Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Say something

For years, I've tried to be mindful, to live in the moment. I read, meditate, do yoga, in the effort to be more aware. I am aware. Sometimes, I actually live in the moment. Unfortunately, some of those moments are sad. Some of them are depressing. Sometimes, I feel as if I might not make it to the next moment. But I do.

Most people have these moments. Some deal with them by reading books, meditating, doing yoga, drinking, talking to friends, seeing a therapist, taking medication, whatever it is that helps them get through the moment. I do and have done all of those things. And I write. I write myself through the bad moments to make it to the next good one.

Perhaps writing about feeling sad and lost and fumbling is off-putting. Some people have told me I shouldn't dwell on my sadness. I'm not dwelling; I'm just trying to get all the sadness out of my head so there's room for happiness. Writing about my feelings--good or bad--is therapeutic, and this is my tiny little safe place, so I can write about depressing stuff here.

None of that is really my point for writing this. My point is that after I wrote about how sad I was, I was amazed how people reached out to offer kindness, advice, love, and support. People I love, good friends, acquaintances. Unexpected notes of encouragement that lifted my spirits in ways I can't express. In ways that made the darkness that clouded my thoughts lift. In ways that felt like God Himself saying, "I am here. And I am speaking to you through these angels today. Listen."

Sometimes, I think we avoid saying something for fear of saying the wrong thing or causing someone to be upset. When my brother committed suicide, most people didn't know what to say to my family. I think people were afraid that if they said something to me, I'd cry. And I often did. Lots of people avoided me. Brad asked me every day, "What's wrong?" And more than once I bit his head off, screaming, "MY BROTHER KILLED HIMSELF; THAT'S WHAT'S WRONG!" God bless him, he stopped asking what was wrong and just started saying, "How are you?"

One day shortly after I went back to work, one of my co-workers ambled awkwardly up to me, carefully avoiding eye contact and said, "So...how are you doing?" It felt incredibly kind because I knew how uncomfortable it can be.

When my dad died, I was amazed over and over again by people who reached out to say, "I'm sorry," "I'm thinking about you," or anything. People who stepped out of their comfort zone, who risked watching me break down, just to say something. I would sit every night and read sweet messages people wrote on my Facebook wall and feel blessed. As someone who's experienced grief, I suggest that when you're in doubt: Say something. It matters. You matter. And to all of you, who took the time to think about me in my dark time, I appreciate and am so grateful for your thoughts, support, advice. I am blessed that you chose to say something.

At 7:29 a.m., I am listening to my tiny girlfriend chirping about her favorite shows and what she's gonna wear to school today and wearing her Halloween costume to dance class, and I am happy. At 7:30, something might make me sad. But I will be okay.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Small Voices

For the past few days, I have felt lost and fumbling. I keep praying and waiting and hoping that God will intervene--and maybe He has, and I've been too downtrodden to notice. I feel like every way I turn, I run head on into a brick wall. Occasionally there are swinging doors in the brick wall, and I'm able to make it through. Unfortunately, I usually hit the wall before I find the doors.

I have been meditating, trying to quiet my mind so that I can hear God's "still, small voice." The meditating has helped quiet my conscious mind a little, but when I go to sleep at night, I have these crazy dreams that leave me feeling exhausted and unrested in the morning. Sleeping used to be my escape, but now the craziness has even invaded that safe place.

Try as I might, I find myself sleepwalking through my days often muttering half-aloud, "Help me, Lord," which prompts Lily to say, "Mommy, are you talking to yourself?" "No, sweetie, talking to God." Is this some sort of spiritual transformation? Because it feels remarkably similar to a nervous breakdown.

I'm on edge. I jump at sudden noises. When my dog gets loose and corners my neighbor, rather than seeing the humanness in it, I feel like curling into the fetal position and crying. When my cat pees on my bed, I have much the same reaction. Yet, I feel like I've never prayed more, never read the Bible more, never tried harder in my life to be a good person and follow God's will. So, I can't help but wondering where God is when I'm curled in a fetal position crying?

Part of me says, "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it." Another part of me looks at my sister, who has just suffered a debillitating injury yet carries on with patience, grace, and complete faith in God. Why can't I be like that? Part of me thinks, maybe I really do have a chemical imbalance or bipolar disorder or something else that needs a man-made intervention. I gave up my "happy pills" to lean on God. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now, I feel as if I just fall on my face day after day.

I don't doubt God's existence. I haven't lost my faith. I just keep feeling as if maybe I'm doing something wrong. Praying wrong. Acting wrong. Following the wrong path. Expecting too much. Lord knows I have ridiculously high expectations for people; stands to reason, the Almighty wouldn't be an exception. Maybe if I could just be a little calmer, a little more patient, a little better of a person...maybe then God would show Himself to me. Maybe then He'd give me a sign. Maybe then He'd lead me. Or maybe He'd at least help me up off the floor.