A Mother’s Undying Wish

I was awakened from a sound sleep by the sound of my cell phone.

In between awake and asleep, I answered the call with a muffled, “Hello.”  Little did I know, a nightmare would ensue which I could not escape.

On the other end I hear fear, which quickly propels my feet to exit the bed.

Her whereabouts are unknown.

She says she is at a certain place, but I do not know the place to which she refers.

Panic sets in.

I simultaneously tell my husband her condition, while asking random questions to discover her whereabouts–

“What do you see around you?”

“Do you know what parking lot you are in?”

We get in the car and keep the conversation going as we drive off in a vague direction.

I tell her to unlock her door, and roll down her window and breath in some fresh air.

“You need to stay awake,” I demand.

I continue with the cell-phone interrogation–

I ask her what she took.

How many.

I want to ask why, but now is not the time.

Instead, I instruct her to keep talking.

Finally, we figure out her location.

As we approach, I see her frame in the driver’s seat–so small in the backdrop of the vast, desolate, dimly-lit parking lot.

I felt such a deep despair overwhelm me at that sight, I still cannot fully articulate with words.

We frantically drive to the hospital and release her into their care.

II

This attempt to end her life was exactly one year ago today.

I have not allowed myself to feel the enormity of this moment.

Oh, I think of it often.  Usually late at night.  I sneak upstairs to make sure her heart still beats.

In relief, I make my way back to my bed.

I guess I am afraid to allow my heart to embrace the idea of her desiring to end her life before its time.

Maybe this is protection on my part.

Maybe because I know this was not her first attempt.

Maybe because I fear it will not be her last.

If there was something I could do, I would do it.

So, I pray.

My wish for her (and her sisters) is simple–that she would love Jesus more than I do.

I say this without a hint of arrogance. Everyone who knows me would attest to the fact that I am head over heals in love with Jesus.

My hope is this great love HE has for her will be reciprocated as a result.

And that this great love will fill the void within.

It is my undying plea I pray on an ongoing basis.

It is not a pollyanna prayer, because I have stood in the depth of depression, and have felt the desperate desire toward death.

But, still.  I know HE is the HOPE that overcomes my momentary ill will.

II

Words exit her mouth the other day, which surprise me and make my heart nearly skip a beat–

She wonders if she can attend a conference called, ‘Passion’, in Houston, which begins on the 30th.

Well, H@#$ yes!

I know every one of the speakers.  I might even admit that they may love Jesus as much as me 🙂

So, my prayer for this weekend is a simple one–

I pray a passion for Jesus will ignite and create a fire for her life she has never known before.

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Teetering on the Edge of Life

How does one tie a rope around his head, and escape from the world of living, by jumping from a chair?

I can’t wrap my mind around this.  Literally.

Whenever I hear of someone who decides to end his life in this matter, I envision myself in his place.

Standing on a chair, securing the rope…

Heaving, as a shaky chair underneath holds trembling legs that go back and forth in fear, a little farther each time, before jumping from a short ledge to its drop from life.

How does one like Robin Williams (and the many other unrecognizable ones) get to this place of desperation?

This is not an easy way out of life.

And, may I suggest, there is not an easy answer to all-encompass every individual.

Oh, we who are not on the chair can offer unsolicited advice on the problems and explanations of said individuals who are obviously without hope.

But, may I suggest our opinions, without our compassion, only create a tighter noose?

II

I went back and forth whether to write from the depths of my heart.  In the end, I thought, what do I have to lose?

My paper-doll image being crumbled?

Actually, what do I have to gain?

Maybe access into a life out there who is desperate.  And alone.

Let’s face it, majority of us are not ever going to be in the place of standing on a chair, teetering on the edge, leaning toward death.

Even so, what if we teeter on the edge and lean in toward transparency?

I’d say this lack of vulnerability has created a chokehold of its own on our freedom to be real when real life is crumbling apart.

Tied up in knots on how I should be, I clean off the debris so my attire is no longer disheveled.

 

Well, enough already.

Choking back tears creates a chokehold around our hearts.

Truth is, I have desired on occasion for the end to come.  While I have not stood on a chair, I have felt the grip of despair pull me in.

Surround me with suggestions of suicide.

And, in my momentary weakness, I have felt alone.  And entirely too close to the edge of desiring death.

Maybe this is where we get to the end of our rope.  When desperation takes hold in a difficult season, and we feel we have nowhere else to turn.

In the moment when we cannot see clearly it is just a momentary trial.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

We need to wrap our minds around Christ.  Literally.

And lean in closer and closer.

Until we free-fall into His embrace.

It is not an easy answer.  But, may I suggest, HE is the HOPE we need to take hold of when we are at the end of our rope.

Avoiding the Long Lines of Melancholy

It has been awhile hasn’t it?  With the hustle and bustle of the season, and the selling and reselling of our house that has been on the market since August, I have been in somewhat of a writer’s rut. Maybe this will be my resolution for 2015–to write more frequently…

Who am I kidding?  We know this, like all spectacular promises made, whether the first day of the year, or the first day of the week, seem to find their way unresolved.

Really, as I sit her pondering the emotion I attempt to express, I cannot seem to build words around the ache, that is not exactly pain.

I think it is melancholy that attempts to arrive and accompany me.  It is not like I don’t know her.  She seems to make an uninvited appearance and knock persistently on the door of my heart, to unravel every heartstring of emotion that was sentimentally put in place the day before.

I think it is because Christmas is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

Maybe because this day represents the idea of hope.  

Think about it.  We plan our whole month around this one day–hoping it is a success.

The peak for me is, after standing in a long line spending entirely too much on a gift, to see the spontaneous broad smile accompany a loved-ones profile.

Tears enter my eyes, and my heart feels all mush.

Unfortunately, this moment arrives, and leaves, all in a matter of a day.

It is no wonder the day after is a dull disappointment.

Standing in lines to return the gift you graciously gave a curtsy of a pleased expression.

Seeing the small pieces of wrapper debris alerting you to the fact it is over.  Another Christmas soon to be packaged in its plastic containers.

At this point in a post, so not to bring the reader entirely down in the dumps, there needs to be the subtle shift to alert you that it will not end at a crisis point, but point you to the reason for our hope that will end with a nice verse to piecemeal it in perfect place…

But, really, it is okay to feel disappointment.

It is alright to feel an ache of dissatisfaction.

It is okay to be melancholy.

Because this life is truly temporary.  Before we know it, it will be over.

How’s that for dreary?

Really, this is the reason we celebrate in HIS honor–He is the reason for our hope.

Knowing we one day will live in an eternity without melancholy makes today feel entirely okay.

This is Depression

Stagnant.  

This word unceasingly ruminates in my mind since yesterday.

Am I becoming stagnant? 

Sadness permeates into unchartered waters and dissipates my passion.  Will passion make her presence in me again?

The crest of excitement’s waves have slowly stilled.

I feel as one who sits in a lukewarm bath entirely too long.

Damp.

I struggle to remedy this stagnancy I feel I’ve created myself.

Just do something already.

Nothing tastes good to the palette of my ambition.

Is it the stagnancy causing my sadness, or is it the other way around?

 

The bathroom sink was conveniently clogged last night, causing me to focus my attention on her instead of attending Bible study.

IMG_0754

I am not a plumber, but the liquid, who calls herself Liquid Plumber, came to the rescue.

I pour the green concoction into the stagnant water with hopes it will unclog whatever ills block its plumbing.

Nothing happens.

Instead, the still water continues to slowly rise–dangerously close to overflow.

I empty it by the cup load to the perfectly-fine sink sitting beside her.

When the miraculous happens.  I leave the bathroom for just a minute and return to a completely drained sink.

Apparently, whatever sludge blocked its access moved on, and water was now able to freely flow yet again.

Oh, how I long to become unclogged from this stagnancy.

It is not tragedy which causes this dip in emotional stability.  It is the unceasingly slow drip of sadness that causes me to become still, and inevitably stagnant, from the unending disturbance that sits disturbed just underneath the surface.

I cry out from the depths, “Help me–I’m sinking.”

I feel the One, who holds me close in my dark state, whisper to my heart, “Hold on.”  So, I hold tight to Him as I struggle to keep my head above the stagnancy.


How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.  Psalm 36:7-9 NIV

 

Please Don’t Write a Flip Prescription for Depression

Suicide flatlines more than the heartbeat of the depressed individual–it destroys the livelihood of all those around in her wake.

I attended a funeral a few years ago of a lady in a class I led.  She slowly withered away, until one day she made a decision that could not be undone.  Sad.  So sad.  Yet, seeing the heartbreak in the faces of her family at the loss of her was equally heartbreaking.

How do you recover after such a loss of a loved one? 

Devastating this debilitating disease is to both the victim, and the victim by association.

It is hard for a rational mind to understand how a person can choose a painful end to relieve pain, knowing the pain they leave as a result.

I’ve never planned my exit, but there are times when depression had hold of my calendar so tight that the only plan of the day was to make it through the day alive.

Then, there are long spurts of distance between bouts with this battle, for which I am ever-so-grateful.

So, since I am a ‘professionally depressed individual‘, I would like to share some personal thoughts on the subject.

First of all, please don’t write a flip prescription for depression.  It is not always as black and white as we may think.

To explain it off so easily tells me you may not fully understand its complexities.

It can be circumstantial.  

Without going into detail to protect the privacy of others, let’s just say my life has been turned upside down this past year.  For the record, it has been one of the most difficult in my nearly 46 years residing on this earth.

It can be physical. 

I had surgery years ago which required general anesthesia.  The pain resulting from the surgery was minimal, but, for whatever reason, the chemical imbalance inside my insides became so disrupted, I could not function AT ALL.

Even with Christmas on the horizon, I could not make my way out of the darkness.

This was the closest I felt death was a better alternative, and had the depression not released its hold, I am not certain I would have made it.

This was the first and only time I also attempted antidepressants. Two days.  But, for the many reasons one chooses to stay clear of medication (holistic approaches-more prayer-guilt), I chose to discard mine in the garbage.

It is spiritual. 

Probably the most difficult to communicate is the battle against the Prince of Darkness.  But, he exists and he is determined to bring us down–and depression is definitely a dark time for him to enter the darkness of an already dark state and reek his havoc.

Depression displays itself in many ways, so we should take caution dispensing opinions without gathering as much information on the patient as we can.

My hope in writing this is to bring light to this topic from my ordinary struggle to cope. 

You are Enough

“It is all downhill from here.”  

These words spew from the mouth of a biker at Starbucks after an attempt at casual conversion quickly goes downhill.

He then holds up his hand, as he makes his way to the exit, and exclaims that he has won FIVE championships in his lifetime, and basically there is nothing worthy in his future since he is now 72.

He is all washed up.

His sad outlook on his life made me sad.  Isn’t there more to riding a bike than receiving a metal at the end?  What about the joy of the experience?  Or, the beautiful scenery?

How did the win take precedence over the ride itself?

I wanted to shout out to him, “Dude, look at you–you are amazing!”

It bothered me that he felt this way.  And it made me wonder.  Wonder if deep down, his worth was based on his performance, and without something to show his significance, he didn’t feel all that valuable.

And, really, after deeper reflection, I realized I am not so different.

This last year without anything significant on my plate has been difficult.  For years I have been working toward something–whether it be the next position or an accomplishment of some sort.

Always something.

Even the next attempt at a marathon this fall is partially to receive the bumper sticker on my vehicle stating that I have accomplished a major feat by getting my feet to make it 26.2 miles.

Always striving.  

Because, somehow I have tied up my value in:

Accomplishments.

Accolades.

Achievements.

Because, deep down, I feel of little worth.

I know, that is not an easy thing to admit, and I may make you cringe on the inside because I am hitting too close for comfort, but I am beginning to realize this as a truth.

Deep down I struggle feeling as if I am enough.

And, I need to do something to feel I am something.  Because without something, I am nothing.

Well, enough already.

I am valuable even if I never win an award, climb the corporate ladder to the top, publish a book worthy of New York Times status, or even if I never finish the race and receive the sticker.

I am enough.

And, you are enough.  

Because, our value is not in what we do, but in whom we belong to–namely Jesus Christ.

Changing the way we value ourselves takes time, but it will be worth it when we begin to realize we are worth it.  

Sadness Slipped Beside Me

Sadness slipped beside me today.

Unannounced.

Uninvited.

I willed her away, but she stayed.

Disturbing me with her dark thoughts.

Her agenda is always to bring me to despair.

At times, I allow her to remain.  But, not today.

I will fight back.  I am tired of you.  Leave already.

Life is so brief.  

The Bible says it is fleeting.

Like a vapor.  A breath.  A withering leaf.  Reminding me of the brevity of life.

I will not sit idly by and willingly allow her to steal my time.  

Life sometimes only gives us fleeting glimpses of glory–but when we look, really look, what we see is amazing:

The sun peeking out from the clouds.

The wilting flower bursting to life when it receives a drink.  

A friend encouraging me with words of hope.

Gentle reminders of the beauty found in today.

When I look up and gaze around–instead of only feeling down.