As I sit down to write, I remind myself that it has been another extended period of time since I have written, nearly two months. I really do want to try to work on that, writing more often… but I continue to allow my life to get the best of me and I fall silent. A silence that mostly suffocates me and makes things worse. I have been wallowing, stuck in the mud and muck that surrounds me as I try and deal with the storms of life, most of them natural and even expected, that continue to come my way. I feel broken, and the broken pieces have fallen into separate sections of my life–leaving me all the more disconnected. In my last entry I shared the joyous moments of my children’s lives, two college graduations, as well as my oldest daughter and her husband purchasing their first home. Joy. Happiness. Contentment. Yet, if I’m honest, I only experienced those feelings briefly and then they were quickly gone.
My summer has been quiet, something I am not used to. In the past there have always been a plethora of activities that have kept me busy, kept my mind out of the dark place it tends to go. But as we all know, life changes; especially with age. My children are older and I am slowly loosing the one job I depend on to help me move through this life, the job of being “mom”. Oh, then still call and text, and ask me about the important stuff… Send me a silly SnapChat, but it’s just not the same. Today, they make a lot, if not most of their decisions on their own; able to do so because I prepared them for the next stage of their lives. I wish someone would have better prepared me for this stage of my life.
I have always struggled with depression and when I don’t have something to do, especially with my children also being gone; my life gets a little darker and I all to often surrender to that darkness. The sort of surrender that leaves me stuck and motionless, the sort of surrender that keeps me from leaving the confinement of my home unless I have to work, or when I go to church. I wish I could tell you this is an exaggeration, but it is not… My youngest has been gone a total of five weeks this summer, off at camp, serving the Lord as a junior cabin leader. The weeks that she has been gone, I have only left the house when I had to work at my part-time job at the local hotel (12-15 hours each week). When there, depending on the time of day, I may not speak to anyone, not even answer the phone. A sort of solitude that only exasperates the problem.
I realize that this is no one else’s problem but my own. It has become easier and easier as the summer passes, then last week something happened and I realized I really needed to do something, or I am most certainly going to become one of those crazy cat ladies who orders in her groceries and doesn’t have a real or meaningful conversation with anyone unless it is via a keyboard and computer screen. So last week, I had a meeting that had been scheduled since the week before that I was supposed to attend. However, when that day came, I didn’t make it to the meeting; I didn’t ever make it off my couch. I got stuck, the darkness swallowed me up that day, more than it ever had before; leaving me numb and feeling more alone than ever. I did nothing that day, nothing. I laid on the couch, drifting in and out of sleep, with the TV playing episode after episode of a program I was barely paying attention to. I broke down emotionally when it came time to leave, I absolutely could not do it. I sent a text apologizing, and continued to stay confined within the walls of my home, sitting there on my couch.
Being alone has always been a part of who I am, growing up, I secluded myself from others when I could, feeling safer alone; not wanting them to learn my secrets, to know who I really was, all that happened to me. During that portion of my life, the silence and solitude represented what I perceived as one of the only safe parts of my life. I am now discovering that it is that early conditioning which I unwittingly did, that has predisposed me to some almost anti-social behavior and is keeping me from being the light He wants and needs me to be.
Then something occurred this summer, that is helping me to move away from this self-sabotage of sorts. A dear friend lost her husband in a terrible accident, leaving her much too young of a widow, and very much alone. He was a wonderful man, a surrogate brother of sorts… an annoying one at times, opinionated and often larger than life, yet I loved him, as so many people who knew him did. Yet, he was instantly and oh so unexpectedly taken from all our lives, from her life, and that of their son. While, I did not loose my husband, the father of my three oldest children to death; I remember those first few months, even the first couple years trying to adjust to him being gone from our lives. He too, was permanently gone, yet there is not the closure that death unfortunately brings; and the void his absence left often swallowed me up. Yet, I had three small children to care for, and that gave me a sense of purpose, as well as the necessary strength to move forward, to keep going.
So, God placed it on my heart in those first moments to reach out to my friend and to try and be there for her. Their only son will be heading back to college soon, less than two months after his father’s accident. Not an easy task for this young man, but my heart aches for my friend who will then truly be alone in her home. So, I have been reaching out to her on a regular basis, an encouraging text throughout the week and we have been walking. I told her while I don’t know her specific pain, I do know the loss of that person you love more than life itself, the void it leaves… and about feeling alone. I hope it is helping her… I pray that the specifics of our friendship will continue to grown and change and I that can truly be someone she can turn to and find comfort and strength.
This morning, my devotion reminded me that God will always be a part of our lives, that HE will never leave us, even when those around us might. He is our forever-friend, the eternal lover of our soul… It is in His goodness and righteousness that we will find the security that we need to get through the storms and trails that life brings our way, providing us with a comfort that man can not provide, assuring us that we will someday live with Him in paradise.
“No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you… I will not fail you or abandon you.” ~Joshua 1:5
“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~Joshua 1:9b
Be happy with what you have. God has said, “I will never leave you or let you be alone.” ~Hebrews 13:5
God is always with us, even when we are lost or in too much pain to notice. He is moving in our lives, mightily, and with purpose. His purpose for each us may not be easily understood, but should be embraced… May the first thing we think of as our feet hit the floor in the morning, be the simple truth that He is with us. May His love and the presence of His Spirit, be what guides us through our day, reminding us, moment by moment, that He most certainly lives within us–never leaving us alone.
Until the next moment,