward the end of my trip, you invited me to play in the ocean with you. i wanted to be everything you needed me to be in that moment, but my soul was too tired and i couldn’t say “yes”. so i sat on the safe beach instead, watching you play all by yourself in the wild ocean. forgive me for not being there with you, but know that i was, little girl. i’m really sorry i missed that moment with you, but you didn’t seem to mind. you just laughed and played. i was -and have always been- in awe of how fearless you are. wave after wave, you kept getting back up. you would not be taken down. it was comical and awesome. it was comical because it was awesome. i couldn’t take my eyes off of you, mostly because i was afraid of you being out there by yourself, but you did it. you beat those waves, girl. one by one, you won over each of them just by getting back up. (y’all, please don’t judge me for leaving my child out in the ocean. i had my eye on her THE ENTIRE TIME.)

you are ferocious and brave and tenacious and courageous. but know you don’t always have to be. rather, brave doesn’t always have to look like a stiff-lip or being sassy or cute or tough. sometimes brave is being vulnerable, honest, open, even if -especially if- it’s hard. sometimes being brave is just speaking your truth; sometimes boldly, other times softly. being brave, really…is just trusting god. i think that’s all it really means, actually.

one thing i am learning now, a little bit late, is that i am worthy of a life that is good. i believed most of my life that i was never enough – not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough, cute enough, that i didn’t love god enough and that he couldn’t love me enough. in fact, i believed i was unlovable.

i do not see this in you, not at all. you have a confidence in you, child, that i wish had been offered to me when i was a little girl. i think it might have been offered, actually, but i did not know how to receive it or maybe it was taken away or i gave it away without knowing i ever had any.

i hope you are never assigned any responsibility other than just being a child while you are still a child. you just get to be a kid for many more years. don’t rush it. we all want this for you. i hope you will forgive us all if we ever ask more from you than this, which we might do without realizing it. but it’s each of our earnest desire that you just get to be a kid, and ENJOY being a little girl. we celebrate this in you, all of your little girl-ness.

forgive easily, child. know that we all want the best for you, and will do and are doing everything for you to have this, and to give you this. we will mess up. you will understand and appreciate later that we are all just grown-up kids, learning to get along and how to use the tools we’ve been given. some of our tools are broken, sometimes we don’t know how to use them.

in any case, should you ever receive this message in any way from anyone, i want you to know a few things: often people get jealous of things about us that other people love. things in us that god made, ways that we are wired, that are entirely awesome. sometimes people don’t know what to do with creative, big personalities like yours and mine. it’s okay. we can let them off the hook. we can love them, but we don’t have to believe them when they try to make us feel bad for just being who we are. in fact, i’ve learned to have compassion on them and, when i have the capacity, to invite them out to play. if they can’t come, sometimes we have to go in to find them. they just need a little help. other times, though, for our own health and sanity and well-being, we have to let them stay inside. remember they are still children of god, and we are not better. do not let these people keep you from enjoying your great and awesome life.

and you are, my girl. you are AWESOME.

something else, in case i forget to tell you: you aren’t responsible for saving the whole world, and a lot of people in the world need saving. a lot of people in the world who need saving just choose not to be saved. just love. that’s all god wants us to do. but love yourself first. that’s what i’m learning now, at almost 37. i’m finally learning this, that god really, really loves me and i am worth taking care of myself.

it is not your business what other people think of you. you are responsible for being YOU, perfectly. be exactly who god has created YOU to be, beautiful girl. be kind, compassionate, loving, gentle, thoughtful and fun – all the things you already are. i’m so excited for you to discover even moreso who you are, and see where all of your gifts and talents take you. i hope you will pursue life with gusto, just as you are doing now. don’t hide. don’t give yourself away too freely, either. but do be free. life will teach you what this means.

but what i really want to say, beautiful girl, in case you ever come to the place that you believe otherwise, and my prayer is that you don’t, that you will know that you are WORTHY of a life that is GOOD. as a child of god, as a human being, GOD LOVES YOU. just as you are. you don’t have to work at being you. you don’t have to strive to prove yourself worthy of approval. psalm 23 says, “the lord is my shepherd, i shall not want. he leads me beside still waters…” read the whole thing, beloved. that’s the life we’re meant for, one of rest and without worry. he will give you EVERYTHING you need. you don’t have to fight for a seat at the table, nor do you have to settle for scraps underneath. there is a seat for you already there that no one else can fill, and there is plenty of life for you to have at this table. the good kind of life. god  loves you, you are his child and he is your father. i prayed for you this morning that you would know jesus deeply at a young age, even now. mama loved and knew jesus in a really deep way when she was your age.

don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, or state what you want. you are worth this.

you are DEEPLY and FULLY and COMPLETELY loved, and you are fully and wholeheartedly loveable. one of my life teacher’s, karen, calls it “living from your spirit”. do this, sweet girl. you don’t have to seek outside attention or approval of any person. live from the inside out. the world needs you. you are so, so beautiful. you make valuable contributions to the world around you.

in any case, you are all of these, and you are worth all of this.

i love you and those other little people more than anything.

kk

 

born again.

i was born to laugh

i learned to laugh through my tears

and i was born to love

i’m gonna learn to love without fear

{born, over the rhine}

: : : : :

after laughing with my friend elle back home, i hung up the phone and went for a run on riverside last night. the night had cooled, it wasn’t almost dark yet but it was almost almost dark. i hate running now a lot less than i did when i started a few months ago. it’s less drudgerous, more enjoyable. less work, now it’s just something i do when i have time to do it. because it’s good for me, i make time for it at least a few times a week. i also still can’t believe i’m actually a runner, so i think that’s part of the reason i do it, too. to laugh at myself and also to prove to myself one more time that i am, in fact, a runner who runs. i run until i can’t run anymore, until i absolutely must stop, and so i give myself permission to walk for a few minutes. and then i give myself permission to run again, and i do it without thinking. my body knows what it needs, and so i don’t need to punish it by making it work harder. i push myself as it is, and of course want to build endurance. i am not lazy. but i don’t need to be mean to me. running is something i do but, again, it’s only part of and not all of who i am.

in my summer of self-care, i don’t try to time my day or plan my schedule outside of work, and i’m finding everything still gets done. in fact, more gets done because i’m not making anything more complicated than it needs to be. i am a responsible and capable adult, and i know what needs to get done and i am able to do those things without becoming a big baby about it. i don’t wear myself out dreading my homework. before, if i knew i had homework to do, i wouldn’t permit myself to do anything fun. i may or may not complete or even work on my assignment, but i definitely didn’t have permission to do anything i might actually enjoy. it turns out, in order for me to be responsible, i have to be more flexible and less rigid about, you know…life.

in general, i’m just trying to do a lot less thinking so i can be more thoughtful. gosh, i think a lot.

laughing with elle wasn’t the first time i laughed yesterday. i laughed with my friend here in tulsa when she recounted a horrific boyfriend-experience to another friend of ours. i had heard the story before, but this time i realized how scary the situation must have been at the time. she has so much freedom from it now. i realized a little while later that, eventually, i was no longer laughing about her situation, but about the one i found myself in a few years ago. lord, bless that time. the situation, the circumstances…i would never knowingly put myself through that again, but i can laugh about it now not for shame but for freedom. finally. i finally could laugh about it not because “what the bleep were you thinking?” but because it was funny. rather, it is funny now. funnier, anyway. haven’t we all been in questionable relationships, if we’ve lived long enough to make certain poor choices that we thought were good ones at the time? i really thought at the time it would be a good story and that god was in it. i chose the wrong thing for right reasons. there’s nothing inherently flawed with me that i chose it at the time or that i didn’t un-choose it sooner. i didn’t know a lot going into rushing into the situation that i came out smelling a little bit like smoke for in the end. i have a lot more compassion now, for him and for me and the situation itself. i thank god for that time with a little more ease now, and there’s nothing more about it i need to figure out or lesson that needs to be learned from it now. it was just something that happened. another story to tell. one day. maybe. i am finally letting myself off the hook for that one, though, and it’s about time. (by the way, the details i am talking about are not the ones you might be thinking about. i still don’t know if or when or how much of it to share, if i share it at all. i’m not trying to be vague, just cautious.)

in general, i’m becoming more patient with myself. with my recent health-stuff, i’m becoming nicer to me. at the end of my meeting this morning, the “mother” of my home-group hugged each of us, saying, “you’re so worth it”. and we are. i am. you are. we are worth kindness.

did you read jesus calling this morning? well, jesus called. he said to laugh more and stop taking ourselves so darn seriously. i needed to hear it, don’t you? good grief, i wear myself out – i literally wore myself out – thinking so much or trying to save everyone or striving so hard or thinking i’m so important. and it’s not that i’m not – it’s not that you’re not – but my one real job is just to show up each day. dukes down, palms up, arms open. not trying to figure anything out, but trusting there’s a plan and i won’t be left out of it. in fact, i might have more than a bit part to play if i just accept life on life’s terms. someone said that in a meeting yesterday, and i swear it was as if i was hearing it for the first time. i can’t believe i had forgotten this, one of the only true truths i really do know. life on life’s terms. just for today. so good. remember that today. xo

p.s. i recently read bittersweet by shauna niequist, so i just started following her blog because now i feel like we’re bff’s. in any case, it sounds like she’s in a similar place in her heart and soul, and i think you might like to read her story. xo

: : : : : : : : : :

Christians are no different from the rest in their nationality, language or customs. …They live in their own countries, but as sojourners. They fulfill all their duties as citizens, but they suffer as foreigners. They find their homeland wherever they are, but their homeland is not in any one place. …They are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They live on earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey all laws, but they live at a level higher than that required by law. They love all, but all persecute them.

{Address to Diognetus, as printed in The History of the Church, vol. 1 by Justo L. Gonzalez}

blessed are.

I was sitting in a car shop yesterday and had further thoughts after re-reading my friend’s email. I can’t get more honest than I am in emails to my friends. I can’t share their experiences or stories, but I can share with you where my heart is right now, in this moment. Or yesterday’s. xo

I had another thought about what you said today when I was running…it goes along with my other thoughts, but I think I’m in the process of piecing together a bunch of little thoughts that will turn into either one big thought, kinda, or a bunch of small ones that mean something greater.

About this is “part of who, but not all of who, we are”…My experience at school, both as a student and as an employee…it’s part of who I am, but it’s not all of who I am…I am a student there. I work there. But there is so much more to me than that place…in fact, it’s just a place. Only a place. And the spirit of God is there, but there is also a weird Christian culture…really, it’s everywhere there are Christians, we just kind of create and carry this weird Christianeseyness that I just don’t know if it really looks and acts like Jesus or not…and all I want is Jesus. I love His people – our people, my brothers and sisters – but I don’t fit in to the weirdness. I got to a place in recent months that I didn’t know if I even believed or not. But my counselor helped me put words around the weirdness that I didn’t have a language for. It’s not God or His people I don’t believe in. Just the weirdness.

I’m a creative because God has created me to be creative, just as He Himself is Creator. I am – you all, we all are – a creative church, created by the Creator. Again, only part of who I am- but it’s a pretty major part, maybe even moreso than the place where I spend so much of my time. I sacrificed it – that is, my creativity- for the sake of finding myself in this culture where I don’t belong. And I’m not sad that I don’t fit into it. I have a place there, just as I am. I don’t have to strive to fit in any further and I’m not a commodity. None of us are. I must show up each day to bring what only I can bring to the table, and to not offer what I don’t have to give. And this is enough, and it is beautiful. And as important as it is to be a student now, and do my job as best I can, it’s also important that I feed my creative soul and my body whole and healthy foods.

I realize I rush around and feel like I’m going to run out of time, all the time. Or like I won’t have all that I need when I need it. Or like I might not ever see you ever again. I think I started living that way when my dad died. I didn’t realize this until recently. And we’re just not meant to live this way, it’s not how God intended. I miss seeing people when I live in scarcity. When I feel like I’m going to run out of everything. I don’t want to miss seeing people, or having real experiences. Like my little theater in college where he begged and pleaded with us to see each other and ourselves. To be present. To really, really live in and be in the moment and not sacrifice that moment for the next one, or treat as if we’re waiting on The Next Best Thing. When we got there, we knew it. And it was so, so beautiful. There were so many of those moments, ones that can’t be written about or maybe even remembered. We didn’t have Facebook or Instagram or Twitter then. We just got to be there, and live there, and have these beautiful, real-life moments where true vulnerability happened. We couldn’t share them with anyone who wasn’t present with us at that time, in those moments. The irony is not lost on me that it was called Little Theater at the time, my first year its’ last.

I’ve gotten a little bit hard and mean through all of this, but that’s all changing now, too. Others would say this isn’t true, but I feel like it is at least a little bit true of me. This isn’t years of build-up, just since I got here. I reverted to old mindsets and started hearing old tapes again. I’ve never really moved before, and this all might have been my experience had I stayed in NYC. When I got here, I guess I lost security within myself and my sense of being. Karen calls it “living from your Spirit”, and I think it’s really been a long time since I’ve done that, truly. Honestly, if that’s the case, then it’s been about 2 1/2 years, really. When I gave up my voice and started living -striving- from the outside, trying to figure everything out instead of knowing on the inside that I know what I don’t know and a tiny bit about what I do, and that all of it is Good. Karen said it would take this long. Made me mad at the time. I get it now.

So that’s what I’m coming back to now, 18 months after coming out here. Remembering who I am, even as I re-discover who I am and also as I evolve into more of who I am. Who I am now, at this point in my life. In a lot of ways, I’m the me I’ve always been. In a lot of ways, I’ve grown up a lot and care less about things I used to think were so important that just aren’t. I’ll be 37 on my next birthday.

I was eating berries this afternoon, from a bowl and with a spoon instead of out of the carton. That is, I was intentional about eating food that was nourishing and good for me. I said to God, “I love these delicious berries. Thank you for creating fruit, God. You did good.” And then a few seconds later, I thought, “If I feel like life is always a fight, then I will keep my gloves on. But if I embrace life like this fruit, so beautiful and delicious and good for me, then my heart will live in abundance and not scarcity. It’s time to take the gloves off now.” It is easier to enjoy fruit without my gloves on.

I have learned all of this before, but I feel as though I’m learning it all for the first time. And maybe I am, in a way. Or like I’m learning it anew in this place where I am now.

Part of, but not all. I was really thinking about it at the gym.

The fact that you are seeking this means you are already living it.

Yes, my friend. That is the thing. That is what it means to be poor in spirit. You aren’t wrong about this. To know that we don’t know, and to press in and seek and wrestle til we know even more that we still don’t know but maybe we’ve become softer to God and more sensitive to others. To be poor in spirit frees, alternating between tears and laughter or both at the same time, the best time of all. The hospital, seeing the Big Picture, just like you said. Discovering one step at a time our role in it. Hospital, not the Super Bowl. Right now, in this moment.

Thank you for what you said about people loving me. Again, I sort of started believing again that I was a burden and so I’ve acted like that’s what I believe, living life as one big apology instead of with the inherent knowledge that I really am enough and all I will ever be is enough. Not too much, and not not enough. Just right. Like a bowl of porridge. I am, you are, porridge. I’m remembering again that this is the truth, that there are people who really love me like I love them. And neither of us are burdens. Isn’t it funny how we see one another in such sweet light, but not ourselves?

I don’t think Jesus asks us to be perfect because He doesn’t need for us to be. I think He just wants us to be broken and to trust Him. He knows we can’t be perfect, but wants us to know that He is, and we almost are because we look like Him. Such a strange and simple and beautiful mystery, what we believe. I think our job is just to love Him and let Him love us and love others, with all that we have even if it’s not much and especially if it’s too much. Sloppy, messy, lavish, too much love is still better than not loving enough. I think we just get to show up each day with courage and trust, with whatever it is we have to offer, knowing that God delights in us no matter what. We’re meant to enjoy life a lot more than we -I- do. I think that’s part of the deal, too. To not wait for Life, but to create space for Life, pursuing Life and inviting Life in, and allowing Life to happen.

Just more thoughts after reading your thoughts again. Thank you for sharing with me, and for doing all of this with me.

xo

scraps from the table.

i received one of the most honest emails earlier this week in response to one i had sent…which was in response to one this person had sent…

i was going to tell all of you this, too, and realized i may as well just tell it to you in the way i told it to this person, unfiltered.

this is what i learned this week, where i ended up.

love you guys. xo

i have been loving your words all week, not even sure how to respond or contribute or participate in the conversation. yes to all of it. the Super Bowl…yes…i never lived in a fantasy. some days i wanted to, but have known since i was 13 that my life was marked by sadness and trust. that was when everything changed, when i found out sitting on my sister’s twin bed about my dad.

you’ll appreciate that in therapy this week, i realized two things: one, i was reminded how good therapy is for me. i’m an external processor, either in person or in writing. i’ll get caught on something, or trip over it. i’ll start on it, and then talk about it -a therapist asks good questions- until i come up with the discovery i was always trying to make through whatever the issue. and so, two, the discovery i made this week in talking about whatever the thing was, is that i don’t know when, not sure if it’s important, but i stopped asking for help. i don’t ask for what i need or state what i want. i stopped advocating for myself.

there are several reasons for this. one being, that in some weird christian culture, we are taught to just be “humble” and “serve” and that gets blurred and lines get crossed because somehow we are taught to just “trust god” and it comes at the expense of being hurt and then becoming angry. we are taught, basically, not to be needy or even have needs because “god will provide”. and he does, certainly. but i believe that we are meant to need each other, and that you might have what i need or i might be able to provide something that she needs. or we could at least help guide each other.

over the last year, i was so busy “serving” that i fell apart. i should have been gluten-free since high school. i should have asked people to modify my dinner, or not eaten that candy bar just because i wanted it and was feeling emotional or that biscuit because someone brought it to me as a gift and i didn’t have the heart, nor did i want to, say “no”. i didn’t advocate for myself because – and this is the thing – i haven’t valued myself enough. and that is our biggest sin. that, in our pride, we don’t value who we are as children of god. that we don’t love god enough in us, or we think we’re the one child he doesn’t love like all the others, and so we just ignore our needs. we become destitute and isolate, though. and then who are we serving at all? and this is what i became in the last year. not taking care of myself, being responsible for my temple – my emotional, mental, physical well-being – and i now know that i must be my own advocate. to know that god has made me worthy, and only god makes me worthy, but because of this i am allowed to – i must – ask for what i need, and take care of myself accordingly.

hospital, not the Super Bowl. my friend brennan manning used to say, “church should look more like aa.” like a hospital. a place where people who know they are broken go for hope. if they get fixed, even better. but at least a place where they know hope for wellness might be offered. and i don’t mean church, the building. we are the church, built and designed to love and care for and take care of each other. to offer up our need because we’re all in this together, either faking it or making it, and we can all do something for each other and better by each other. it all really boils down to love and doing life together. we’re not islands, but we -i- act like i am. it just doesn’t work. i’ve really learned that first-hand this year. i’m still exhausted, but recovering slowly and not beating myself up in the process.

looking back now, i realize that during my drinking days, and this is what i tell people now – i didn’t know how loved i was. i knew god loved me, but i didn’t know just how loved i was. and so i acted out because i felt unloved, and unlovable. i didn’t care for myself because no one cared for me. this, of course, wasn’t true. but i blamed and victimized…i wanted someone else to take care of and make decisions for me. and now, how that is playing out now, i know my life is my responsibility, but i have been negligent. i’m being pro-active now, an active participant again.

someone said to me yesterday, “and then i loved him” -but, the thing is, i can only love god back within the context that i understand his love for me. i can only be in love with him as much as i know he is in love with me. through whatever filter i know his love to be “true” is the filter through which i experience and respond to his love. if i see him as mad at me or disappointed or myself as a burden, then i will respond to god as if these are true things. if i know in my bones that he loves me, without measure or condition, that he is good and kind and generous and owns all of everything in the world, that i am his daughter and i belong to him…then i know i have value and i understand better my worth, and i respect others’ worth better, too. i love better and treat myself with kindness. any amount of love i show to god is only in direct response to the measure i know his love for me.

he’s telling me through all of this now, teaching me how to ask him for what i want, to tell him what i need. to tell others, if that’s what it means. in any case, to be my own advocate and know that i’m loved and that he has it to give, all of it. everything. my soul isn’t meant to live in depravity, either in relationships or all of life. but i must be the one to feed myself, whatever that means. today, it means i Skyped for a long time with my little people and responded to your email and another friend, and there’s another one i will respond to later. it means i juice green things, and eat fresh berries because they are just so delicious. it means i will close up this computer and go for a run, take zella for a walk, and then get over to the free second saturday at a museum where, sadly, i haven’t yet been. it means going to get a car repair that i can’t actually afford, but i must be pro-active. and then going to church and then hunkering down with my books and pounding out 3-week late answers for my class. thank god that i have a kind and compassionate and gracious teacher.

by the way, i will be addressing my ADD in therapy this summer. my counselor told me to get a hold of dan amen’s book, “healing ADD” – my mom and sister had just ordered his collection when i got home, so my mom has sent all of his material to me. my counselor is going to read the book with me. i was diagnosed in college, but lived all of my life until then undiagnosed, and never was treated for it again after college. wonder how it will change my life to learn coping skills for it now. he thinks my depression is largely linked to this, in addition to the whole thyroid thing.

what i’m learning is, i’m not just here to serve others. not in the way i become a doormat and just hope that i’m fed somehow. i have found myself eating scraps from the table again, and that’s just not god’s way. we all have a place at the table, and i don’t have to fight for mine or squeeze in wherever i fit. the table is big enough for us all, and there is plenty there for all to have and none will go hungry. but we have to respond to the invitation to come and sit and enjoy the feast of life, and choose not to accept the lie that all that’s left for me is scraps. i learned a long time ago, when i went to family rehab with my dad, that i have to take care of myself first before i take care of anyone else. that is, in order to take care of anyone else. the changes i’m making now are lifestyle changes. my schedule will be the same in the fall: work and school. our students come back, so i will be busier in the day, but my lifestyle will not have to change. so i’m not amping up this summer just to let it all go in the fall.

therapy and aa teaches me to speak in “i/me” language, but i feel like it sounds so self-absorbed in response to your email, or anyone’s. i’m in agreement with all that you said, whole-heartedly. whole-heartedly…have you read anything by brene brown? read daring greatly.

i love you. i appreciate knowing we’re the same, you and i. i’m both sorry and grateful for what you had to go through to get there. you are one of my life’s greatest and best teachers. thank you for being open and honest and sharing with me. your stuff is my stuff, and i will hold it with you. thank you for holding mine, too.

xoxoxo

merits: a love sandwich.

 

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i have never not known robin. her husband and my dad had been best friends since they were 5 years old. my mom became their friend in the third grade, and then robin moved to their hometown in high school. this is a picture of my two mothers, taken last summer. something was wrong then. we found out not long after this picture was taken what she was facing.

i spoke to my mom this morning, who had been to see them yesterday. she said robin had one foot in heaven. she said i should call bobby. she called me a little while later to find out if i had talked to him yet. when i did call him, we spoke for a while…catching up and cutting up…he thought i knew…

my heart is broken. i am, of course, sad. i’ve experienced enough death to know that we will see her again, that heaven rejoices. i know my dad was the first one to greet her after jesus and they are having a ball together up there. but i cannot imagine a world that is more beautiful in her absence. that is, she made the world around her just. so. lovely. because of her real and authentic presence. hers was not a life absent from pain and defeat. but she had more grace than anyone i have ever, ever known.

she rescued me during my darkest days. she is one of the hugest, brightest and best parts of my own story. everyone who knew her has stories they could tell of how she showed up for them. always, she would show up. many days she would show up when i didn’t know i needed her.

i want my life to look like hers. to have as much grace as she had for others and herself, to live so fully into the heart of jesus.

today, there is a chasm in the universe. you may not feel it where you are, but you would know it if you knew her.

today is also my little sister’s birthday. robin was her pre-school teacher. they were always very close, too. so close, actually. since sarah hope was a child, she and robin had this deep and sweet spiritual connection.

i am jealous. i am sad. my heart is broken and my soul rejoices. intellectually, spiritually, i get it. i understand death. but i cannot imagine life on this earth without you on it. thank you for making the world a more beautiful place to live, for your investment into hearts and lives.

and for making the perfect love sandwich. xo

i wrote the following post on january 11. (this previously said april 1, for some reason  - it was a draft, and that might have been the last date i looked at it, don’t know. i had just gotten back to tulsa when i wrote it after the holidays.) i didn’t publish it then because i didn’t know. i wanted to believe. i was holding on, too. but i knew when i saw her at christmas it would be the last time. 

had a long lunch in my hometown that i love more than just about any place on the planet; to where i will likely not return for any duration.

lunch was so long and so good that i accidentally missed an appointment which was just a guise for getting there i know now, with two of my sister-friends who have lived just a little bit longer than i have. we talked about life and death and ducks and pandas and peacocks and things of god and drugs and dessert and diets and children and husbands and our dogs.

and we laughed and cried and talked loud and quiet about all things the way you can only do with people who, for lack of a better way of saying it, kinda don’t care anymore but only because they care so much.

and it was glorious and it was good. so good.

and they helped me catch my breath.

but noticeably absent from this day was a third of the four women who held up both my hands and pressed their faces low on my behalf, who helped me grow when i did but did not want to during some really hard and best years. (the fourth lives on the opposite side of the country now, which is relative when i live in the middle now. karen would be a fifth but is in my life, and in the lives of some of these, her own separate prowess.)

this third is also her own entity as she is the wife of my dad’s best friend since they were five years old, and she came on the scene when my dad, mom and her husband were all in high school.

i remember being 5-ish, and i remember being 5-ish because i have a picture of sarah hope and i standing on the back of the field on this day and i am scratching my leg in my white-with-blue-trim dress and pigtails. and my first memory of her is sitting with her earlier the same morning on the property of our ministry before she got married, on the day she was getting married to this man my dad loved more than anyone ever, and she just talked to me and my 3-year old sister like we were her friends on any other day. she was wearing a denim shirt and her dark hair flowed and she glowed.

i have never seen her not glow.

she is the rarest of beauties, the kind of beautiful that is just so beautiful you want to cry because in her presence you are yourself made more beautiful. time stands still, or you wish that it could and maybe it does, because in her presence the world is that much more beautiful. she is so filled with jesus, looks and talks and acts so much like him, in a way that is as natural as breathing because, for her, it really is as natural as breathing.

but only in the way that a soul abides deep on the vine, and has only learned to abide deep on the vine because of the weather and the seasons that alternately love and abuse.

this woman whom i have never not known was diagnosed with a horrible, gross, destructive kind of the c-word that is, in theory, supposed to but we are believing that it will not. this news would only be more difficult for me to understand or painful to accept if it were news about my own mom.

and i’m not sure i am ever more present than in the supernatural presence of such natural reality and i was on a holy day over the holidays with my sister and some of our cousins, there in her cabin that she brought and brings to life for those she loves most, and those she loves most are everyone she meets because she sees and serves and lives for and loves jesus in all because he, most assuredly, is in all.

and, also, the beauty.

the kind of beauty that hurts in the best of ways.

my friend, a mother more like a sister whom god used to gently love me back to life on some of my darkest days, and to rejoice with and figure out things of god and life – or not –  throughout my whole life. i simply cannot imagine being in a world that is not daily made brighter and more beautiful and so much better by her soft and gentle and strong light.

so, we pray that the stars and the moon and the sun will not dim.

and we are only a composite of those like these, all of the above, through whom god loves us so well.

those to whom we can only pay back in kind with harvest seeds of thanks and they wouldn’t ask but we would, without question, offer up our own life if only he would allow but he already has done so.

this was going to just be part of a larger story of the things i learned while i was home for the holidays. i think i learned some things on your behalf that i will gladly share.

but perhaps this was the only thing that was anything at all.

more later.

xo

meet & greet.

this is the final post in our study of romans. thanks for joining us!

Romans 16, nlt {emphasis mine}

Paul Greets His Friends

1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, who is a deacon in the church in Cenchrea. 2 Welcome her in the Lord as one who is worthy of honor among God’s people. Help her in whatever she needs, for she has been helpful to many, and especially to me.

3 Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in the ministry of Christ Jesus. 4 In fact, they once risked their lives for me. I am thankful to them, and so are all the Gentile churches. 5 Also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home.

Greet my dear friend Epenetus. He was the first person from the province of Asia to become a follower of Christ. 6 Give my greetings to Mary, who has worked so hard for your benefit. 7Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did. 8 Greet Ampliatus, my dear friend in the Lord. 9 Greet Urbanus, our co-worker in Christ, and my dear friend Stachys.

10 Greet Apelles, a good man whom Christ approves. And give my greetings to the believers from the household of Aristobulus.11 Greet Herodion, my fellow Jew. Greet the Lord’s people from the household of Narcissus. 12 Give my greetings to Tryphena and Tryphosa, the Lord’s workers, and to dear Persis, who has worked so hard for the Lord. 13 Greet Rufus, whom the Lord picked out to be his very own; and also his dear mother, who has been a mother to me.

14 Give my greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who meet with them. 15Give my greetings to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and to Olympas and all the believers who meet with them. 16Greet each other in Christian love. All the churches of Christ send you their greetings.

{paul makes it clear that he has not forgotten, and in fact wants to honor, those who have paved his way through ministry. something important for each of us to remember, no?}

Paul’s Final Instructions

17 And now I make one more appeal, my dear brothers and sisters. Watch out for people who cause divisions and upset people’s faith by teaching things contrary to what you have been taught. Stay away from them. 18 Such people are not serving Christ our Lord; they are serving their own personal interests. By smooth talk and glowing words they deceive innocent people.19 But everyone knows that you are obedient to the Lord. This makes me very happy. I want you to be wise in doing right and to stay innocent of any wrong. 20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

21 Timothy, my fellow worker, sends you his greetings, as do Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, my fellow Jews.

22 I, Tertius, the one writing this letter for Paul, send my greetings, too, as one of the Lord’s followers.

23 Gaius says hello to you. He is my host and also serves as host to the whole church. Erastus, the city treasurer, sends you his greetings, and so does our brother Quartus.

25 Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time26 But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him. 27 All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.

awake, o sleeper.

today, you woke me in hours early to say i love you and i know in my being, heart of my hearts, this to be true and i arose from slumber deep with a thankful heart and the peace that passes that all is well

and i am okay.

good morning day three of welcoming this foreign agent into my foggy body and i know it will take a few weeks before i’m no longer bug-eyed and i can eat again and sleep with rest but i am for now again thankful for my saving grace.

and i am ready for my soul to rest and my spirit to soar and for my heart to not be weepy anymore. and perhaps and most likely it’s psychosomatic that i only just found hope again on tuesday in his office and already feel good inside but it’s all jesus, every bit…

rescuing me, pulling me up step-by-step and out of the hole i stumbled into again but i will leave the gorilla there because that’s where he lives best, where he belongs, and i don’t need him here on the outside.

i feel alive, i feel free and i feel awake again. ready to face the day and all that it holds, with open arms and a willing heart and a spirit inside that heartily offers a resounding, yes.

alive, free and awake.

a good way to start the day, the new year, off with a bang.

   “Awake, O sleeper, 
      rise up from the dead, 
      and Christ will give you light.”

-ephesians 5:14, nlt

you have once again awakened this deep sleeper come alive again in every way.
and i will live and breathe and have your being, from the deep calls to deep…
lord, have your way in me this day.

today’s prompt: awake

join us?

write before you read, without edit or filter.

you are always welcome to use a comment-space here if you don’t have one of your own to fill.

you can find my previous 5mf posts here.

tears of a clown.

i have felt like a crazy person for the last couple of months.

i have been irritable, self-centered, and extremely cranky. pissy, i say.

i don’t even use the word pissy normally. that’s an annoying & gross word. this is also a sign to myself.

i have not been available in ways i am when i am my most generous self.

i have been impatient and unkind, not at all characteristic of me on my better days.

(i have also found myself to be self-righteous.)

i have judged people in ways i haven’t heard myself judge in a really, really long time. the kind of judging others that you learn in your first few therapy sessions are actually the characters flaws you see in yourself. and, quite honestly, it disgusts me. i am not that way, not normally. it’s weird and i hate it. 

i have gotten on my own nerves, so i would understand if i have gotten on yours.

the most heartbreaking part of this whole mess that is, well…me…over the last few months is that i have especially lacked grace where i would like to think it has otherwise flowed so freely.

grace is my…well, if i don’t have and show grace? she who knows how much has been and is continuously extended to her? who fights for and seeks it and pursues it with vigilance and hello, it’s in my very own blog-tag? grace is the very heart and soul of my being. 

like i said, that’s been The Most Heartbreaking Part Of It All for me. it really devastates my heart because i know better. i don’t know differently. (not anymore.) but i have acted as if i don’t know better and i do know differently and this sucks.

i have been very up and down and all over the place and sideways these last months. i could blame it on certain crazy-making people or circumstances because there are a few of those, too. but, the truth is, i have lost some of my tools and have forgotten how to use other ones which, even around my crazy-makers, i am normally capable of making better sense of the world and of myself when i am in my right mind.

surprisingly, i haven’t made a fool of myself or lost my shit in public or toward my family or said anything to anyone i would have to later repent for saying.

(that i can think of, anyway.)

i have had the wherewithal, fortunately, to call out The Cranky and apologize or stop or remove myself before severely manifesting. that, and i’ve pretty much only put myself around folks i know that i know that i know wouldn’t bring out The Cranky or would love me through it, and have avoided those that i feared i could hurt with The Cranky. i don’t trust The Cranky. down with The Cranky.

the sad alternative, though, has been that i have isolated and climbed back into my very hollow, uncomfortable shell.

i am not surprised. i know where i am. 

i recognize this place. this lonesome, dark, full-of-fear place.

it is not the place of my holiday funk, though i hoped for a moment that’s all that it was.

there are days and even just moments when i have thought, no, i’m okay. it’s passed.

but the truth is, i tripped a few months back and have slowly fallen backward into the very lonely, dark hole that is my depression.

hell, who am i kidding? it’s not been backward at all. i pretty much dove in, face first. because that’s what happens when i, you know, try to play my own hero.

i cry when no one’s looking and sometimes when they are, if i am especially safe in their company. in this place, i get stuck and i can’t get myself out. and even if i could, i don’t have the energy to try. i have heard myself say a few times that i feel lost and alone. i can’t make sense of very much and i’m motivated to do even less than that. things that usually roll off my back have bothered me in ways that nag.

to be real honest with you? if you were to call me a dry-drunk, i wouldn’t couldn’t get upset with you.

well, and to lay it all bare for you? i’m real surprised i haven’t just forfeited all my chips but for the grace of god. i have enough sense about me to know i can’t go back there again, though i can’t say it hasn’t been a thought in my mind.

(we’re only as sick as our secrets, right? so, there’s mine.)

i leave the shoebox because i have to work (thank god), but most mornings i attempt to beg the day not to come by forcing my eyes not to open. (strangely enough, this doesn’t work. i know. ODD.)

i still fight for myself as best i can.

sweet little zella-girl makes me take her on long walks (scratch that, reverse it) and i make myself listen to either worship or my favorite fun songs as we bumble along down the road. and the breeze feels good on my soul.

some days, i will call friends in order to get outside of myself.

on my very best days, i will have coffee with a friend.

but most days, i cancel plans or say no all together.

i want to get out of myself. i have wanted to say yes. i haven’t wanted to be here.

but most days i haven’t been able to be anywhere else.

and, unfortunately, this hole isn’t big enough for company.

depression isn’t moodiness. and it’s not what normies might liken to a bad day. it’s not feeling sad (not on any normal level, anyway). for one, it’s chemical. so, there’s that. but, for two, the last time i found myself here, i said it is like i am in a black, me-sized hole and god can’t reach down far enough and i can’t reach up high enough for us to get to each other.

it’s just that also with me in the hole, see, is this monkey on my back. only he’s more like a gorilla. a limp, lame, deaf, dumb, blind and mute gorilla. just hanging out. on my back.

down, down, down into the hole the gorilla and i go. went.

and down, down, down the gorilla and i will stay until one of us gets restless enough to try and get out again.

even still, i pray. oh, i pray, i pray, i pray…believe me, i pray.

and i have felt close to god, perhaps closer in these long legs of my journey than in any other…which i guess probably sounds strange? that i would feel so close to god, yet so far away?

i know god is and has been there each time i have found myself in the hole (which, incidentally, has been three very significant times; this being the third.) karen first made me aware of my depression in the first 30 minutes of my very first appointment with her after i had been sitting in it comfortably like a sad, drunk, homeless person living beneath a bridge for the better part of my life. that is to say, i was 26 when i faced and started dealing with what she thought landed on me like a disease around the time i was 13. the spiral began the second time…around this time of year, actually…four years ago, when i first moved from my hometown to the town where i now live.

the thing is, it’s always looming. it’s not like it strikes from nowhere when i’m not looking. in between the three times i was staring at it directly in the face, it was always hanging around, waiting for me to notice or engage it. like the dark, brooding bad-boy (ahem #ryangosling #badboyworldtour #jordancatalano) who hangs around outside the soda shop smoking & playing it cool, waiting for the pretty girl to notice him, only he acts like he doesn’t notice her just so he can get her to notice him.

my depression is kinda like that. 

i know the bad-boy isn’t good for me, but i kinda feel sorry for him and wonder what the mystery is all about. plus, i think i kinda like danger.

but then i get swept up in his sad drama and maybe i even start smoking again and i wear his leather jacket and my friends stop calling and when i realize i can’t figure him out because he can’t be figured out, i remember why i should have just walked on by the first time i saw him. and the second.

there are ways i can make it more difficult for myself, and ways i can live with it more manageably and actually enjoy a happy, fun and successful life. six or so months ago, i made the best decision i could make for myself at the time when i gradually took myself off my anti. but what i couldn’t pay for with insurance, i have paid for in deuces with this fog i’ve been walking through.

i’m not suicidal, but i wouldn’t care very much if i slipped off the attic step. or if that car hadn’t seen me. or what if…i just…disappeared? those are the unsettling kind of thoughts i’ve had.

uplifting, no? encouraging, isn’t it.

the thing is, i know how pitiful i sound in my depression. maybe it’s all the therapy or too much aa, but i have enough self-awareness to know that to those who can’t relate (thankfully), i sound really, really pitiful. so i’m doing well to laugh at myself.

and the limp, lame, deaf, dumb, blind and mute gorilla.

who sometimes gets his feelings hurt.

and has itches he can’t scratch.

i walk around in a haze or a daze, depending on the day, and i paint my face and plaster on my smile and pray, pray, pray that i can make it through the day without falling apart completely because, were that to happen, i wouldn’t have a very good reason for it.

or any reason at all.

i could have seen it coming. i did, actually. and those who were paying attention best of all saw it coming, too.

i was just hoping it wouldn’t. come, i mean.

i tried to talk it out of coming. tried to convince the depression not to come.

but it did. it has. the depression is here. and it’s been here for the last few months.

you shouldn’t be surprised about it, either. in fact, you probably aren’t. because don’t you remember the day i told you how i lost my insurance and weaned myself off my anti?

i was secretly thankful and thought maybe my depression wasn’t as bad as it had been before, or maybe i just didn’t have it anymore. you know…like a virus. 

i fought it. i was pro-active in the beginning. i asked friends to pay attention, and they did.

i tried.

i tried, i tried, i tried. oh, how i tried. believe me, i tried.

i tried not to have it again.

i tried not to be depressed.

but i can’t try not to have depression, i realize now.

there aren’t words enough to pray my way out of it, no matter how loud or hard or quiet i am or close to jesus i feel.

(don’t you know i would if i could? if that were enough? all that it took to get me out of the hole and over the hump?)

but i can glorify god through it.

it’s a slow fade but i see it now. i recognize it. i know it all too well now.

the gift that is my depression, i mean.

but things will be different on tuesday.

everything will be better on tuesday.

see, i am considered high-risk because i’ve been treated for both a melanoma and depression; therefore, i qualify for guv’ment-based insurance, which kicked in for me on january 1. (say what you will about our president, i could kiss him on the mouth for the new healthcare system.)

so i’ve very willingly tucked my tired tail between my paralyzed legs and me and the gorilla are surrendering again to my p.a. tomorrow.

as it were, i only checked in with him for about 15 minutes every few months, so he doesn’t know i broke up with him and my anti. (totally awesome of me, i know.) i was just sort of hoping he wouldn’t, you know…notice…so we wouldn’t have to…you know…have a weird, awkward break-up talk when i would tell him it’s not him, it’s me, when we really shouldn’t have ever been together in the first place and

wait, what?

um, anywho

(weird.)

anyway, i’m not sure what to expect when he finds this out, though i’m sure i’m not his first client who tried to save her own day. like i said, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

but this i know, of this one thing i am certain:

come tuesday, i will have hope again. 

an aside: i told leigh when i finished writing this on saturday night that i realize i haven’t really shared this part of my journey with you all. she said it may not have been time, or perhaps it wasn’t on my heart, before. good point, i told her. (she is always full of good points, that one.) better to write on in when i’m in the thick of it, i said. or…when there’s a soon-and-coming hope.

{thank you, jesus, for being my one-and-only hope.}

another aside: just as it took several weeks to get out of my system, it will likely take a few weeks for my anti to get back in to my system. i am praying against for minimal side effects during this time. but, just so you know, it may get worse before it gets better. and by ‘it’ i mean ‘i’. the good news, the part i know you’ve all been waiting for, is that i lost weight the last time i started taking it. so, here’s hoping. :)

i fear i have not won the battle against my flesh over these last months, so please know how profoundly sorry i am if i have made any off-color remarks to you or said or done anything that has been hurtful, even virtually. admittedly, i lack a filter between my brain and my mouth but i can usually access my delay button so please, please forgive me if i have failed to use that button when i should have but forgot. or just didn’t, but should have.

(as long as it’s something that actually does belong to me.)

(dang. see what i mean? the no filter thing.)

ugh. everything will be better on tuesday.

(for all of us.)

i promise.

thanks for loving me.

xo

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