It’s a cool and misty morning here in Bucks County. And life is a journey. A crazy, changing, wild journey.
If you had told my 20 year old self what I would need to know and have learned by 37, I would have curled up in a ball and said, “Um. No thanks!”. And I’m sure if my 50 year old self could sit me down today, I’d do much of the same. BUT let me clarify: I lead a good life. A really privileged one. I daily rest on the shoulders of many, many hardworking people ahead of me. My Husband and I are blessed with Grandparents and Parents that have worked hard their entire lives to give us the life we now live.
Ok. With that fully known and understood. Life is still life. And it is still challenging. And it challenges all of us in different ways. The point here, is not to negate someone else’s struggles, or claim that mine are bigger, or worse, but to say mine outloud. To take away some of their power. Because brokenness loves to be buried and hidden in the dark.
I struggle with depression. If you know me well, you know this small fact about me. There are varying levels of depression. Varying levels of intensity or lack there of. But it’s forever a part of me and who I am. And like most things about us as humans, there are parts of us that display themselves as weakness, and those same parts can also be our strengths. Most of the time my depression feels like a weakness. A crack in my structure. A fault in my geographical foundation that cause earthquakes at the most inopportune times. It can bury me alive. Become suffocating and feel insurmountable….and on rare occasion it causes me to be still. Which I’m not good at. It makes me stop. And listen to my own pain. This quote from Glennon Doyle Melton literally caused me to stop in my tracks.
“Oh my God—what if the transporting is keeping me from transformation? What if my anger, my fear, my loneliness were never mistakes, but invitations? What if in skipping the pain, I was missing my lessons? Instead of running away from my pain, was I supposed to run toward it? Perhaps pain was not a hot potato after all, but a traveling professor. Maybe instead of slamming the door on pain, I need to throw open the door wide and say, Come in. Sit down with me. And don’t leave until you’ve taught me what I need to know.
I’ve never let myself trust love because I’ve never let myself trust pain. What if pain—like love—is just a place brave people visit? What if both require presence, staying on your mat, and being still? If this is true, then maybe instead of resisting the pain, I need to resist the easy buttons. Maybe my reliance on numbing is keeping me from the two things I was born for: learning and loving. I could go on hitting easy buttons until I die and feel no pain, but the cost of that decision could be that I’ll never learn, love, or be truly alive.”
What if running from my depression was what it wanted? What if it causes me to lose the lessons that might be learned? Imagine an entire life spent not knowing what might have been done or learned? Simply because I just never knew to stop and sit with it…
I know this to be true. I have MUCH MUCH still to learn on this journey. But starting small is still a start right? So what has depression taught me?
To create space.
See. We are all broken, in different ways. But still broken. And I’m still working on this lesson, cause, it is NOT an easy one. Being the sort of soul the allows space for other Humans to just be. Be real. Be honest. Be silly. Be broken. Be afraid. Be excited. Be.
This is a huge. Have you ever been with a person, and after you walked away, you thought…wow, they took up every ounce of space in the room!? They suffocated me! I have. In fact I’ve walked away from Friendships for this very reason. People who were so wrapped up in their own flesh that they couldn’t see past their own selfishness. People who were so lost that they were trying to find their hope in anything they could get their fingers around. People who’s only joy is in tearing others down. I want to be the opposite of that.
I want to sit with my fears, my cracks, my flaws…in such a way that people feel welcome to just come and be. As they are.
I want to be a space maker. I want to be a soul feeder. I want to love. Love so deeply that people feel understood. That they see a glimpse of light shinning through their own cracks.
God has his mighty hand on me pretty heavy right now. He’s been literally tearing me down to the core. Asking me to simply let go, and let Him. Cliche, maybe. True, yes. He’s trying to remind me that without His strength, I’m a shell. A broken and depressed shell of a person. But if I want to be a soul feeder, I must first be fed. If I want to love people deeply…I must first accept His love. If I want to be the light, I must first find the Light.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love. Zephaniah 3:17