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.
Our nation is set to welcome Donald Trump as President tomorrow, and everything in me mourns- not because I fear him but because he’s become a catalyst to unleash the ugliness within.
I felt concussed most of November trying to sort through what had happened. I felt betrayed by those who share my faith, scared for those whose well-being and lives were being threatened because they were seen and labeled as outsiders. I was despairing and felt hopeless that a nation that boasts of progress is still so backwards.
I watched Obama’s farewell speech the only way I knew I could- alone with a box of tissues and a cup of hot tea. I was expecting to be inspired, to hear him call us to justice, to get me riled up and ready to face what’s to come. But his speech wasn’t a fiery sermon. It didn’t get me on my feet shouting hallelujahs and amens. Instead it was a heartfelt reflection of where we are and how we can move forward from here, and though it was inspiring, it made me wonder if having hope in people is too naive.
My fingertips are cracked. The weather is cooling, and winter is coming.
I wonder about the Israelites looking for their Messiah, wondering who it would be and if it would happen in their lifetime. I wonder how they felt in exile and what it must’ve been like to be one of those who returned. Does God still mean what He said to us long ago? Do His promises still hold? Is He with us now as He was then?
I wonder about the heaviness of the silence before the Baby was born- how the older generation mourned the olden days while the younger generation couldn’t even imagine what it had been like, and no one could have imagined what life would be like with the coming Savior.
I wonder what it was like to be Mary, to hold the Promise in her womb, and to be the one who brought Him into this world.
It’s almost Christmastime, and I wonder how many of us are in the gloom, in the wait, in the ache. I wonder how many of us are hoping for new life and light, how many of us are longing to be saved out of our pits, out of our ruts, out of the loneliness that sits heavy in our hearts.
It’s almost Christmastime, but really, it’s already here. A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices– He has come. He is with us now. Take heart, dear friends. He is Immanuel, and He is coming again soon.