(Oh how I need you – All Sons and Daughters)
This song has been stuck in my head today and I really love it. Admitting need is hard, but this song is a really good reminder that it is okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to admit that we have needs. It is okay to reveal that we are broken and need help putting everything back together…and it is very true. “And to know you is to love you.” I’ve struggled with God these past few months. When life is intensely painful it is hard to understand God as good. It is hard to believe he even exists or cares. I had held on for years of hard things and this was just the last straw where I really didn’t feel like God was good or cared anymore. It felt, to quote Britt Nicole’s song World that Breaks “like life is only pain.” When that is the case, it is so difficult to go on believing. Everyone seems so happy. Everyone has their life figured out…and you are drowning and no one cares. No one sees you as the waves crash high above your head. (Yes, there were people who reached out, and for that I am profoundly grateful, but for the most part, you walk the halls and streets with people who don’t even notice your pain or if they do either shy away or pretend it isn’t there).
I have healed a lot, but there are still a lot of moments that are hard. There are a lot of times when I just feel frustrated. And all the people who walked through the worst of it with me are miles away, so now it is even more true that I need God, because he is the only one I have who is still accessible and understands what I’m going through. I do still have moments of doubt – it’s a lot easier to dump out the package of glitter than to get all the glitter back in the package – but I no longer have a totally empty bottle in front of me while I stare at an enormous pile of glitter with nothing but myself to try to clean it up or make it go away. There is a lot further I could go with that analogy, but that wasn’t what I set out to write…
Where I am now wasn’t plan A. It wasn’t plan B. It wasn’t even plan Z or plan ZZ…maybe we went through the alphabet three times all the way to ZZZ…I don’t even know anymore. Suffice it to say that a lot of things that should have been exciting have been things I’ve attended or done out of necessity and going through the motions but haven’t really been thrilled. I have been able to experience a few moments of joy or at least calm but the overarching unescapable feeling has been the loss. I’ve frequently been barely surviving day to day when I wanted to be thriving.
I desperately longed for death for months…and even now if given the choice I do not think I’d choose to keep living though there’d at least be a question in my mind now. It is hard when you’ve prayed every day for God to take you home and he hasn’t. When you’ve learned that no one wants you and you’re not good enough, not worth it, not going to make it, that feels like the piece de resistance. Even God doesn’t want you. Ouch.
Well, at one point in August I was really really trying to make the best of what I had, but was frustrated and told my friend that life was still super hard and it was hard to think it would ever really be okay, but there were three things at least kinda sorta in the realm of possibility that would make life easier…a friend, somewhere to serve, and choosing a church. I saw my friend on Monday. Tuesday I went back to my new home and went to an event at one of the two churches I was still deciding between. I made a new friend, got invited to help serve at an event that was coming up, and I decided that was going to be my church. God was good.
Life was getting better slowly and I started considering hope again. Then I packed up some work clothes and went to my parents’ house expecting a phone call from my manager inviting me to come in to process the job title change to pharmacist…and found out instead that I lost my job. I was crushed again. I had been doing so good not crying in front of people, but the tears were pouring down while I was on that call…I was really upset because the one thing I felt like I had left was gone. I was officially losing my coworkers and my job and the place that had started becoming my home in elementary school. Maybe a couple weeks later, still really upset, I told God this place would never feel like home because there were no babies for me here…backstory, I adore small children, particularly the first few weeks of life and at the church I went to at my parents’ house, I spent five hours every Sunday in the nursery. Not necessarily working with infants the whole time, but loving any time I did get with the infants. Well, that day, God brought me into a situation in which I got maybe 2 minutes with a small child. The kid was kind of on the border of really still being an infant, but that time was an amazing reminder that God was still there and still listening even when life was so hard…but at the same time I was thinking if God was going to give me the one thing I exploded about this morning, I wish I could take that back and ask for something about my work situation to improve…I don’t really complain as much about that anymore because it became hopeless and if you put so much energy in and can’t change it, eventually you give up…but anyway, like one or two days later, I hear from my manager that she finally got a position open that I could apply for. God is so good. I was ecstatic!! I was literally jumping up and down once I was alone. I went home that evening and finished that application so fast. I was thrilled!!
And then on Friday October 6th, I got a voicemail from my manager letting me know that she wasn’t able to hire me. I’ve probably written about that already, but I was done with life again, struggling to eat again, not sleeping well again. And burned out on hope – again it seemed like hope was just a way to be hurt more deeply. It wouldn’t have been a big deal to not have the job if I hadn’t known it was a possibility…and it wouldn’t have been such a big deal to find out I didn’t get it if there were any question in my mind whether I would get the job…but in my head, I already was ten steps ahead. In my head I already had this job and finding out I didn’t get it was taking away that lifeline I’d built for myself. It hurt so much and was one more set back in my healing process. I miss my coworkers and my job so bad.
But I want to believe in hope again. I want to believe that someday I will be happy again. And if I am being really honest, there is one way in which this extended period of grief has been beneficial. Grief messes with your hormones. The first big hit was in March, and I think since then I have had two or *maybe* three periods, and they have all been super light. That has been a huge blessing. One of the things I had been worried about before all this happened was the difficulty in adequate functioning and the potential embarrassment the first time I was on the first day of a period with new coworkers who barely knew me. I have been sent home early from work when I wasn’t needed, and more than once people have asked if they should call someone from the emergency room to help me, because I have trouble breathing and staying upright and might be non-responsive to people talking to me or waving their hands in my face until I can get enough energy to say something…so not having to deal with that with brand new coworkers is a huge blessing. If I could choose having everything I wanted back or having this, I’m pretty sure I would still choose having everything I wanted back, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t rejoice in the little miracles along the way…and maybe if I’m lucky even after the grief is totally over I’ll get to keep it this way. I could totally dig having only one light period every four months or so…being a girl sucks even aside from the whole being less diverse thing… #firstworldwhitegirlproblems…