Did you know it was a new year? Or did you somehow miss the fanfare and manage to move through the last week or two without a single thought to resolution?
I have always mistrusted the notion of a yearly list of resolutions. I need monthly, daily, resolution to keep moving in any direction. And I’m okay with that. It’s one of the few things I have accepted about myself. Most of the time.
But this year was birthed with the startling weight of a mental whisper during Communion. We have Communion the first Sunday of every month in our church, and I look forward each month to the renewal of relationship with my own Creator, who sculpted a vein deep in me which beats a need and hunger to create. Each month, with a humble head bowed, I hand back every single thing I have stolen from His capable hand. It is stirring, and personal.
On the first Sunday of this month, my mind’s eye not blinking toward “new” or “resolved,” I bowed my head as usual. And from the deep pool of poisonous voices I manage to keep quiet most days came the question, “Don’t you ever get tired of the unchanging?”
It was an accusatory question, but no guilt rose up from it’s pointing finger. In fact, nothing rose at all. Instead, I sank. Weary with the weight I prayed my way through Communion hoping the weight would lift.
Having stared down depression for quite a long time I have learned to mistrust these whisperings, this weight. I draw no spiritual implication in the lies my own mind hurls against me. But gravity does its job and the weight stays on me, in me. It is the illogical and untimely nature of depression that stifles me most. It takes one hundred nothings and mashes them up into a steaming ball of steel and holds it, just holds it, on my chest. I dare not question it, because in order to question I have to look, and I never see anything good when this demon is hovering over me.
The rest of Sunday was rescued by friends and fun, and I managed to forget for a while.
Then came Monday, and a failing. A simple failing, with a strange response. We have been wanting to get for Chloe (my daughter, who I speak about many places, but starting with my post Disarming ) a Tobii eye gaze computer to help with her communication.
I have been put in charge of applying for funding. Depression is only one of the rings in my circus. I get to ride a unicycle while juggling to the tune of ADD as well. This circus sat down with me as I stared at the pile of papers and came to the realization that I had lost a key piece of the paperwork.
As I searched the house the single whisper that began the day before invited a friend, and together they started a chorus that rang with another question: Why would a child with special needs be given to someone filled with such incomprehensible levels of incapability?
The question, the voices, burned through me the rest of the day. Ashamed I would ever think such a thing— who thinks these things about themselves?— I tried my best to ignore it.
As it turns out, the voices were like children, and the more I ignored them, the louder they got, until all that holding-together I have perfected failed me and I found myself on my knees at the couch, hovering in tears at the abuse.
In the cadence of these two words I finished out my day. I confessed them to Sean after dinner, ashamed at my own mind, while knowing I needn’t be. He sat quietly, then went to get Chloe, who he placed on my lap. She leaned against me, loved me, which is her greatest gift.
“Look at her,” he said. “There is no judgment there. And there is none here, either.”
He left her with me, and feeling unworthy of this greatest gift, I breathed her in.
The words are still beating inside of me, but they are getting desperate, because with Sean’s words began a surprising pattern of healing words offered to me at the strangest of turns.
Reading a book by Madeleine L’Engle titled Walking on Water, I found these words:
“I am grateful that I started writing at a very early age, before I realized what a daring thing it is to do, to set down words on paper, to attempt to tell a story, create characters. We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are, to see through plastic sham to living, breathing reality, and to break down our defenses of self-protection in order to be free to receive and give love.”
“It is a listening, unselfconscious love, and many artists who are incapable of this in their daily living are able to find it as they listen to their work, that work which binds our wounds and heals us and helps us toward wholeness.”
“The discipline of creation, be it to paint, compose, write, is an effort toward wholeness.”
So here I sit. In the writing, I seek out wholeness. Didn’t I promise authenticity? I would rather no one know of the wounds that drive deep into my days, but the wholeness, oh, the wholeness, for myself and anyone who might stumble across my page thinking the weight was theirs alone, for that I will dare to come undone.
Earlier today I read a blog that ended in a phrase that put a warm hand around my iced-over soul. More healing, more wholeness. In the blog “a diary of a mom,” Jess writes about her life as a mom of an autistic daughter. Her latest post Believe came to a close this way: “I know my kid isn’t yours. And yours isn’t mine. But neither are they now who they will be in the future. None of us is.”
Can it be true?
I know it to be true. I am not now who I was even a year ago, neither is Chloe. How can I acknowledge the truth of change around me through the lies— unchanging, incapable?
The answer comes in a song, posted below. “Shake It Out,” by Florence + the Machine, another voice suddenly singing louder than those insipid whispers. Knowing I offer myself none of the grace I would search the world over for anyone else, I sing with her, “And I am done with my graceless heart, so tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart.”
Every day if I have to.