I just spent an hour untangling a cord of multi-colored Christmas lights. In May. Because I need me some multi-colored light action on my balcony, yes I do. It was quite an experience, surprisingly, untangling the lights. At one point I almost cried a little because I so miss the family who gave us the lights. They just left Germany and were the closest friends we’d made in many years, somehow closer than family. Living overseas is strange. You bond with friends in a way that supersedes the kind of friendships anywhere else. But you see, we are the stayers. I am she who stays. Because of the transient community my husband’s line of work serves, everyone I love in my here-and-now life eventually leaves. It’s a difficult theme to live out year after year. For the first decade of this gig, I did pretty well. I just doled out my soul’s lifeblood over and over again to precious women of faith, who became my sisters, in turn. I was so richly rewarded with that incomparable communion among believers that promises heaven is real.
But somewhere along the way, I got seriously wounded. An actual earthquake completely rocked my world. I lost my mind for a good long while (really) and then I lost a whole nation. And it broke my heart. So then I got scared. And basically I haven’t stopped being scared since. Scared to love again. Scared to go anywhere because I know I can’t help but love again if I do go anywhere.
I have loathed myself for years for only knowing this one way to love. For my complete lack of boundaries. I only know how to make this blood-sisters covenant with you that no-matter-what, I will still love you. I will not give up on you. I will continue to encourage you and have a lifelong conversation with you, even if there are arguments or disagreements or extended silences in between. No big deal. I’m in this for life. I honestly don’t know any other way to love than deep and wide, but to a fault, I’ve started to think. Other people, the normals maybe, don’t seem to love like that, I’m just now noticing. You can absolutely piss them off one time too many and then they just ghost you and haunt your dreams. There have been a few people I loved so fiercely that hot tears burn my face every time I think of them—of how they just gave up on me, on us. And how I didn’t see it coming. I never see it coming.
Now that it’s happened a few times, I’ve retreated farther and farther into my own mind and I’ve slowly become an emotional recluse.
I’m really trying now to claw my way out of the pit. God is the only one who can get me out of this pit, but I’m getting antsy down here now. And I’m crying OUT to the Lord, and I feel like He’s coming soon. I’m trying to get out of the house (sometimes just the bed) every day; to move and eat and drink water; to read things that enrich my soul and memorize and meditate on Scripture every day; to write out my gratitudes and cry out in my grief; to engage with the world in some way daily. But it’s so, so hard, you guys. I don’t want to do these things. I want to stay in the fetal position in my bed and cry all day long. I wake up most mornings with a grievous, audible gasp that I have to do it all over again. It has been this way for too long. Most days, tears fill my eyes within moments of awakening. Today is Mother’s Day, and I woke up to my sweet seven year-old Sam asleep peacefully in my arms. So instead, I contorted my face and groaned inward and silently, letting out my morning’s mourning against being awake again today.
So obviously, I’m depressed. Duh. It’s embarrassing, but it’s real, dude. And I’m the one who has to live in my head, so I’m done trying to say the right thing all the time. I’m done waiting on whatever before I talk about it. I’m just doing what I have to do. The last thing a depressed person wants to do is freaking chronicle their chronic heartbreak. But for years I’ve felt like I need to tell my stories—maybe just for me. I don’t know. I don’t have much wise to say, in my estimation. I haven’t figured out much. You will not find the answer to living with depression in any of my esoteric, egocentric essays. All I know is that if I don’t tell these stories, they’re going to rise up against me from within somehow. They’re already threatening complete mutiny. My entire being is screaming at me: “Tell them or die!”
So fine, I will do this. I’m ultimately doing this for me, the writing part. Because I know I need to process a lot of crap. This is some good therapy right here. I have to untangle some things and the process of writing is the best way for me to do that. It always has been.
But the publishing part, I’m doing because He is making me. There are exactly three people on the planet I feel comfortable disclosing my soul to these days. I don’t know why He seems to be insisting that I make this public, but He is. So that’s what’s we’re doing. I do not, however, want to hear your opinions or advice so much, no offense. If I start getting patronizing, super-spiritual emails, I might hang myself and it will be your fault. Kidding. Sorry. Too dark?
I have a lot of mess to untangle and it is intimidating. I have no idea where to begin. Chronological is just laughable–if only it worked that way! So I’m just gonna go with whatever comes up. Crap comes up all the time, so that shouldn’t be too hard. I’m terrified to live out loud, but I’m doing this thing because I believe these lights are worth untangling. I remember how beautiful they can shine (especially the pinks and purples) and how they can light up a room, a heart. And I remember what that feels like when He radiates right through me to lavish someone with Love.
Don’t be looking for bow-tied resolutions or happy endings either; in fact, you can just move right along please if you’re tempted to give me theological advice. Now if you wanna get down in the mud with me and share some war stories, I’m in. But I seem to be right smack in the middle of some pretty essential lessons, and I want to learn them straight from Him. Besides. anyone who thinks they’ve got it all figured out is suspicious to me at this point.
So I’m starting where I’m at. I have no ambition other than the sincerest hope that the glory of God might be revealed somehow in the pieces of my stories–that maybe, just maybe, my one little life, with the most earnest imaginable dream of bringing Him great honor, might do just that. Bring Him honor. For one of the only things I know for certain is that He is worthy.
I sure hope you’ll pray for me along the way.