My God… what will possess my time what all this is finally over? My mind is constantly consumed with deadlines, with worry, with anxiety, with resoluteness, with focus, with anticipation.
If I were keeping to my new, rigorous schedule, I would be sleeping already. Rebel that I am, I’m typing away on my phone in bed instead. Like a teenager getting away with breaking the rules… My own self-imposed rules.
Something has happened. I’m hesitant to write about it, because I’m still fighting the fear that it won’t last. But since this happening is centered around encouraging my best life possible, I’m going to hazard to write about it anyway!
If you’ve ever wondered what depression feels like, or if you need someone to relate to…
The words aren’t coming. I know I want to write, but I feel dry. I’m far from bored. I’m not tired. I’m just stuck. Typing with my eyes closed helps. Like feeling the words instead of picturing them. It probably helps to not be able to read and re-read and edit and second-guess everything you think of, especially on a first draft. That’s what they always say, but how can you possibly do that if you can see all the words you write? It’s natural to want to revise and refine your own thoughts. But it does get in the way of the goal; which is to communicate.
Quite awhile back I re-discovered and re-imaged my love for journaling and planners. With the help of many inspiring resources…
“I’m just glad you’re here,” my Writing comforts me. I’ve stopped apologizing for absences. The Words don’t criticize me, so why should I be chastised? My heart is heavy, so I’m here. I don’t know what to Pray, so I wait. I know He’s here, and the Peace lets me take a deep breath. My pulse slows. I exhale and close my eyes briefly to shut out the lights, but my mind whirls in every direction until I open my eyes again. The Words will find a focus where my mind hears only chaos.
“What is it?” my Words ask. My hands are steady, but my chest is tight. Fourteen days. Will the countdowns end? Am I strong enough to endure it with a degree of grace?
The problem with being branded a saint is that people expect that it’s easy to just keep living like one. They’re uncomfortable with the idea that it’s hard, as if only certain people can do great things; as if only certain people can be exceptional and it’s easy for them.
With a single decision a person can alter the course of their life. Many only think of that concept in terms of ruining their lives, ending up in jail, or in the gutter. But a single decision can permanently alter your path in a positive, uphill direction as well. If you pull a kid out of the street or you decide to work as a paramedic, you could be branded a hero.
But it isn’t easy. Your saints are faking if they pretend it is. It isn’t glamorous. The thoughts a saint has are not always admirable. They’re human, make no mistake. But the more admired they become, the more pressure they feel to hide what doesn’t belong in the picture. They see the look in people’s eyes when they voice their insecurities, and they slowly retreat to take a more powerful stance. “I don’t know how I’m going to get through this,” transforms into, “Everything happens for a reason.”
Their friends raise them higher. They’re acquaintances deify their very existence. And the saint starts believing their own catch-phrases. They forget they’re capable of fear. They deny themselves the need for true human connection. They encourage others in their struggles, but never seek out a listening ear for themselves. Their lives become a living encouragement, and frighteningly capable of toppling the faith of others if they fail to live up to all the expectations.
The thing is, no one quite knows how to communicate with heroes. Congratulations abound, but unless another hero comes along who understands, no one has quite the right things to say. “Wow, that’s amazing!” needs am empathetic counterpart: “Do you feel safe? Can I call to check on you tomorrow? I can stay if you don’t want to be alone. I can listen if you want to talk about it.”
It’s hard to find that friend when everyone believes heroes and saints are born, not raised; destined, not determined. “Do not grow weary in doing good,” I remember, but what an admonition. Where are the people who give rest to those travelers?
I’ve missed you. Since last we met, my life took on life. Fullfillment is mine. The story is yours. It inspires me to drive on. It scatters hope along the path, looking for rich soil. Some seeds fall among rocks, never to take root. Some fall in with weeds, choked out by circumstance. But where there is life, hope will begin its journey again. It will seek out those in pain. It will comfort the burdened. It will lift the broken from the pit.
The well-lived life is a rarity. Even more rare is its record. Let its light give light to all those around it. Let its warmth stretch arms around the abandoned. Your words are a guide. Don’t doubt their power. Don’t doubt your influence. Don’t doubt your ability to make a difference in the lives of those you’ve received as friends. Don’t wonder if your encouragement will sink into the heart of family.
Be wise and be bold. Your life is worthy of connection. Your heart is well-formed for the tasks at hand.
As proud as I am of the way I’ve been able to digitally organize myself at work, the last month has shown me that my home life was in need of a much more tangible system. I wanted to use rulers and highlighters and pens and notebooks. I wanted to see color and handwriting and sketches. I loved the Bullet Journal system, but the suggested level of detail was too intense for my purposes. I wanted to chronicle my life, but not down to the most minute detail.
I have words. I’ve locked them away for five years. After months of spewing my raw soul onto paper, I could only wait for time to pass. It was the only thing left to heal me. I’ve only read through some of those words once or twice since then, but each time it was too soon. The pain was still too near. The pages singed my emotions. I’m still waiting for the sting to cool, and I wonder each year if I’ll ever actually forget.
Then I battle the fear of forgetting. What if I need that strength? I was blind before. What if I lose the sight I’ve gained? It’s all I have to show for what I endured.
I battle the fear of ignorance. What people don’t know can hurt them, and it does, every day. Am I supposed to share my words? I have more than enough of them. The material is yellowing on my shelves. But it’s ugly and dark. People don’t want to know. There are many subjects that people bravely come forward to share here in the 21st century, but this isn’t one of them. This one is locked away in secrets and rumors and whispers and scandals. It’s locked away in pride and shame, only fit to be heard by a jury of peers.
I battle the fear of flippant disregard. “That’s intense,” I imagine the response, barely a complete sentence. More than anything I battle the fear of questions. I’m afraid of the doubt of others. I’m afraid of being misunderstood. I’m afraid my heart and motivations and decisions will be scrutinized and criticized. I survived the worst thing that ever happened to me. “But couldn’t you have survived it like this?” might be the question that leads to my ruin.
As a life-long people-pleaser, I’m know no one will be pleased by my story, least of all me. No one will sleep better at night. These stories need a voice, but I’m afraid I don’t have the courage to see it through.