I know a lot of my posts are "light" posts.
I like those light posts. They are easy to write. Fun to read. Happy, happy, happy.
But the truth is, life isn't always "light".
To have light, you have to have darkness.
When I think of darkness, I think of last summer...
summer was a tough one. If you know me at all, I LOVE summer. I do. It
isn't that I don't love my job. I do. But I love that laid back
schedule, the time to be at home, the time to rejuvenate my spirit, the
time to be with my children.
Except last summer was not like that at all.
won't go into all of the details, though I will be sharing a little bit
over the next few weeks, but we had a tough time. I will just say that
one of our children was going through a very difficult time. And if
you are a mother at all, you know difficult time for a kiddo means
difficult time for you too.
And it was.
felt alone. I felt deserted. I felt abandoned by not only friends but
God. I felt sad. I felt hopeless. And I felt like I was in darkness.
All day long.
Please know I had to force myself to type those words.
Because there is shame in them.
I am a mom and a teacher who looks like I should have it all together. And a lot of people think I do.
But last summer was proof that I have nothing together.
Life is messy.
want to clarify that my darkness was not clinical depression (though I
may have been a step or two away from it). It was more a situational
depression. I was not on the brink of suicide, though I may or may not
have considered running away a time or two. Okay, if I am honest,
thoughts of running away (at least temporarily) are always right there
on the outskirts of my brain...
This was a darkness from
feeling overwhelmed with life. A paralysis of not knowing what to do or
where to turn. A constant self-doubting of my own worth and
capabilities. And an isolation from the rest of the world.
Part of the isolation was self-inflicted.
of what we were dealing with here, we couldn't get out of the house a
lot. Things were unpredictable. We needed a very consistent routine.
For several reasons, it just wasn't possible.
While I am thankful for things like Facebook, a very needed social outlet for a busy mom, it doesn't replace human interaction.
When you are in a dark place, it is easy to feel alone. Completely alone.
for me as a teacher, without that constant interaction with co-workers
and students, summer can feel a little isolated anyway. Even in the
best of circumstances.
But these weren't the best of circumstances. These were harder times.
So I felt very alone.
The other part of the isolation was probably not intentional but very prevalent.
I have always counted on didn't really seek me out either. Though I
was careful what I said on FB or through e-mails, enough was said to
send out warning signs that life was a little difficult for me. And
while close family and an occasional friend did reach out (and I am
forever grateful for those people), a lot didn't. I won't lie. It let me
One of my lowest moments was logging into FB
and seeing pictures of a group of friends and their kids having a great
time at an event. An event I wasn't invited to. Even worse, nobody
seemed to notice or care I wasn't there. (I realize that it was not likely intentional but when you are in darkness, it is hard to not feel wounded by life's slights)
At that one moment, the darkness was almost suffocating.
I say all of this not for pity.
In fact, I would rather not say it at all.
It doesn't bring back happy memories. It isn't who I want to portray myself to be to the world.
for whatever reason, I feel pressed to share. This post has been
churning in my brain all morning to the point I felt like I had to type
it out whether I wanted to or not.
I share it for a few reasons.
reason: If you are in darkness, know that you are NOT alone. It can
come upon anybody at any point in their lives. Doesn't matter if you
are rich or poor, Christian or not, an optimist or a pessimist. I
cringe when I hear people say, "How do you do it all?" I don't. And at
times in my life, I am paralyzed by that. I believe in God and have
Jesus living in my heart. He is always with me through His Spirit. But
sadly, when everything feels so dark, it is hard to remember. He is
there. And He has people all around you who are there too, many who
have been where you are.
Another reason: Know that
the darkness WILL lift. There will be light again. And when you are
in the light again, you will treasure those moments that much more. The
difference between last summer and this summer (with the exception of
possibly today which hasn't been that much fun :) is the difference
between night and day...
And my last reason: Even if
you aren't sitting in darkness feeling very alone, there is a GOOD
chance someone you know and love is. You may not realize it but start
watching. Does someone you love smile but painfully so? Are you
reading e-mails or FB messages that seem joking but underneath there is a
cry for help? Or has someone withdrawn from your circle of friends
whether intentionally or not? Reach out to them. Ask, "Is everything
okay?" And be prepared to listen if it isn't. Even if you get a
"Yeah...", ask again. Sincerely. Pray for that person. Pray for
opportunities to be a good friend to them. Even just a short text or
e-mail saying, "Hey, it looks like things are tough right now, I am
thinking about you" can go a long way.
I am a little
nervous to actually post this. I realize some may look at me
differently. Or conjure up theories and hypotheses of what was going on
in our lives. Or smugly read this and think, "Well, I am so glad this
is not my problem..."
But hopefully, if even one person reads it and sees themselves and feels even a little less alone, it will be worth it.