When I was a freshman in college, my first assignment in English 101 was to write a narrative. My professor said she did not care what we wrote about, fact or fiction, as long as it was grammatically sound, sensible, and believable. I had never had problems with writing in high school, so I did not expect to have problems with this assignment. I dutifully wrote my paper and showed up at the next class prepared to read my paper as she had told us would be required. When it came to my turn to read, I stood up and read my the paper I had written that told all about my twin sister, Roberta, how close we had been growing up, and how hard it was adjusting to the fact that she and I had chosen different colleges and were separated for the first time in our lives. When I finished reading, my professor said that my paper was a good example of how we can take facts and make them compelling and interesting. Imagine her surprise when I told her that I didn’t actually have a twin sister at all. In fact, while I did have a sister, she had married when I was seven years old, so we never shared a bedroom or secrets or any of the other fun things I had written about in my narrative. And her name wasn’t Roberta.
I share this to make the point that I can sit at my computer and write a blog post that, in all likelihood, you readers would believe to be true, regardless of the authenticity of that status. When I first started writing this blog, though, I promised myself I would not do that. I have said before, and will repeat for effect, that I write first and foremost for my own therapy (for lack of a better word). Putting my thoughts and feelings into words, making myself type them, backspacing to erase and re-word, titling, publishing, and all the other aspects that go into my little corner of the internet is often therapeutic for me. Getting some of those difficult thoughts out of my head and spelled out in black and white can be a good thing for me. I vowed to not pretend to be something I am not in this space. I realize that some do not agree with this style of writing, believing that I should only write positive, happy thoughts. I could do just that and fool everyone who reads it into thinking that my life is all roses and sunshine. The truth, though, is that is just not the case. Life, right now especially, is more thorns and dark clouds. I can’t betray myself and pretend to have everything under control when, in reality, my life is often spinning out of control. Or at least it feels that way.
I’ll get back to that in a bit.
Today my husband and I spent the day with our youngest daughter. These days are always special. I don’t get to spend as much time with her as I do the other kids. Not only does she live the farthest away from us, but she is also a full time student and works 30+ hours a week. She spends a few days with us for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Beyond that, she doesn’t get our way. We had a full day helping her with some of the things a twenty year old sometimes need mom and dad to help with. We dropped her car off for some LONG overdue maintenance, (way worse than we thought–and way more expensive too!) went grocery shopping, did some clothes shopping, solved some computer issues, (well, her dad did that…she and I didn’t have anything to offer in that department), replaced some furniture, took out some garbage, loved on the grandkitty, and took her for lunch at one of her favorite places. After a long and busy day, we said goodbye and headed toward home, knowing we needed to make a stop at our older daughter’s house to pick up some laundry…and hopefully see our grandson. Since we took my vehicle, I was driving. We weren’t even ten minutes away from our youngest daughter’s place when my body began to let me know I had definitely overdone it. By the time we reached our oldest daughter’s, I was in rough shape. Details aren’t important. My point is, once again, I found myself hating so much about living with this disease. Tears flowed once again as pain, anger, and discouragement invaded my body and mind. I honestly cannot remember the last time I had a day where tears did not fall from my eyes.
I said I would get back to the idea that I often feel like life is spinning out of control. There are two truths that go along with that statement. One of them, many people in my life would be quick to agree with. The other, though, is one that I’m not sure many understand.
First, my head knows that my life is not spinning out of control. God is in control. He sees. He knows. And He has a plan through all this pain. I can almost see many nodding their heads as they read those words.
The second, though, may cause more eyebrow raising among Christians who may be reading. That truth– the feeling that life is spinning out of control for me, regardless of its truth or untruth– is very real. I remember someone once telling me, after he had asked me how I felt about something that had been happening in our marriage, that feelings were real and needed to be acknowledged. Whether or not I know that God has a purpose and plan for all I am dealing with right now, the feeling of discouragement is very real. The grip of depression is very strong. I cannot will it away no more than I can will away the MS that is affecting my eyes, feet, vocal chords, and balance. I think depression and discouragement are close siblings–maybe even twins like I wrote about in my college paper. For me, at least, this has been the case. Do I believe what God says about working things for His glory and my good? Do I believe He can make beauty from ashes? Yes. I really do believe these things. It’s just, right now, although my head believes them, my heart is putting up walls to those truths.
I am discouraged–a cold, hard fact for many to swallow, that a Christian could be discouraged. It doesn’t mean I do not love God. I do. It just means that, right now, my heart can’t wrap itself around the fact that God loves me.