So, I'm thinking that it's kind of a not-nice thing to do as a blogger, to put up a post about riding another wave of depression, and then to disappear for a week or ten days or so. The truth is that just the act of writing it down, of admitting it to myself, made me feel better almost immediately - further proof that I've made a lot of progress in the last year. And my mom came to visit us the next day, too, and it was so good to see her and talk to her and be able to sit and hold her hand, so that even when I felt spoken to - and I mean spoken to - the next Sunday night, and I wanted to tell you about it first thing, I was still busy spending time with my mama and my girls and decided it would have to wait maybe a day or two.
And then Halloween, and then stomach flu. Bam. Somehow Mom made it to the airport and got out of here without (as of yet - still crossing fingers) getting sick in the middle of it all, but the rest of us were laid out from roughly Wednesday through Saturday. I will spare you the details. I will say that it was NOT kind enough to be of the 24-hour-flu variety, and that I'm trying to look on the bright side and be appreciative of the eight pounds I lost. Because oh, there are better ways to lose eight pounds.
All of that to say, I'm sorry. I'm sorry to have left you hanging on a sad note. I am doing much, much better. And so many people wrote to me after I put up that post, sending encouraging notes and similar stories... I am blown away. Every single note means the world. Nothing is as isolating as depression, so to have other people listen, to be reminded that other people are in the same place or have been in the same place, well, I'm having a hard time putting into words how much I cherish the effort it takes to reach out. Thank you.
The Sunday night after I wrote that post, I took my mom and Lena to a new church we've found - just for our second visit. While Jimmy stayed home with an over-tired toddler and Lena made herself perfectly at home in her new Sunday School class, mom and I sat together in a pew in the old cathedral and listened to the pastor speak. Now, my relationship with the church is a topic that probably deserves one or two or a hundred posts alone, and I've been looking for a church to call home for, honestly, sixteen years? Ever since I left for college, I guess. I've never found one, and I've been to so many. Really, I was pretty much over the idea altogether. But Lena has been asking to go, so we tried this new place as a last-ditch effort. And the first night when we walked in, I almost began crying on the spot. It felt right, and my relief at that was as surprising as it was overwhelming.
Still, I didn't want to get my hopes up, really. I tried to be more objective on our second visit. And I think I was, even though they worked my favorite hymn into the music. And I was, even though the sermon was very good. But then the pastor went back to my favorite hymn, pulled out my favorite lines, and seemed to speak directly to me. Really. I almost couldn't breathe. I scrawled this down in my bulletin:
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;
Our natural path is to drift away from God.
All it takes for a boat to drift away from shore is not to be tied down.
He went on in that manner for what felt like a good five or ten minutes, and you guys, it was all I could do to not completely lose it in the middle of the congregation. In a lifetime of church attendance and religious schooling I don't believe I've ever once felt so directly spoken to like that. Directly, and again, unexpectedly. And it wasn't like being called out for failure. Not at all. It was more like being told that yes, I am seen. I am seen, and heard, and most importantly am loved through it all.
And being seen or heard would have probably been enough.
I will never say that religion is the answer to depression or mental illness, and I am incredibly grateful for medication which has helped dig me out of a hole that I couldn't even see a way out of a year ago. Please, please do not hear me saying otherwise. But I am saying that, for me....well....I've been trying to get this analogy right, you know? Maybe depression has been the drowning, maybe lately I've been above water but drifting, and maybe now I'm looking for the right shore to land on. And maybe I hear the shore calling out to me now, whether or not I want to hear it.
But I do. I really, really do.