Friday, August 15, 2014

Serenity - A Big Long Story About A Trip

For the past few mornings, the various "daily devotions" that I'm subscribed to have discussed the same theme:  Rushing.

Confession alert!!!

Everything is a rush for me.  Rush to get ready for work.  Rush all day at work.  Rush to the bank and rush back.  Rush to get kids to and from sports practices.  Rush home, because I'm all but asleep...throughout the entire rush.  Even on Sundays?  I rush to get ready for church.  Rush to get there.  And rush home, because of no other reason than - that's apparently my normal.

It's draining.  Ya'll feel me.

This summer, I've been blanketed with perhaps my longest lasting bout of depression.  Typically, just when I'm ready to contact my doctor, it ends up lifting.  Then, I'll feel it return.  Then lift again.  Rinse and repeat.

I have trade offs to weigh.  Side effects vs it-doesn't-usually-last-as-long-as-it-would-take-for-med-to-kick-in.  So I'm used to waiting it out.  Depression, for me, is a inability to feel the joy that I would typically wake up feeling...a disinterest in eating...a disinterest in getting out of absolute disregard for dragging a brush through my hair.  Other stuff, but those give the general idea.  The amount of energy it takes to get out of my house in the morning is, like, a lot.  It goes a little something like:  I thank God as I'm driving to work.  I give thanks that I'm able to work and to do a good job in His name, and that I have a job to go to, and that everyone I work with knows I have ms and they are supportive and loving.  I ask for a special measure of energy.  I ask that the blanket be lifted.  By this time, I'm typically in my parking space.  I pull down the mirror of my sun visor and stare into my own eyes.  I try to smile to see if I notice the old, familiar spark.  Not yet?  That's okay.  I tell God that I know it'll come back.  I open the car door and know that the rush is about to begin.  I talk to God all the way in, "let this day be Yours...this is Your day...Your day..."  I see my reflection in the glass door.  Many days I think to myself, "it looks like you did your hair with a .357...maybe we should do this mirror thing before walking out of the house?"  I do the same thing on my way to the grocery store.  I thank God for the money for the groceries.  Ask that I get through the whole store without getting dizzy or blurry eyed.  Thank Him that I am able to do the trip.  See the occasionally frightening image of myself on the security monitors.  Wonder how my hair got like that...

Keep in mind, when the blanket isn't draped over top of me?  I don't have these extensive discussions with myself.  I wouldn't necessarily say my hair reflects that, but anyway...

I had been rushing on empty for what felt like forever.  To summarize?  I was done, guys.  Totally done.  And then?  It worked out in just the right way for me to have the privilege of taking my son to the mountains to stay with his friend for a few days.  I rushed to get everything done at work, rushed to pack, rushed to make sure my household had what it needed for me to be gone a few days, rushed to the gas station for a fill up, rushed from rest stop to rest stop all the way up, you get the picture.  By the time I climbed the stairs into the loft and crawled into my adorable bed that first night...I was a shell of a woman.  A twitching, depressed, not-hungry-all-day-but-gotta-eat-something woman.  I felt such a hot mess that I couldn't even pray before I went to sleep.  I knew I didn't have to do the talking, because that's where the Spirit comes in and spoils me ;)  

Woke up super early the next morning.  Fixed myself some coffee (necessary).  Carried my bible out on the deck, where the morning fog was so heavy across the valley.  I stared at the heavy fog that covered the valley beyond the trees and felt a measure of sympathy for the beauty that was underneath.  I squinted in the sunlight and thought I'd get a picture of it, because it would be important for some reason.

I picked up my bible, closed my eyes, and just sat in the presence of the Lord.  No noise.  No rush.  No one needing anything.  Just bird noises, a slight chill in the air, and breathtaking beauty all around me.  I asked the Lord to give me a verse that He would have me read.  I randomly opened my book, eyes still closed.  I settled on a page and slowly opened my this, I kid you not:

"The Lord is my shepherd, I have all that I need.  He lets me rest in green meadows"

I looked up about 2" to view all the beautiful land.

"He leads me beside peaceful streams"

I looked up and over to the pond.

"He renews my strength"

...eyes started welling up with tears.  I couldn't quite refocus my eyes until...

"Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me."

full. out. sobbing. tears.

I'm grateful I was the only one awake in that moment, not just so they'd miss the cry fest, but because I began to speak to God out loud.  Something like...I'm so tired, Lord.  I just want to sit here with You and do nothing else.  Just let me sit here.  I feel just like that valley.  There's a heavy fog over me and I can't even see my own beauty right now.  How can others see it if I can't.  I love You.  I know You love me.  I should not feel like this.  But I do.  Please help me.

In the stillness, and the wet sleeves from wiping my face, I began to feel such a peace and calm come over my heart.  No, it didn't lift the blanket...didn't give me a sudden appetite...but it made the blanket less...significant, maybe?  Yeah.  Significant.  Kinda like how ms can sometimes be big for me, but most of the time, insignificant.  I'm 15yrs into this ms thing.  As my daughter says, "it's whatever..."

That trip will be a forever sort of memory for me.  Hours of drive time in conversation with my son.  The laughs with our friends.  The amazing food that I wasn't hungry for, but it certainly tasted great!  The joy in his face as he tried new adventures.  And the time I was able to spend, just me and the Lord, on that deck with a mug of coffee.  The only word that kept playing over and over in my head was...serenity.  That word took me to the serenity prayer.  The full one, not just the 2 lines people know about courage and wisdom.  

Random side bar alert:

I took this picture at a rest stop on our way home.  My son was trying to make sure I didn't miss out on the beauty of whatever was over there to the left.  I was more interested in taking a picture of him trying to point something out to me.  "Isn't it awesome, Mom?"  What...the part about how you're always looking out for me?  Yep.  It is.

Anyway, back to serenity.  Where we're living one day at a time.  Enjoying one moment at a time.

NOT rushing one day at a time.  Rushing one moment at a time.

Oh.  Yeah.  That's right.

Okay.  I'm doing it again.

That rushing thing.  Stop it.  Remember the mountains!


Let's not get back to the twitching shell of a woman phase...let's see if I can actually do it.  Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time.  Taking, as He did, this world as it is and not how I want it.  TRUSTING...