I mentioned to you all recently that every once in a while—OK, way too often—I get a dose of what I call "the crazies." The rest of you may call it depression. Tom-ay-to, Tom-ah-to. Whatever. It's happening now. In the past 24 hours, I have cried about our school levy (which failed), the amount of money it would have cost us if it had passed (we own real estate), the friendship heartaches of Lamb, the hard time a friend of mine is having, the idea of leaving Roo in the nursery at church this morning (even though I've been doing it three times a week for two months now), and cleaning the toy room, just to name a few. If these issues upset me so much, you can just imagine how I'm feeling about the "real" issues in my life right now.
So that was my state of mind as I went to Bible study this morning. I was a mess, but I really wanted to keep my messiness on the inside, thankyouverymuch. And yes, I know that we are called to be transparent with each other, and people can't know to pray for you if they don't know what to pray for and blah, blah, blah, and all of those other good reasons for crying with a group of women. But let me explain… I have only been "singled out" to speak (and by "speak" I mean answer a question to the entire group, not just my small group) twice since September—something I normally quite enjoy. The first time was to talk about my family, and I cried when I started to tell them how special Roo was. The second time was when I was randomly chosen to share something that had made my week crazy, and several things came to mind but none were things I was willing to share, so I broke down and cried and shared that Lamb had been crying when I dropped her off at school that morning—which was true, but so not what was truly on my heart that day.
In addition to those two experiences in front of the whole group, I also cried to my small group during the first week when I shared Roo's diagnosis with them, and then again two weeks ago when I shared a huge opportunity/decision that is before me (one that I'm not sure I'm ready to throw out there for all the world to see just yet).
So this morning, as I was considering how I was going to handle today's schedule and interactions, I remembered a girl who was in an ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship—like a Sunday School class for adults) Mr. Fantastic and I used to attend a few years ago. It was a while before I knew her real name—and I have since forgotten it. I only remember how Mr. Fantastic and I used to refer to her: The Girl Who Cries. Seriously, without exception, happy or sad, the woman cried every. single. week. It drove us nuts.
And that's when it hit me… I'M "THE GIRL WHO CRIES"!!! When the heck did this happen???
So I walked into the building absolutely determined to put my emotions and my crazy behind me and just enjoy. Encourage others. Listen. Learn. Leave. Here's the real kicker: There's no reason not to do those things, because there's nothing that is actually wrong!!! I'm not sad about something today… I'm just sad! What's up with that? It's time to get my act together, get out of my own way, and enjoy my day. Right?
First, I dropped Roo off… and had to fight the urge to run back and get him. Then the first person I talked to asked me about a fabulous opportunity I'd been given to serve the women at our church—one that I had, with a very heavy heart, had to turn down. I teared up and got out of there as quickly as I could.
Deep breaths, I thought. Keep it light. I will NOT be "The Girl Who Cries!" I went back to my table and started chatting with the ladies. Yes, Lamb is finally feeling better, thanks. How was YOUR week? Tell me more. How did you feel about that? Really? An alien flew into your hubby's nose disguised as a booger and took over his brain? Yes, that happens to me all the time.Whew, it seems to be working. Not only am I NOT crying, but my mood is actually IMPROVING. This is good. Wait, what did she just say?
After some initial chat time, we had some announcements, etc, and then some worship time. Our worship leader—and our whole leadership team for our study—is fab.u.lous. I don't think she reads my blog… or knows that it exists… but thank you, Kate, for all you do.
ANYWAY, I was hanging in there just fine, getting going, getting past myself, getting into the groove… maybe not exactly happy, but functional, which was a dramatic improvement over how I had been an hour before.
And then it happened. Kate started playing a song. My song. A song that has brought tears to my eyes every single time I have sung it. A song that has had new meaning upon new meaning piled onto it each time I have heard it.
Have you heard the song "He Knows My Name"? It is more special to me than I can describe. I'm embedding it here—it's not my favorite version of the song, but you definitely get the idea.
Let me just give you a LITTLE background on my history with this song. 8 or 9 years ago, I had tried to make contact with my biological father (Have I mentioned on this blog that I am adopted?). One day (long story short), he sent me an e-mail asking me not to contact him again. He addressed it to "Kathy." I. was. heartbroken. That night I went to worship team practice, and our worship leader said, "I want to introduce a new song tonight." And there it was, all spelled out for me: "I have a Father, He calls me His own… He knows my name." Whoa. And God has used that song just as powerfully for me every time I've heard it.
This morning was no exception. "He formed my heart," they sang, and I thought about Roo's tiny heart with two little holes. "Before even time began, my life was in His hands." And He reminded me that Roo's life was in His hands as well.
That was as much as I could take. Three lines into the first verse, I hightailed it out of that room and had myself a good cry. And can I inject a side note here? Just as my tears from the song and its message gave way to my depression which gave way to loneliness, a beautiful face stepped out of the room. A friend had come out to check on me. I was terribly embarrassed to be crying again, but so so so thankful. Thank you, Emily.
So I got it together and got back in there. And can I tell you, I was so ashamed. There were people in there with real actual heartache. I'm not saying that I don't have anything hard right now, but I was so focused on myself because I was down… and I was down, well, just because I was, not because of anything in particular. And I started to get angry. I was angry because I was depressed and because I'm tired of being depressed and I'm tired of worrying about when I'm going to be depressed and how I'm going to handle it and how it affects how other people see me.
And for a brief moment I thought about grabbing the mic and saying, "Just so you all know, I am NOT The Girl Who Cries! I am a HAPPY. FREAKING. PERSON!"
But somehow that didn't seem like it would prove the point. Not the point that I was trying to prove, anyway.
So I didn't.
Instead I stopped trying to look like I was focused on what was going on around me, and I started to actually focus on what was going on around me. I stopped telling myself to focus on listening to and encouraging others, and started actually listening to and trying to encourage others. And although I had some weird circumstances toward the end of the morning (By the time I left the church, I had lost one of Roo's socks, Roo's blanket, and one of my earrings…), there were no more tears.
So aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll of that to say, I have penned myself a new Wednesday Prayer. It's not exactly "The Serenity Prayer" or anything, but hopefully it'll get me through:
Lord, give me a buttoned lip,Amen.
and the wisdom to quit worrying about them.
and the wisdom to quit worrying about them.