Friday, July 11, 2014
when drowning looks like swimming
Several weeks ago, I was out running some errands and Chris was working beside the pool while the kids played in it. At one point, Cana started jumping up and down excitedly, "Dad! Dad! Look! RUBY RAE KNOWS HOW TO SWIM!!!" Chris stopped what he was doing and scrambled over to grab the gasping and frantic girl from beneath the surface of the water. What Cana had mistaken for an ability to hold her breath and kick her feet, was actually Ruby desperately trying to avoid sinking, after her tiny foot had slipped on the bottom of the pool. "No, Cana," Chris replied. "Ruby Rae was drowning." Later on that week, I saw a report on the news about how it's often difficult to tell if someone is in distress in the water. Sometimes the shrieks and splashes just look like a mighty good time.
And oh my word, isn't that how it works when we are grown-ups, too?
This past year has been bad. Can I use the word shitty even? This past year has been shitty. We've been walking through some non-fun stuff in our marriage, and this past winter, I dealt with pretty debilitating depression. I was unable to function. Unable to get off the couch. Unable to deal with the needs of my children and my home. I tried all sorts of alternative treatments--essential oils and niacin and exercise and blah blah-- and in the end, went to the doctor and got some antidepressants.
Ugh. This is the part where I decide that I am probably just going to write this all out and then delete it. Just like in junior high youth group when you wrote a letter to the people who had wronged you, then nailed it to the cross and let the sweet baby Jesus have all your bitterness. Writing in a somewhat public forum is the social equivalent of me walking into the Starbucks and asking a complete stranger to assess the severity of the cellulite situation on my thighs. Vulnerable and hopeful that maybe people will still like me after they see all my jubbily bits.
I stopped taking the antidepressants about a month ago. They were ok, and took the edge off a little bit. But I gained 20 lbs in 2 months. And for someone who is constantly struggling to keep my weight in check, this is for sure a no-go. I slowly weaned myself off them and felt great! I was all, "See! It was just seasonal depression! I don't need that poison in my body anymore! I just needed sunshine!"
Except that things feel shitty again. I feel like I can't get off the couch or deal with the needs of my children or my home.
I kind of feel like I am drowning. But you wouldn't know it, would you? I have got some fancy moves and some pretty words that make you think that I am doing some kind of impressive backstroke. But the reality is, just like Ruby Rae, I am gasping for air and trying to come up from under the surface. And all of you just think I am a mighty good swimmer.
The funny thing about the pool is that at any point, Ruby Rae could have just put her feet down and stood up. I feel like I should just be able to pull myself up and be OK. I wish someone would just be able to yank my bathing suit straps and say, "Melody, you're being ridiculous. Put your feet down." But it somehow doesn't feel that easy.
I am not sure where to go from here. The thought of going back on medicine and gaining more weight makes me seriously want to cry. I know it's superficial. Shut up.
I am trying to remind myself of truth.
"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."
Just like Chris was present to rescue Ruby Rae, I know that Jesus will rescue me. I know this is just a season and that I will know peace and joy and hope and skinny jeans again.
But for now, it just feels sucky.
I don't know why I am writing this. I am not asking for help or advice... maybe I am just trying not to drown so silently. Maybe I am writing it to encourage YOU not to drown so silently. Whatever the crap you're dealing with, whatever the loss, or the betrayal, or the misunderstanding-- don't put a brave face and try to convince the world that you've got it all together.
The filthy rag, the cracked jar of clay-- merely a vessel for redemption.
I will boast in my weaknesses-- what is my strength compared to the strong arm of my Savior?
Jesus only becomes greater when we become less.
I am waiting for new mercies in the morning, and trusting that tomorrow will maybe suck a little less.