Moments of JOY

So much has happened since I last wrote.  Sometimes when the darkness is so intense and the pain in my heart and mind so real, I wonder if I've lied and it's not really possible to find joy in everything like I say it is.  I wonder if I've asked for stories of finding joy and pretended to be on my own joyful journey, when really I'm just a hypocrite.  It's in these moments of pervasive, all-encompassing darkness that I feel completely lost and simply hold on until even a bit of light returns.  In these moments, I can't comprehend that anything but darkness exists, and the thought of never seeing light again feels so real and overwhelming.  But I wait, gripping onto anything that tangibly represents light, and try to hope that just surviving counts for something until the worst of the pain passes.

The pain I experienced these last few days doesn't have adequate words of description or explanation.  Just darkness.  So. Much. Darkness.  But every time I thought it was not possible for my fragile heart to endure any more of this intense refining fire, something would happen that would lift me up just enough to keep me going, just enough to help me know that joy was still within my reach.

--One day, it was a friend who took the time to talk to me on the phone.  I finally found the courage to reach out and ask for help, and this kind friend was there, ready to listen and to help me know that everything was somehow going to be alright.  She helped me find the courage to reach out for more help and reaffirmed to me that I am loved.

--The next day, it was another friend, a friend who simply said, "I'm sorry you're struggling" and let me explain once again the pain that was swallowing me.  She didn't try to tell me how to fix it, but just listened and felt my pain with me.

--That same day, it was my husband, the wonderful man God has given me, who got home from working all day to find the dishes, laundry, and dinner undone and a terribly messy house with his wife curled up in bed, where I had been for the last 4 hours crying, and patiently listened while I explained how I didn't know how to go on.  As I repeated over and over again that he deserved better and that I couldn't keep moving forward, he repeated over and over again how much he loves me, brokenness and all.  I apologized for taking too much time to crochet instead of serving him and working hard around the house.  He kindly, gently, and genuinely expressed that it's okay because it helps me hold on and find joy, and he wants that for me.  How I ended up marrying a man who is so patient and understanding of my struggles is beyond me.  He is everything I need and more.

--Another day, it was a friend who wrote a post on her blog with me in mind, a post in response to my last post, all about her struggles and how it's okay to not be okay.  Her light, bravery, and example gave me the strength to want to keep fighting, which is sometimes the hardest part of my battle.

--God continually brought to my remembrance something that happened last week that could help me remember that everything hadn't always been so dark.  Last Wednesday, I had 6 things planned for the day, and for one reason or another, each of the 6 things ended up being cancelled.  Normally, this would have been way too much for my mind to handle, and I would have spent the next few days trying to get back up from even one of these things changing.  But that time, I was just fine.  It didn't even bother me at all.  Knowing that this had only happened one week before, I could hold onto the hope that my currently broken brain would find peace again.

--Yesterday, while sitting around the dinner table, my husband told me about a conversation he had with his co-workers earlier that day.  One guy started talking about his neighbor with a mental illness and how she should be taken away and put in an institution.  My husband could have sat back and listened to this conversation, not saying a word, but he didn't.  Instead, he educated them about mental illness and the exhausting process it takes to find the right medication to help.  He shared some of my experiences and quickly softened the hearts of his co-workers toward those struggling with these challenges.  This really lifted my heart knowing that my husband was willing to defend me and all others who face difficult mental illnesses to anyone who just didn't understand because they hadn't experienced it for themselves or with a loved one.

Although things are not quite back to normal yet (I'm not even sure what normal is for me anymore), things are not completely dark and hopeless like they were for a few days either.  I once again believe with all my heart that it is possible to find joy in all things, even in the darkest of situations, and that even when things seem completely hopeless, there is always hope.

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1 comment:

  1. Shantelle, you are one of the strongest people I know. I know for sure that your blog is helping people, even though it must be really difficult sometimes to write. You are amazing.