Life can be so frustrating. Things can begin to pile up and then they push us over the edge. And we fall. Tonight I spent time talking with someone who is being pushed and is maybe too close to the edge.
Living with anxiety and depression can be hard for us but it can be terrifying for those we love. They can see the cycle happening and want to do something but everything they try doesn’t help. They sense the danger and can do nothing. This can lead to overreacting. Being anxious and feeling watched for signs of stress doesn’t make life easier. The sad part is that we know it is about love but we also can do nothing.
The books that came out in the 1950’s and 1960’s talked abut what life would be like if we were being watched. “Big brother” is always watching. This idea is unsettling. It takes a toll and makes life even more difficult. It adds on guilt for seeming to be a burden and making those around us afraid.
This is a heavy weight to carry. Someone watching our habits…sleeping…eating…living and questioning our level of wellness can actually set healing back. I don’t know what the answer is. To be loved is what all of us want and need but it can be overwhelming.
Each of us needs to find the middle path between our loved ones anxiousness and our own search for wholeness, wellness and ability to function on our own. We must accept their loving care but need them to know that we are aware of their fear of harm for us, understand but also need space to just be be ourselves.
As I promised myself I have been reading Henri Nouwen’s book The Wounded Healer during Lent. Nouwen is not at easy read as he is every profound in his thinking. The book was published in 1972 so there are some parts that speak of a time that is past but he says so much that we need to hear.
Nouwen talks so clearly about what happens in these blogs and those I read. He says:”only he who is able to articulate his own experience can offer himself to others as a source of clarification.” That is the gift that we find is many blogs. People are willing to share of themselves. That sharing helps others to understand their own issues and find ways to help themselves. The openness allows for validation of others and allows them to begin to speak out also.
Nouwen goes on to say that this kind of sharing can be: “a deep human encounter in which a man is willing to put his own faith and doubt, his own hope and despair his own light and darkness at the disposal of others who want to find a way through their confusion and touch the solid core of life.
That is what happens as we share our own ups and downs, our own “darkness and light”. We do help others. It also gives meaning to our own lives and the struggles we have encountered. No one’s life is meaningless. Every one of us in important in the “circle of life.”
Never feel that your life has no meaning and that you are not worthy. God’s grace has been given to each of us as a free gift. We must continue to share.
It has been over a year and I am still grieving my ministry. The mediation program may help but I don’t think it will replace the joy I got from ministering to people. Part of what I did was lay hands on those who wanted prayer for healing. This was so moving for me. I always prayed before turning my hands over to God for it was not me. If any healing took place it was not my healing but God’s. I miss this connection with God and others so much.
People would come to a small chapel after taking communion and I would anoint them with oil and pray for them. Most of the time I would take them in my arms and pray from my soul. This was a moment to share with someone else and with God. The church I attend now wouldn’t find it appropriate for me to do this since I am not ordained. I do miss it so.
I hate it that I can’t let all of this go. I still dream about it. It seemed so much to be where I belonged. Sometimes I am so upset with God but I know he can handle it. Somehow there will be something for me to do. I know that there will be a place for me. I just have to wait. There is that awful word again. Wait. But I will wait for God to speak.
We are so good at putting ourselves down. We don’t need any other critic. The one inside of us does a good enough job. We think that we have to be perfect and that it is expected of us. We need a reality check.
Our reality check can be found in the Bible. When we look at who God chose to do the things he wanted it should give us hope. God called Moses to go and convince pharaoh get people out of Egypt. Moses was supposed to talk to pharaoh. Give a great speech. Unfortunately Moses stuttered. What a choice for God to make!
Next we take a look at Rahab. She was a women who live in Jericho. This was where the Israelites were to enter the promised land. They need information and sent spies into the city to the home of Rahab. Since she was a prostitute they felt they would not be noticed there. Their mission was successful and they promised to spare Rahab. She was to hang a red cord outside the window of her house which was in the outside wall. She and her family were spared when the Israelites attacked. A prostitute….chosen by God.
Now lets look at David. David sent his friend and soldier into battle to get killed so that he could have his wife. An adulterer, a king and favorite of God.
Mary was a teenager who got pregnant before she was married and told Joseph a tall story about carrying God’s child. Fortunately Joseph believed her.
Then there are the disciples who promised to follow Jesus but kept messing up. One of them turned him into the authorities and another denied him three times.
If we want to put ourselves down we are in good company. Anyone is good enough for God to choose. We are loved. We are chosen. We are OK.
I needed to pick something to read for lent. I like to tackle something that encourages me to grow. I may add something along with the one I have picked: The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen. I read this book a long time ago and I have decided to revisit Nouwen’s wisdom. I have pulled out several others but I haven’t made up my mind about which one to tackle. I always have a few books on the shelf that I planned to read but never got to. I have chosen Plan B by Anne Lamott and Dreams, God’s Forgotten Language by John Sanford to choose from. All three are totally different and I will have to see what works for me after the Nouwen. The front of the Nouwen book say “In our own woundedness, we can become a source of life for others.”
I am reading this again because I have seen this to be so true in my own life. When we have experienced painful things we are more able to help others who have had similar experiences. They are helped to heal by our woundedness. If you have had no problems in your life it is hard to understand and empathize with the problems of others.
It is so important for us to share and reach out to others who are wounded by life. We can share the things that we have done to survive and give hope to those in pain. Others who suffer with anxiety and depression have said to me that if I have managed to live a life that has given me joy along with the pain and survived that they can too.
From The Servant Song
Do not be afraid to share your ups and downs, pains and sorrows, and the things you have learned along the way It can help someone have hope.
Memories. Today I have been thinking about memories. God willing we do not lose our memories. There are so many that we have to share and we need to do them before it is too late.
I wrote this poem about memories in 1996
The Button Box
As I look for a shirt button
In my button box
The memories come flooding back
For in that box are buttons
In many colors and shapes
Sizes and textures
Buttons that tell the story of my life
A button from
the dress I wore
To the christening
Of my first born
A mandarin button
From the elegant bathrobe
My husband gave me
When our son was born
An extra button from the dress
I made myself to wear
To my youngest daughter’s
I hold each button in my hand
And relive the day
When the button
I didn’t expect
When I opened the box
To find memories
Memories in a button box
Memories are important. They take us back in time. They sometimes come unbidden with songs or smells or buttons. They can be good or bad, sad or happy but they belong to us. And let’s pray they will never be taken away.
All things to all people. An impossibility. Why do I think that I can do it? It’s because I have a family. I am a mother. Mother’s are supposed to be able to fix everything. Sure we can. Lately I have been trying. The impossible? Easy right?
I love my family more than life itself. If only I could fix everything that goes wrong. I can support, listen and love. I can be there no matter what. These are the things that I can do and I am doing them but I ache because I can’t do more.
I am a fixer. My whole life has been spent trying to fix things. I do know that not everything can be fixed. Can’t that be changed? Can’t we be allowed to do that? The answer is no. The world moves along and some things are good and some not. I can’t stop that. However, there is something that I can do. I can call upon the God that I love and trust.
“To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living”. —-John Henry
Sometimes when you don’t know what to say or when things are too overwhelming you can just call his name. Over and over and over. It will be heard. It will be understood. It will be answered.
Sometimes prayer is as simple as that.