My Two Great Pains

I sang the wrong song.

Standing there folding the laundry I couldn’t stop the tears. It was so unexpected- so not concurrent with the previous moment. But as the words floated from the corner speakers they pulled the emotions up and out. This is what she needed. Streaming down my face I could see her.

I know your lost and drifting,                                                                                           but the clouds are lifting,                                                                                         don’t give up,                                                                                                             you’ll have somewhere to turn.

It is entirely possible, maybe even likely, that my song choice wasn’t the deciding factor in her decision; that different lyrics wouldn’t mean that she was still here. I’ll never know though and that’s the disgusting reality of living through someone’s suicide. You never know.

But what I do know is that I’m struggling. I don’t think I should be. I hate that I am. I don’t even like to acknowledge the word depression. It conjures in me such clinical connotations- such venomous philosophical debates and all of them culminate strikingly short of the standard of healing. But I don’t have a better word to describe what it is I’m going through. If I could construct one without all the dogma attached I would. But I can’t.

Depression is part of my life right now. And my friend is not. I have to deal with what this means for me. As a mother, as a wife, as a follower of Jesus.

I pulled her on my lap and sang an anthem. A well meaning pep talk about how she could overcome…

This is only a mountain,                                                                                             You don’t have to find your way around it,                                                                 Tell it to move…

But I don’t need an anthem right now. I suspect she didn’t either. Sometimes when you’re struggling anthems feel like anvils.

My husband looks at me “I don’t know what you need! I don’t know what you’re looking for.” So I put his hand on the small of my back. His face softens. He understands.

Thirteen years ago we were on our honeymoon and we were snorkeling off the coast of Kauai. You would think that wouldn’t be very scary since we had just gone scuba diving… you know- pressurized tank of air, bubbles that can explode in your heart, completely submerged in an environment with wild sharks. Truth be told I hadn’t batted an eye at scuba diving. But floating there on the surface of the water I was disoriented and terrified.

As I stared down at the beautiful world underneath me the water gently lapped against me. The ripples gave me the sensation that I was moving and despite continually checking the shoreline and confirming otherwise I couldn’t shake the fear that I was going to look up and find that I had been drawn out to sea. I knew I was not a strong swimmer and wouldn’t be able to fight my way back. I was taken by the vision of my frantic efforts failing and my body, so small by comparison, succumbing to that endless blue expanse. Then I grabbed on to my husband’s hand.

Instant peace.

It didn’t matter that he wasn’t a much better swimmer than I was. Or that he had less scuba diving experience. Or that technically we could both just be drifting out to sea. It wasn’t that I expected him to lead me around or rescue me from a shark or keep me from drowning. His hand was solid in a fluid world and that was all I needed. It dispelled the fear and let me enjoy the experience.

There are so many disclaimers I want to make right here. There are so many things I want to define but this is not an all inclusive discussion. It doesn’t account for all the things I’ve come to understand nor the multitude of what I have not yet. This is an acknowledgement. An acknowledgment of my two great pains. It’s the most immediate take-away from a hard weekend and a hard season. It’s a confession, before I can sum it all up, and put a pretty bow on it, and sell it to you on discount. It’s my mess on a page and my attempt to lay hold of the healing I believe is available.

My most sincere intention is to post regularly regarding this. Mostly for my own good- but hoping too that as my Father leads me in this, it may also profit those around me. With tears in his eyes my earthly father lamented our need- our predisposition- for each of us to be the full package somehow. To all be able to stand alone. But I am deeply flawed. And so are you. And we need each other. We need the Father’s love. We need the Holy Spirit to show up big in the cracks of our lives and fill it out.

That’s where I am at this morning. That’s the leg of this race I’m running and the glory of God is still the ends I’m running to. May the grace and mercy of God meet you wherever you’re at. And may you see it for what it is. May God send a hand in the ocean and may you have peace.