An Odd Day


Energy is known to travel with water.  Consider the lightning displays with some storms.  Nature has a way of being more magnificent than any fireworks man could concoct.  She is God’s creation after all. 

Seems like when the first real rains of spring come, I ALWAYS get an extreme rush of energy and emotions. Thankfully, today’s rains came on a Sunday, after church.  So, the flood of emotions were mostly convictions filled with hope, as well as fear and doubt.

I’ve been here before. Where I’m filled with on and off moments of spiritual bliss and enlightenment. A period of my life where I’m attending church, listening to uplifting music, getting out to know new people, making a conscious effort to be patient and kind, getting involved, abstaining from alcohol and drugs, trying to surround myself with positive activities and the like.  One time it lasted eight years.

It was real, until it wasn’t.

I had been doing fine as a single mom. I was focused on church and volunteering for the church youth group. I prayed daily for others before myself. My kids were priority, my friendships were strong, my kids and I loved our home and I had a manner of respect for keeping it together despite financial hardships here and there. My job was just ok. I was managing a movie and music store with nights and Sundays off.  Constant access to what I enjoyed balanced the crappy pay. 

Eventually, though, I started to get lonely. I began looking out and around and had stopped looking up. Slowly fading away, I started going out on the weekends hoping to meet someone.  I always did, but I just wasn’t the “hook-up” kind of girl. I longed for meaningful, intelligent conversations, watching well-made movies then critiquing every aspect while cuddling and drinking wine, going to concerts and dancing, tailgating with the best grub and our faces painted, meeting each other’s friends and making new ones together.  I knew I wasn’t going to find that at a club. So, I went to house parties. Things didn’t get any better. I met some terrible people who figured they could get away doing terrible things. I felt like I’d never meet anyone who would want me for anything other than sex.

It got to a point where going through the motions meant covering my reality with masks to suit the suitor. I not only felt lonely, but lost too.

Long story short, I had finally met someone, at work. We had most of the things I was looking for in common, EXCEPT for the most important things. He had no relationship with God, or anything spiritual, for that matter. He was agnostic. I thought I could live with that. He asked me to lead him spiritualy, but by then, I had already been backsliding.

I joined him two or three nights a week in bars so he could play music while I sat and drank. I thought I was going to meet all of his friends, till I discovered he didn’t have any close friends.  I was too enamoured by his ability to play guitar, that I figured we’d make friends together. I had stars in my eyes and heaven in my ears (so I’d thought).

I was so wrong about us making friends.  It felt more like we were making enemies together. THAT was something I wasn’t use to. I ended most nights sitting alone in bars watching him play guitar, enjoying himself as I drank my loneliness. A few years in, I had faded from my own friends.

Four years into our rollercoaster relationship, he went on to play in a great band with someone else I use to like spending time with years ago.  The band became the only thing he would sacrifice anything for. I tried to be supportive, I enjoyed that band and hearing him play, but I felt pushed aside and abandoned all over again. I became resentful. Not just towards him, but towards myself.  In the end, I had given up and pushed a lot aside to be with him. In doing so, I lost more than I had gained and I was miserable.

I see the pattern now. It’s always been that way with me. I do fine when it’s just myself looking to God for everything. But I become weak when that human need and desire to connect, to be held, to be made love to, to be wanted and needed washes over me. I look out instead of up. And if I may be so honest and blunt, I end up on my knees for the wrong reasons.

So, I’m afraid of it happening again.  I’m happy in my journey back to God right now. I’m willing to open up and be completely myself; the struggles, the flaws, the beautiful tragedy that I am.  I don’t want to fall off track again for someone who isn’t willing to encourage my growth and relationship with God and the legacy I want to leave my children and grandchildren with.

It’s been an odd day with odd emotions as I reflect on this.

“Lord I’m Ready Now” by Plumb


Let’s Be Broken Together

It’s been almost a year since the last time I tried to take my life. It’s been almost a year since I’ve indulged in suicidal ideation. Not to say I haven’t thought about it; but it’s been months since I thought about suicide at all.

The fact that nearly a year ago, my 13-year-old daughter had to find me laying on my bedroom floor, then witness me being pulled out on a stretcher and placed in an ambulance, and not seeing me for a week after that because I was forced to stay in an institution four hours away, is something I have to learn to forgive myself for.

It’s not so much the burden that I placed upon myself that hurts so damn much and so deeply. It’s the pain, the doubt, the fear, and the weight of a broken heart I placed upon my kids, my family, and the few friends I kept at a distance.

Some people believe that suicide is selfish. They are right. They are probably survivors. Those who were left behind to hurt and wonder: what could I have done differently? How could I have helped? Did I not love deep enough? Was I not there enough? Did I not listen enough? Was I too mean? Too selfish? Too busy?
They’re left doubting, hurting, beating themselves up, and struggling to understand. Some are left with a deep sorrow, wondering and questioning if there is a chance at all that they will get to see you in Heaven, and there is a lot of pain in that. So, yes, with all of this in mind, suicide is selfish.

BUT, for those who are hurting so deeply, so fiercely and in such a violent and dark state of turmoil inside, there is no rational. Suicide seems like the only thing that makes sense. There is only a prisson of dispair, the spirit has been suffocated, and there is a deep, but dark need to be free. I can tell you from my own personal experience: feeling worthless, unnecessary, unwanted, unneeded, used up, beaten up, beaten down, tortured by nightmares and memories that have made you lose hope in yourself, in humanity, and existence, while withering away behind closed doors because the looks on people’s faces and how they seem saddened in your presence, is total torture. Seeing that others are hurt or sad because of you, makes the thought of ending your own life seem like you are freeing them from a burden. So, with this said, it’s also NOT selfish.

Suicide is misunderstood, informatively misguided, heavily stigmatized on both sides of the spectrum, and mistreated. It’s a touchy subject that can be very different from one person to the next. Here, I am only sharing my personal experiences and opinions. People are afraid to open up about it. Survivors and those who have tried. It carries a lot of shame and embarrassment.

I’m ashamed and embarrassed. I’m no expert, but I wondered for a long time how in the world was I still alive after 8 suicide attempts in my lifetime, and WHY? The first thing I heard when I became conscious in the hospital this last time was “God really wants you alive for something lady, you better take this chance seriously and figure out what it is”. It was a nurse. I don’t remember her name because things were a blur. But that sticks with me. Because she was right. I’m still trying to figure it out.

The world is moving quickly. The weight that is placed on each generation becomes heavier as we are programmed to either look the other way or be too busy with media and technology to be aware. As we “evolve” we are also “de-evolving”. Our need for what we REALLY need has declined. We were made to love and to be loved. We were made to look up with gratitude and praise and to kneel in brokenness and humility. We were made to make connections with one another. To come together in our celebrations and our tragedies and lift each other up through all that life has to throw at us. I can’t help but wonder: if we slowed down a bit, looked up and reached out more, would the suicide and depression rate decline? It’s rhetorical.

So, as I continue trying to figure out what God’s plan is for me, I move as I am moved. I was recently moved to go back to church. I left my church 5 years ago. Mostly due to my own shame (stories for another time). I tried going back a few times but it never stuck. I didn’t feel it. I was too angry at God. I felt like an outsider. The church continued to grow and grow and thrive. In returning just recently, I felt like a stranger. Not because of them. But because of myself. See, when I was going through my struggles, I failed to see everyone else’s. I couldn’t be mad or upset that they weren’t there for me, because I wasn’t there for them. And I don’t mean “there for them” necessarily to help “them”, but there for them to see me broken, so we could be broken together and heal together.

It’s very hard to do; stepping out into the world when you feel like dying. If you are feeling this way, please give yourself and give others a little credit. Somebody wants you here, that’s why you are. So please don’t leave. I know it’s hard to believe sometimes, but you matter.

I’ve come to believe that when you surround yourself with good, loving, genuine, kind people who understand that a relationship, spiritual and alive, is more important than all the stigmas placed on being human, you’ll find that it’s perfectly ok to be a mess.

Look around you. We don’t wear our personal lives as name badges. “Alcoholic”, “Angry”, “Porn Addict”, “Speed Addict”, “Bankruptcy”, “Disease”,
“Divorce”, “Self-Harm”…. We all have flaws, we’re all fighting a battle, we’re all broken. Let’s be broken together…so we can heal together.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)