How do I write about the mass shooting that happened in our beloved city, the worst one our country has yet to experience? How do I put words to the anger, confusion, grief, and disconnect I felt? Even those words miss the mark.
Monday was the same as every other Monday, except it wasn’t. I yell at the the kids to hurry up and get in the car so we can make it to school on time, but on our way I carefully tell them what happened. I tell them a man hurt a lot of people, that some of them died, and they respond in pure childlikeness: “That wasn’t nice.”
No, sweet babies, it wasn’t.
I force myself to read the articles, to take in the numbers of deaths, of those injured. Like a mother, I want to put my arms around Las Vegas- the place we called home- and hold it while it cries, to protect it from the good intentions of those who mean well but who don’t know it like we do, who haven’t lived there and love it like we do. For once I don’t have the capacity to keep scrolling, so I close my computer and walk away from my desk…
“It’s hard to find community,” they say. I sit across from them at Starbucks or at my dining table and listen to them share about the difficulty of finding people they connect to, people with whom they can build a solid friendship and grow together in faith. “They” have been college students, single young adults, and married couples. “They” have been both laypeople and staff members, newcomers and long-standing members of the church.
I’ve wondered why this is the case for so many of us, why it’s so hard to find the community we all long for, and over time, I noticed several patterns in our expectations of church and in our relationship with her.
At the end of August, we will have been in California for a full year. Others who made similar uprooting transitions before told me it would take at least a year to adjust, two years to finally feel settled, and it’s been true for us so far. The blessings, the benefits, the bright side of living here with family and near friends have been undeniably good though each good thing has been tinged with a darkness around the edges. Depression laying like an abyss in the background of my mind. Nightmares invading peaceful sleep for the kids (and then for us when they cry and scream). Old wounds coming up fresh in our marriage and working hard to know and love each other well again.
June was a particularly hard month— the tension of darkness and stress formed a pressure I couldn’t bear anymore. I lost hope and reason to keep going.
I’m over at the The Mudroom today talking about hope and my soul’s wellness:
I told my husband I felt like shattered pieces of glass lying on the floor with no one to help me, no one who knew how to put me back together. The cracks in myself, in our marriage, in my parenting had come to a pressure point, and the pieces that were held in tension gave way.
My survival technique of sucking it up and doing the next thing helped me get to where I was, but it left me exhausted and depressed. I had no energy to figure out how to disciple my kids in faith, to work harder toward health in our marriage, to know whether I was going through a bout of depression or recognizing a long-term struggle with it. I just knew I couldn’t go any further. I wanted to pause time, to escape for a moment to some place where I could breathe, to break away from the clinging and whining, and be still, at peace. But the fantasies of escaping turned dark, and even though I looked fine on the outside, I wasn’t well within.