I've had a few very poignant questions posed to me in the last 24 hours. They've made me really sit back and try hard to begin figuring things out. What were the questions which would do this?
Question #1 (3 parter)
"Is there anything about the time of year or this month which brings you into a bad place? If not, then what other things could it be? If so, then what are they and what can you do to make things easier and better?
So I've spent the last little bit really thinking about question #1, because it seems that September is a bad time for me the last little while. I sat back and thought about what September holds for me in the past and the future...why it might play such a potentially destructive role in the health of my life and soul. Seven years ago, my grandma passed away from cancer in August...so in September I was still fresh in grief over losing a very special person in my life. Five years ago, my mom was recovering from surgery following the removal of a somewhat rare form of cancer. Three years ago, my mom had just been recently diagnosed with kidney disease and we were dealing with what this meant for the future. Two years ago at this time, I was dealing with the loss of two family members, one completely unexpected and the other one was a terminal disease which only lasted three months after diagnosis. My mom had also began kidney dialysis and was dealing with difficulties with the treatments. Last year, I had only been here for a couple of weeks, after spending a month traveling between two cities. I was dealing with the one year anniversary of the two deaths. I felt very alone and confused. Then a friend got very sick from an aneurysm, suffered a couple of strokes and after almost a month, did completely recover. It's also now the start of the homeschooling year for our family - this comes with a book of challenges of it's very own for me lately!
I look at that paragraph and it explains a lot. You know, you can surrender things to God, but grief isn't something that always leaves easily. You don't just quit loving someone because they're not here. Even when someone makes it through something traumatic, it doesn't mean you never are touched again by what took place in that time or the fact of how that event changed the course of a family's life.
I just never really looked at things enough to realize that my valleys came in September. Couple all that stuff, with the summer break from a ministry year, sometimes along with a feeling of burnout...September just might run the chance of bringing about apprehension, of starting back into the "busyness" of life.
Does it make the valleys go away? No, it hasn't, but it has improved things a bit and helped me along the road in figuring out what to do...to not only get out of the valley, but also to try and break the cycle of events from continuing to happen year after year.
Question # 2 (Made my heart stop, as I knew I had to answer it truthfully - paraphrased a bit as well)
"You know that no matter how bad things get, that they are never bad enough where you would do something irreversible...right? You've never thought about that route, have you? You know you can call your friends at any hour of the day and night...we'll be there for you...you know that, right?
When this question was asked, man, I didn't want to have to give the answer to it. I silently prayed that God would give me the words to explain things truthfully and precise. My answer to this was, "Yes, I have thought about that route, but I WOULD NEVER and WILL NEVER act on that thought." Because that's what it is...a thought which has passed into my clogged up mind in the past. But I know where that thought is coming from...and I know WHOSE I AM and because of who I belong to, I know that nothing is impossible or unbearable, even when it might seem like it. I know that's what life holds for me now and in the future is the truest and most amazing gift, and I will guard and cherish it with everything in me.
I do know that I have friends I can call for help and they will come. The obstacle with this that I have to overcome...I don't want to be a burden on anyone. I don't want to bring people down or bother them with my problems, especially when there's so much going on. And then there's the PRIDE factor...I don't want people to see or treat me differently than before. I guess I don't want to admit that there are times when my head gets really messed up...sometimes without me really knowing until I'm deep in the quicksand.
But, I'm not perfect and if I'm going to try to live "real", then I need to truly live it and allow people to see me for who I truly am all the time, not just in the good moments of life.
So, now that I've had these revelations, am I going to just "pop" out of it? Probably not...I'm sure I've already cried enough tears to recreate the flood and I'm sure that there's more to come. But I'm okay with that, because that's all part of being "real" and "healing". Just like a fast, the tears help to cleanse the dark and dreary out of a body. Things will eventually look up and until then, I'll rest in the love of Christ and the love of those who are standing in the gap for me...there'll come a time, once I'm back on the up and up, that I'll be called to stand in the gap for them. When that time comes, I'll be there too...anytime of the day or night!