It has been nearly a full year since I wrote the first post for my blog in February 2013. It took me until May to have the courage to post publicly, and afterwards I was filled with elation and accomplishment, a sweeping euphoria, believing a fresh season of life had finally begun.
The prompting to write that day in May had come from learning of church planting colleagues who were in danger of having to close their fledgling church. Upon reading their prayer request, tears and grief overtook me as I relived the pain of our own church plant closing just over four months prior. I was blindsided by the emotions and the ensuing “ugly cry” and I soberly realized that the loss was still raw, the questions still unanswered, and it had been lurking just under the surface waiting for something to tear open my thin fragile skin.
Gentle Spirit promptings told me that writing about it was the only way forward, to put words to the grief, and process it out in the open. So I began the long overdue blog that very day, first getting the introductory posts out there, before getting into the weightier stuff. I prayed and planned out the theme of my blog (at least for that foreseeable future) to delve into the topics of grief and the holy mix of grace and growth that we experience in the midst of our grieving. That was my plan…
All that weekend after launching my blog I so desperately wanted to keep writing. I had opened the proverbial floodgates, and words and ideas and emotions were pouring forth, dammed up stories aching to be told. But though they swirled and crashed against my insides, they remained trapped with no outlet because we were on the go all weekend. I felt agitated, anxious, knowing I should be present for my relationships and activities, but instead stuck in my head and storming, irritated that I couldn’t hole up alone with my thoughts and a keyboard. It was like I’d been unleashed, and felt the freedom, and then immediately had to reign in the wild horse of my mind whose only desire was to run with the ideas, not give pony rides in a monotonous circle. My soaring spirit plummeted with each day’s restless anxiety.
That next week I began to experience a sudden deep depression, worse than it had been for a long while, dropped down into the dark space where chronic depression sufferers such as myself say, “Wow, things had gotten good enough that I had almost, almost, forgotten how hellish this place actually is…and now that I remember, I wish I could go to sleep and stay asleep until it’s over.” It was staggering. I was crushed. I felt ashamed at the little control I had, how I could be cut down so quickly. After a few weeks I confided in a few family members and friends about the terrible place I found myself in. “I don’t know what happened,” was my empty explanation. They listened, they loved, they prayed. And slowly over the next several weeks I clawed my way out of the hole bit by bit, until I found a lighter space where chronic depression sufferers such as myself say, “Wow, things had gotten so bad that I had almost, almost, forgotten how good life actually is…and now that I remember, I wish I could stay wide-eyed to the wonder and never close my eyes to it again.”
As many times as I tried to write about various topics and stories from the previous 2 years’ journey, with sentences and paragraphs and new documents, I just couldn’t bring myself to finish any of them. I think I was afraid that “going there” in my writing would possibly “send me there” in my spirit, and it was too risky. I did put up a few posts about grieving my dad, some that were written previously during his cancer journey, and one new one written on my parents’ “would have been” 40th anniversary last June. But since then, no new public posts for 7 silent months.
Until today. Because once again today I was faced with the realization that my grief, my pain, my feelings of loss, are still so close to the surface. All it took was a compassionate person who really knows me to ask some simple caring questions and the tears welled up, my throat closed, and I had to admit that it’s all still there, in need of continued healing and processing.
I wish that a year later I could move on and change the focus of my blog. But I didn’t spend the past year writing about grief, I just continued to live with it. A friend who invited me to start blogging on a collective blogging site last summer graciously assured me the words will come when it’s time – “You’ll tell the stories when you’re ready.” And so I will once again try to step obediently into those Spirit promptings, “Start writing.”
Thanks for joining me on the continued journey of grieving and growing with grace.
- Grieving on the Big Days
- My Faith Story: Re-Reading the Early Pages