I believe in beauty. I believe in beauty in the midst of sorrow, and beauty overriding sorrow, and beauty coming at us endlessly from the God who says, “This suffering is necessary for where I’m taking you, but I am here. I am here. I am here.”
And even when He doesn’t take away what we want Him to, or give what we want Him to, He floods our lives with beauty. If only we have the eyes to see.
I believe that.
Where’s the beauty in fighting for life? Real life. Fullness of life. The life abundant promised to us, as opposed to emptiness and aching and simply powering through because there’s no other option.
Maybe it’s in refusing to accept that this is all there is. Maybe it’s in saying, “It hurts because there’s a massive gap between what I’m living and what I know the Lord has for me. And it’s supposed to hurt. It’s supposed to hurt because it’s NOT RIGHT.”
And maybe it’s in giving up.
I can’t make myself be excited about life.
I can’t make my job treat me with fairness.
I can’t ensure I won’t get fired.
I can’t make myself be important to people.
I can’t even put on a brave face all the time.
And that has to be okay.
Yesterday I left work fifteen minutes into it and I called the doctor and said, “I need to see someone today. I don’t care who. Anyone.”
And then I sat in the hallway, waiting two hours for my appointment- shaking, freezing, curled into a ball, my chest tight and my heart physically aching. And my eyelids grew heavier each minute. My body wasn’t my own. I had no control over any of it. Everything in me was screaming: “It’s too much!” My body was done, choosing sleep as a way of preserving itself.
But I didn’t fall asleep. Because I had an appointment to make. Instead, I sat there. I wrapped my coat around myself and stared at the carpet for two hours. And people walked by. And I know I looked crazy. But I didn’t care. I couldn’t care.
And that’s okay.
It’s okay to be a mess. It’s okay to sit on the floor in public and shake. It’s okay because I can’t control it, I’m not choosing this, and I am still here. That’s all that He asks of us, right? Don’t abandon the truth. Stand firm. Stay alive.
He doesn’t ask us to pull it together or move on or suck it up or to present ourselves only in ways that our appearance-oriented society will deem appropriate.
He asks us to stand. To cling.
And so I do. I stand (or sit) and I wait on the Lord.
And I don’t know if it will ever get better. It’s hard to believe it will. But I’m not giving up on life. I’m still here and I am saying, even when my body and mind feel like not my own and I don’t know how to be okay, “I love You. I love You. I love You.”
I can’t control what people think of me.
I can’t make people validate my pain or understand or not blame me.
I can’t make counselors be helpful.
I can’t take in their advice about “coping skills” and “acceptance” and not want to punch them because I’ve been doing that. I’ve done that and I’m still here at this place where I am waking up and trying to love the simple things in my day and I’m doing my best to keep on going, believing in a better tomorrow, but I am not okay. And no amount of fresh air or positive thinking of furbaby cuddles is the solution. It’s not enough.
I’ve done that–acceptance, gratitude, trusting the Lord, embracing the good in today–for so long, but I feel like one by one, things crumble. They walk out of my life by choice or become rubble around me, and I don’t know when this pattern will end. Nothing ever gets rebuilt. Things just keep falling apart.
And at what point is it okay for me to accept that everything around me is rubble and there’s not a single corner of my life that feels safe and secure and stable and reliable?
At what point can I say, “I AM NOT OKAY! And I don’t care that the rubble–the lack in my life–makes it easier to watch the sun set. I don’t care that there are birds and flowers and sunny days. It’s not enough. It’s not enough! And I know You are God and I know You love me and I trust You, I do, but I am NOT OKAY and I need something more. More You. More love. More medication. SOMETHING. This life isn’t sustainable. I can’t keep going on with rubble under my feet and my hands grasping at a God I can’t touch. HELP ME.”
Not being okay doesn’t make me weak. It doesn’t indicate a lack of trust.
My being here, my going on in spite of the fact that I don’t want to, that’s trust.
In fact, it’s worship.
And I believe that He smiles. Even while I’m barely human as I speak to a counselor, and I can’t stop shaking, and refuse to make eye contact because I’m pissed off and done trying to pretend like she is helping just to avoid hurting her feelings, and I just want to lay down while she’s talking at me and fall asleep. Even then, even while He hurts for me, I believe He smiles. Because it’s worship. It’s trust.
And it’s not beautiful by typical standards. It’s not newborn baby, warm embrace, tulips in bloom, beautiful. It’s bloody and raw and tear-stained.
And it’s worship.
And it’s not weakness. It’s not something I’m choosing by dwelling or refusing to embrace the God of hope.
It’s not shameful.
Let me say it again: DEPRESSION IS NOT WEAKNESS. IT IS NOT SIN.
It’s the opposite! Going forward when everything in you is tired beyond what sleep can cure? That’s strength! Knowing He’s good, even while you’re not sure when, if ever, it’s going to get better? That is worship.
You can accept and surrender and trust and be grateful… and still not be okay.
You can believe God is good and only has the best for you, and you can still weep because it hurts.
I believe that too.