Wednesday, June 18, 2014

when your vacation isn't picture perfect

I am currently 'on vacation'.  It says so in the auto-response I set up on my email account.
I could show you pictures to give you an idea of what that vacation looks like...


...or I could use my words to tell you the real story.


The pictures represent pieces of this week...happy, smiling pieces that I am immensely grateful for...but only pieces in a big jumbled pile that represents the incomplete puzzle that is my life today.  There are other pieces that wouldn't be so pretty to look at.

On rare occasions a drowning person actually needs the pounding waters.
And so breathless I have made my way to the coast...to the water.

I came here drowning in
doubt
fear
franticness
anger
frustration
sadness
the voices accusing me of being an unfit mother
the medical questions looming unanswered
the responsibilities left unfulfilled
the deafening noise that a season of crisis projects like a bad set of speakers turned all the way up.

Sometimes the things that drown us go virtually unseen by anyone else.  That's the part that really stinks...and leaves you feeling so desperately lonely.

They see the pretty pictures while we feel the ugly truth that
life. is. hard.
and nobody seems to notice...
that we're drowning.
Somehow the lifeguards have all gone off-duty.  They took a break for 'adult swim' and suddenly here's an adult who has forgotten how to swim...and nobody is there to save them...to save me...to save you.

I tell my kids daily - use your words.
And so I try to use mine to say...
I'm having a really hard time.
I think I'm about to lose it.
This whole situation has become almost unbearable.
I need help.
I don't know what to do.

But somehow even those honest, vulnerable words don't communicate the war zone in which my head and heart are dodging bullets every hour of every day.

Tonight I sat in my pi's on the porch that faces the shoreline and as the sky grew dark I began to feel light again.

Sometimes the drowning things need to be drowned out...
   washed out into deep waters like that little plastic cup Oliver lost to the waves this week...
   carried away in the instant it was dropped.

If I carry the suffering alone too long the weight of it starts to take me under and so tonight I begin to release some of the heaviness and feel myself doing more floating...less flailing.

The drowning things still remain but I close my eyes
to the sound of the waves crashing loud and rhythmically,
to the brush of wind blowing strong and thick,
drowning out...
drowning out...
drowning out the drowning things.

These drowning things...what are they for you?

Write them down.
Say them aloud.

They are like splinters lodged in your soul and it's time you realized that the source of all that pain was something so small and fragile that you could snap it in two with your fingers.

The hands that carved the shores for the seas,
the lips that blow the winds where they please...
they are greater than every drowning thing that has been dragging us deeper and clinching us tighter.

I used to believe that the best way to see your own problems as smaller was to focus on the bigger problems of others, but now I know better...
our problems don't shrink in the shadows of bigger problems, but in the light of 
bigger grace
bigger truth
a bigger God.

I still don't have all the answers but tonight the questions seem smaller and less scary, as the God of the universe reveals himself bigger and more beautiful.
Tonight my lungs feel full again.