Believe

One of my favorite animated movies (if not my absolute favorite) is “Rise of the Guardians”. There are so many reasons why I love this movie, but one of the things I love most about it is that it revolves around the idea that we choose to believe. The things in the world influence our ability to believe, but in the end, only we can conquer our own nightmares by choosing to face them and bring them to light.

I look at the stars in the sky, snowflakes that freeze on the window, and the hundreds of tiny little veins in a single leaf, and I just think to myself, “how can anyone not believe?” There is so much hope here, so much light. There is so much good in the world.

As someone who hardly knows what it’s like to not have depression, I have seen my share of darkness. Most of my life has been spent trying to find the light in the darkness. But because of that, I see light everywhere. I see light in the darkest corners of people who’s lives have been torn apart by addictions or mental illness. I see light in desperate situations where some will say, “what good could come of this?” And most importantly, I see light in myself. Even when I am in the depths of depression and death seems like the only escape and I ache for any bit of hope to hold onto, I find light in my faith that things will get better, that someone cares, that I am not alone.

People say that light and dark cannot exist in the same space. They are right to an extent. Light cannot inhabit the same molecules as the dark. But there is no room, no area, no place that I know of that has absolutely no darkness. Likewise, it is extremely difficult to create complete darkness. Light and dark seek to inhabit the same space, but darkness wins when light reaches its limit. Darkness is the absence of light because it exists when light is not there. 

Inside of us, darkness exists when we don’t choose to make light. I have always marvelled at how people can be so cruel. I don’t understand how people can hurt each other or become numb to the pain of another person. I guess it makes sense though that if you don’t choose to put light in yourself, the darkness will reside there instead. But I can’t help but see light in even the darkest of people. There has to be some good there, if they would just choose to turn towards it.

At Christmas time it is easy to dismiss the beliefs of children in Santa Claus or even in miracles, but it is that choice to believe that is so powerful. I want to believe in Santa. I want to believe in goodness. I want to believe that there is something better out there. I watch movies like “The Polar Express” and “The Santa Clause” and they make me want to believe in the impossible. I have seen the impossible over the last few years. I have experienced what I never even dreamed could happen.

So I guess my point with all of this is just to encourage you to believe. Believe in hope, in light, in goodness. Believe in something bigger than yourself. Believe that you are not alone in this world.

“All things are possible to those who believe.”

-adapted from Mark 9:23

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Grateful for Faith

Sometimes believing in something bigger than yourself isn’t easy. Sometimes it takes everything in you to believe that there is something better than how things are right now. In the desperate times though, faith has been the one thing that I have been able to cling to. Faith is what I am left with when everything else fails or falls away. Faith is my constant. Faith is my core.

I am so grateful for the faith that has guided me through difficult circumstances. I am grateful for the faith that has stayed with me when hope seemed to slip away. Life gets complicated and difficult and even unbearable at times, but that faith that there is something else helps me through the rough times. I may not have anything else left in me, but I am grateful that I can still keep a glimmer of faith no matter what happens.

Be a Weed

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I had a thought today as I was looking at the weeds in our grass. Our sprinklers broke a few weeks ago and the grass has mostly died, but the weeds are still coming up green. As I looked at those weeds (and the other weeds growing between the cracks in the sidewalk), I had the thought, “I want to be like that.”

It is interesting to me that weeds are the plants that are the most stable, grow the best, and stay the greenest longest. Weeds have deeper roots than grass and as such, are very hard to kill. Everything about weeds is great, except that they are weeds. If grass came up without much work and stayed green without much watering and would keep coming back no matter how many times it was stepped on, most people would be delighted.

So what makes weeds so bad?

The short answer is that they don’t fit in. The longer answer is that they look out of place with the rest of the lawn, and they are hard to get rid of, even with weed killing spray and digging deep to try to take up the roots.

Anyway, to get to the point…

Being a weed is not always a good thing, but it can be very good to have the qualities of a weed in a lot of life’s situations. I want to be like a weed because of their resilience. I want to be like a weed because of their boldness in standing out from a crowd. I want to be like a weed because of the deep roots that ground them when life gets tough.

Don’t be afraid to be a weed in difficult circumstances. Be a weed in standing up against injustice. Be a weed in standing your ground when others are asking you to compromise your morals or values. Be a weed in fighting depression or anxiety or health issues or other trials. Be a weed in coming back up when life knocks you down. Be a weed in having roots so strong in what you believe in that no matter how far someone digs, they cannot kill that part of you. Be a weed when your circumstances are not ideal, but you are determined to grow up strong anyway.

And perhaps most of all, be a weed in being okay with being a weed. Be okay with being different. Be okay with not going with the crowd. Be okay with standing up for yourself. Not everyone will love you for it, but sometimes being a weed is the best thing you can be.

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Trusting Someone with Your Anxiety

There are some people that you can just trust, that you know won’t hurt you, that you know won’t make you feel bad about yourself. My best friend is one of those people for me. It has taken me a long time to trust her, but she has patiently been there through it all.

The other day I was hanging out with her and realized that I was getting to the point of anxiety where I would either freak out or shut down. So I did what I always do and tried to escape as soon as possible. Of course, you can’t just leave without an explanation and because she’s my best friend, I told her the truth. Instead of just letting me go, she asked what would help. By the time I tried explaining everything, I couldn’t handle things anymore. I shut down and then freaked out and then shut down again, but it helped. I got it out of my system and could hang out again.

And she was totally understanding and didn’t make me feel bad about what happened or make me explain why I felt that way. She just hugged me and listened and let me still spend time with her afterwards.

I’m not sure what my point to this is, other than to just trust someone. Let someone know what you’re going through. Let someone know all of you, even the parts you don’t like. Maybe they will be more understanding than you would think. Maybe you will find someone who loves you anyway. And maybe then, you can heal from all the hurt and brokenness, from all the voices in your head that say you are not good enough and you are a freak and no one will ever love you. Maybe then, you can be whole.

I hope you find that someday. I hope you find someone that loves you and would do everything to not hurt you. I hope you find someone to trust with the hard things. I’m still working on becoming whole. I’m still working on the healing and recovery process, but with someone I can trust, with someone that loves me and doesn’t hurt me, I have hope that I will get there someday. I will get better. I can be whole. And maybe, just maybe, I deserve that.

A Wreck

Last Sunday, I was in a car crash right about this time. I was going to a friend’s place to return her cat that I had been watching the previous week while she was out of town. About two streets away from her house, a car swerved around another car in the left turn lane and made a left in front of me. I barely had time to step on my brake and honk my horn before crashing into the side of her car.

The good news is that no one was badly injured. My airbag deployed, breaking a small bone in my thumb. The cat that was with me has had a limp since the accident. But we were all very lucky considering the severity of the situation. When it first happened, I was shocked and shaken up but not upset. I took it really well and forgave them right away. In the days following, things have become harder to bear.

Just after the accident, I was fine. My thumb hurt and my car was totaled, but I was mostly okay. Not having a car to get around was inconvenient. I couldn’t go get something to eat whenever I wanted. I had to wake up early for work because that’s when my coworkers could take me. My thumb throbbed and I had to shower with my arm wrapped in a plastic bag so it wouldn’t get wet. It was more difficult, but all of this was mostly an inconvenience.

After day 3, things started to affect me more. The soreness set in and kept me awake from the pain. I got a rental car and emptied out my car. Looking at the front of my car and seeing parts of it hanging out was emotionally scarring. This was my first car, the car I learned to drive in, the car where I spent countless hours with my best friend. You might even say I made my best friend in that car. And here I was, cleaning my life out of it. It didn’t help that it appeared to have been broken into while at the tow lot and some of my stuff was missing.

Aside from my car, the increased pain continues to take its toll on me. I have finals next week and with the lack of my thumb, I don’t know how I’m going to complete them. The pain also makes it hard to think or concentrate on my work. In addition, I have no time off left at work. Due to everything that happened this year, I was running low on sick time and vacation time. The trip I planned to California for Christmas will have to be cut 4 days short.

I am honestly struggling. I have hope. I have faith. I believe things will get better, but in the meantime, life is difficult. Sometimes I wish it was just a little easier. Sometimes I wish I could get a break from all the hardness. But, I must be strong. I must hold on. My only question is, how strong do I have to be?

Faith to Not Be Healed

Depression takes everything from you. It takes away your friends because they can’t handle it all. It distances you from your family because you become too sick to know how to reach out. It affects you physically, emotionally, and mentally. You lose yourself and you lose your support. And all you know is the pain and loneliness. When this happens, what do you cling to? What is left when depression strips you down to your core?

For me, it is faith. A few years ago, I heard a story about a man with cancer seeking a cure. He talked to everyone from doctors to religious leaders, but the cure did not come. Finally, one of his leaders asked, “do you have the faith to not be healed?”

This story has always stuck with me. I know that for me, depression will not go away soon. My journey with it is not over yet. I still have a long way to go. But as I have watched depression strip me down to my core, I have found that faith to not be healed. I have found the faith to hold on even when things don’t get better.

Maybe one day this will be better. Maybe one day I won’t struggle with depression. Maybe one day I will be healed. Until then, I cling to faith. I cling to hope because when all else fails, that’s what I choose to hold on to.

 

Build up your Reservoirs

I have been going through the worst depression I have ever experienced. The darkness and despair seems never-ending. But as hard as it has been, as dark and hopeless as it feels, I have not completely lost hope. I have not given in to the darkness.

The reason for this is because of what I do every day. It is the hope and the peace and the service, the building up of faith that has been a part of my life since I was a child. As low as I have become, I have not lost hope because prior to this time I built up reservoirs of faith and hope and love. I built up a sanctuary of peace that could not be destroyed in a moment.

That is how I have survived this. That is how I survive every day. There are things that build up my hope and light now, but if I didn’t have those reservoirs to rely on, those things would not be enough. I would not have the light I need to keep going.

So my counsel to you is to build up your reservoirs. Build up your faith. Increase your hope and understanding. Hold on to love and peace. Whatever brings you hope and peace and love, cling to those things. Cling to the things that bring light and goodness to your life. You never know when you are going to need it.

I know that this is not over yet. This darkness and depression is not ending any time soon. But I also know that I am not alone. I am loved, and I am needed, and I am wanted. No, this isn’t easy. And the heaviness I feel will not just go away. But the light I have built up still shines. And no matter how low I go or how long this lasts, I know that my reservoirs are deep enough and wide enough to see me through it all.

And my friends, my amazing, beautiful friends, will not let me fall. They share their light with me and together we both become stronger. I could not be more grateful for that.