Saturday, January 23, 2016

Update // January 2016

The last month has been a wee bit insane. I want to go over several aspects of it in separate blog posts, but I also wanted to do a big overview-update thing. So here is that.


My grandfather died on December 19th. He had cancer, I knew it was coming, but when I got the news it felt like my stomach disappeared. I had seen him the night before, weak, unable to speak, a hollowed-out version of himself. I didn't think I would cry when it happened, I thought I was prepared for it, but I couldn't stop crying. The next week was a blur of holiday frenzy and emotion and drama, leaving me completely spent by the end of it. It was the worst Christmas I've ever had, but I have actually only had good Christmases until now, so I guess it was bound to happen eventually and I suppose I really shouldn't complain about my amazing odds.

And, mercy of mercies, I had another week off after Christmas week, and got to use it for a stay-cation (my new favorite kind of vacation). I deep-cleaned the house. I stayed in my pj's till 2 pm almost every day. I discovered Sacred Ordinary Days, and learned that according to the liturgical calendar, I still had another week and a half of Christmas! I could salvage it yet! For the first time in my life the Christmas decorations were up past January 1st. I felt some strange kind of victory over the New Year, like I was defying a construct of time that I didn't realize had so much power over me until I was out from under it. I had high hopes for 2016 after that week, and I wouldn't realize till later how much I needed that Sabbath week in order to survive this season of my life without a complete mental/emotional breakdown.

My grandpa's funeral services took place in southern California, near where he was born and raised. It was a beautiful two days. We told stories through tears, we laughed together and cried together and gathered around the memory of a great man, our patriarch. I got to spend a lot of time with family that I have missed. But when it was over (in the blink of an eye), the emptiness felt enormous, and my heart was fit to burst with it. Back to work I went and then the weekend came with another whirlwind trip, this time back to our hometown for a baby shower. Death to life. My heart could barely keep up. When the time came to leave again so quickly after we arrived, it hurt, like I was leaving behind pieces of myself wherever I went. But we had more visiting planned back in Santa Cruz, and so I dug deep into my emotional reserves and prayed and steadied myself.

Then David Bowie died. My first reaction was disbelief, as it was for many. It was a punch in the gut, and I was deflated. Maybe under more "normal" circumstances in my own life I wouldn't have been so upset, but it was a whole new kind of awful, a ripping open of a wound that had just barely begun to knit itself together again. I have no idea how I managed to enjoy the time I had left to spend with family for that visit, but between the moments stolen for crying spells and the Holy Spirit, I managed. And then it was just me and Jamie again, left to put back the pieces of our ordinary lives.

Through all of this, miraculously and by the grace of God, I did not despair. And of course, because I had survived the worst without any depression, I thought I was safe from it. Silly me, I let my guard down.

And then it came, misery creeping on the edge of my brain to rob me of the joy I'd somehow cradled through all of this, and here I am succumbing with that familiar whimper of defeat. Yes, I'll go quietly. And then I am whispering, God please pull me out of this mire. Moment by moment, I gain ground and lose ground. I'm fine and then I'm not. I'm mourning then I'm despairing, I'm joyful then I'm wilting, I'm merely terribly sad and then I'm absolutely despondent and sobbing on the side of the road, clinging to my bicycle as cars whiz by, my poor husband at a loss of how to comfort me, what to do with me, I don't even know what to do with me. And on and on it goes.


School starts on Tuesday. And my head is full of hissing voices that tell me I am wasting my time, that I'll never amount to anything, that nobody cares what I have to say or make or breath into the world, that no one will ever take me seriously. But there is another voice that tells me I matter, that I have hope, that there are good things waiting, there is beauty in the world, and that I have a part to play in nurturing that beauty, the Kingdom of Heaven. It is that voice which I am deciding to listen to in this moment, at 7:21 pm on a Saturday night, and I am asking it to carry me, because it is the voice of my Abba, my Creator and King, and I am his beloved child, and right now that is all that really matters.

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