About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

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« I sweat out my crazies | Main | Building back the buffers »
Wednesday
Oct102012

A bridge out of breadcrumbs

As far as I can tell, my depression has run through three stages:

 

Stage one: I have no will to fight. I despair.

Stage two: I have the will to fight. But there are no moving pieces in my life- I cannot change anything to help build back the buffers. I tolerate.

Stage three: I have the will to fight. And I have moving pieces I can rearrange. I hope.

In stage one, I hit the lowest point I've ever experienced in my life. And yet...

My best friend came to visit for three weeks and she kept me going. She taught me how to eat gluten-free. She massaged my feet. She cried with me and prayed with me, and talked in funny voices with me. She got me hooked on So You think You Can Dance and The Glass House on Hulu.  She painted the walls with me. She made me perfect Thai iced coffee and cooked all the meals.  She told me to cry in front of my husband, to ask him to hold me, to let him see my desperate need even though it scared the poo out of me to be that vulnerable.  

She embodied God's tender grace; I truly belive I wouldn't have made it through that time without her.
I told her over and over, "Together, we make one perfectly sane woman!"

In stage two, before I had a mother's helper or a church or the ability to go work out-when there were no moving pieces in my life-my friend Kathryn drove down from South Dakota to cook meals and watch the kids so I didn't have to get all four wee ones up and out the door in the mornings. Friends and blog readers sent me notes, and packages with cookies and worship music. My friend Carey sent me a Pandora bracelet charm just to remind me that someone back in Virginia misses me and loves me. My friend Jen wrote me Facebook messages and left phone messages (and kept doing it even though I never responded) saying, You will get through this. You are not alone in your super scary dream. You will wake up. This will be over in the very near future and God will use it for such good. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but you're allowing God to work through you. That's a big deal.

My friend Christine kept dropping by to check on me, leaving chili on my doorstep or offering to help with the kids. My friend Laurel drove up from Denver with paleo muffins.  My family came to visit- my mom scoured my sinks and did laundry, and my dad worked outside creating stone walkways and beautiful landscaping. My new friend Abby took my boys to church so I could rest when the little ones napped. She brought me recipes for loose-leaf Detox tea, gave me organic lavendar lotion, and a pair of hand me down designer jeans. She called every morning to ask, "Did you go to yoga today?" And when I kept answering yes, she cheered.

My friend Annie sent me a framed quotation:

What is to give light must endure burning,

with one of the most profoundly beautiful letters I've ever received. The quotation stands next to my desk; I glance at it over and over as I write. My husband bought me a massage and a steam treatment at an Aveda spa. Even the man who painted our house brought me a begonia, and a cutting from his aloe plant.  My neighbor Maureen, who is a therapist, let me cry on her porch swing, and then brought me cookies and helped me tear down a fence in my backyard.

My friend Abi called from San Francisco, where she just moved and is going through her own transition, with such words of life:  

"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty.
 That's what I'm praying over you. That you will rest, remain stable and fixed under His loving shadow and the enemy will be kept at bay. I love you friend!"
My friend Paul sent me music: U2, Mumford and Sons, Mute Math, The Killers...more U2. My cousin Olivia, who I have not seen for three years, called me up to tell me I am brave and strong, and that my labor to tell my story has made a difference in her life.
As I write down these blessings, I am freshly overwhelmed.  I am so grateful for my blog- which gives me a forum for sharing my story- and that people actually read it, which means that even in the midst of my depression, I do not feel alone.
It is bread for my soul, the very sustenance of my life to receive such love.

 

Each person's offering was a breadcrumb for me-little markers on the path that leads to home.

I see myself, famished with need, gobbling up each breadcrumb as it appears, certain I won't make it any further, and just then, another breadcrumb drops from a generous hand, and I am sustained, piece by piece.

 

I remember a time when God seemed to drop huge, hunky loaves from heaven- it felt like just me and him; well, mostly me. Self-sufficient, having what I needed, priding myself on my ability to handle anything that came my way...I didn't comprehend my need, or my dependancy; I didn't give God the credit for my nourishment, or recognize my reliance on His people-a living body of hope, and consequently, I didn't need to tell my story, or ask for help.

These days, it's total dependancy on the bread crumbs. 

The bottom has fallen out of my life, but instead of the free fall I feared, I've got this bridge to stand on; this bridge, made out of breadcrumb offerings. 

It's just enough to span the gaps between stage one to stage two to stage three; it is only grace, and the gracious support of community that gets me by.

 

The morning after Michael told me about the affair, we called my parents and his parents and asked them to come over. We had intended to gather the families to tell them we were having baby #3, but that morning, although we shared the news of our pregnancy, the joy was overshadowed by Michael's confession of unfaithfulness.  My Dad didn't say much; I remember watching his face; he never wavered in his faith in Michael's character, and his belief that this was an aberration, not a lifestyle, not a condemnation.  

He said, "This is the verse that keeps coming to my mind. 'When we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sins.' Michael, I believe you are walking in the light, and that if you and Trinity keep walking like this, you will have fellowship with each other no matter what life brings your way. God does not hold this against you, and neither do I."

I asked my Dad to write down the verse for me; I kept it in my wallet for months.

 

How else could you all give me breadcrumbs if I did not share my story?  

 

This is the power of walking in the light- we have fellowship with each other. This is why I believe it is so important, so necessary, to find places where we can tell our stories of brokenness and suffering and need.

When I offer a piece of my own brokenness, you willingly break off a piece of your soul, your life, to offer in return.

We have communion with each other when we break our bread, when we share our crumbs.

 

If we remain alone, never expressing our need, for fear of public brokenness, we will never experience the communion of sharing our sufferings; the life on the other side of death.

 "I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." 

-John 12:24 

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