When you are a mom who deals with depression a number of things can go wrong. I deal with depression, I know. Self sabotage may be at the top of my list. But no matter how many others follow, from first to last, they all involve a lack of Mercy.
Yeah, they’re downright heartless lies and schemes I’d never so much as think of implying to a friend under fire, but for some reason I keep finding myself listening to, even (gasp) telling myself. (Sshhh, I really don’t want this to get out.)
Big deal if everyone knows how I stayed in my yoga (not-for-yoga) pants last week, right? But what about how I was contemplating my failures, wondering if my family would be better without me? Nah, don’t tell anybody about that.
I was nearly certain of it, before I forced myself to speak the poison out loud to my husband. I knew once I did the flimsy lies that seemed so strong would slither back to where they came from. I hated those moments, but I was searching and praying for the way to remember that I don’t have to agree with everything that runs through my mind.
Lies don’t like the light, and for some reason mercy is all my husband has for me and mercy is all light, so there with him, I’m free from lies.
And although guilt wanted to make a permanent hiding place there in my mess of hair, perched behind my ear no doubt, Jay tucked my hair there in place with tenderness, so guilt couldn’t make camp there any longer either.
“There’s nothing so strong as gentleness.”
I remember my parents had this art print of a Native American women in their bedroom when I was growing up, it had that quote on it. Words stay.
Sometimes wounds stay too, past the outer courts where peace and harmony belong but fail to survive because like a garden unlocked invasive roots have taken hold, bringing dissonance, and need.
Need. Mom’s know about need. We all know about need.
The territory becomes so confusing sometimes though because bliss romps through there too…it is difficult to distinguish between the pain of both, need and bliss.
There are no words for the way your own children claim your very heart, nor the way we give it so fully, so willingly. There’s no space left for words in between the intimacy of a marriage sweating out the pain together.
But no matter the paradise you find on earth, you can find hell here too. Wrestling with depression, with honesty, as a mom, as a human, only has about a hundred places per square inch to trip into those hellish pits—its a land mine. It becomes its own country at war, far away from truth, and help, at least, it seems that way.
Jay left for the weekend, and due to many reasons (most that have little to do with happiness or the lack of) I was still wrestling with depression. Dealing with my own demons, and darkness I feebly began rehearsing truth and strategies I had written down from past battles, but only to be left with the need to breathe, sleep, and wait. Yes, wait.
Sometimes Mercy comes slowly, and more quietly through the door than we realize. Down on the ground in the dirt, Mercy is the one digging out the stranger roots, the ones that don’t belong, sometimes Mercy just feels like all that other pain I mentioned before, the pain of joy and growth, the pain of need, the pain of love.
Jay called on the phone, and said something about beginning again. It was in reference to something else, …wasn’t it? I don’t know, all I know is, it was like this cup of cool water offered to me in my far off country.
It can get so confusing. It can get so clear. Clearly — pain is part of life. Dross burning, fat melting, humility birthing. Ah, Mercy all the sudden seems to have been here all along. I just was so tired, so in need. Maybe Mercy’s face, down there in the dirt of my heart, will become more familiar, if I can get closer, lower.
Yeah, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong with depression, but not getting my hands dirty there alongside Mercy must be the worst of them, losing sight of the features of that face must be the most self sabotaging of all.
Mercy teaches us the way to begin again, here, now, at the lowest points, at the roots. Mercy teaches me the way through and in that light, maybe I don’t want to leave this place, this country I’ve been planted. Maybe I just need that cup of cool water before too long again…
Maybe I could learn how to give it?
I didn’t like beginning this post, the lies of self hatred and voices ranging from belittling to shaming ran through my mind. But beginning was the hardest part, “…now I’m rested and I’m ready…to begin (again)”.* (Those are lyrics from a song I’ve got down below for ya.)
I’m ready because I know I’m not the only one, and neither are you. Between our daydreaming, avoiding, distracting ourselves, falling apart, being restored and finding our way down low again, it is honesty and light and togetherness that will help us find our way again.
Sending this out today with my warmest hopes and prayers for each of our journeys, thanks for being a part of mine,
If you liked this post, you might also like:
Waking Up in a Different Language
Please pass this on to anyone else who might want some company finding courage today too, thank you!
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*Song lyrics from The Avett Brothers, February Seven, video above