Once again, I am using this blog as my therapy. No editing, no rewrites, just putting it out there. Writing what is swirling around in my head helps me to bring a bit of peace to my troubled heart. So here we go…
This move to Steubenville has been a test to my balance. In my heart, I know that this move is part of God’s master plan for my family. I am 100% certain that this is where we, I am supposed to be. I am just not sure why. The “why” is throwing off my wobbly balance. The darkness is present in a few different forms, most notably, an overwhelming sense of loneliness.
I miss my family. I miss being able to go to my mom and dad’s house for lunch just because I want to see them. I miss sitting on the back porch of my grandparent’s house and visiting with them, sharing funny stories about the kids. I miss my sister. I prayed and prayed that she would be blessed with another little one and she added twins to her growing family. So what do I do?? I move away. I miss my church family. I miss knowing all of the faces at mass each week. I miss my FIF’s. I just miss it all.
We have only moved 1 1/2 hours away. It is a trip that can easily be made back and forth in one day. My head knows this. But my heart knows that, regardless of this fact, it just doesn’t happen. I have to take the kids to school and pick them up. There is seldom and evening that doesn’t require at least one pickup and drop off for an extracurricular activity. It is just not feasible. On the other hand, we live in a time of social media. It provides the ability to stay in touch regardless of distance. I “am with” my friends and family every bit as much as I was when I lived in Dayton, thanks to facebook. I “talk” to many of them daily. We are still in touch. But still my heart hurts.
So here I am, trying to figure out what my purpose is here. We are settled in and the kids are doing fantastic. Check. The house is unpacked and at a point of maintainable tidiness. Check. The husband is working at a job that he loves. Check. Everything is great and we have a routine, which is why I think that it has finally hit me. With nothing left to worry about or focus on, this overwhelming homesickness has pretty much knocked the wind out of me. It has thrown my wobbly balance off and I am flailing about in the darkness. Enter in weepy days, not wanting to get out of bed, impatience (more than normal), and just a feeling of loss.
It always me takes a few days to realize that I have lost my balance. I don’t know why, but it does. I guess that I am a slow learner. And to be completely honest with you, I don’t really have time to deal with the depression. I don’t have the energy or desire to deal with life, but there really is no choice. So each morning I have been prying myself from under my covers. I have been forcing myself to shower and dress ( most days). I have been packing lunches and making school runs. Things slowly come into focus and while I am still overwhelmed by the dark cloud, I can usually figure out what has knocked me off of my balance. In this case, I have it pinpointed to homesickness and loneliness.
In an effort to pull myself out of this funk, I have been making a concerted effort to work on my prayer life. The darkness tends to cloud that too. I go through the motions and say my rosary and read the daily readings, but I feel nothing. I keep trying to get back to my wobbly balance. While doing this, I have recently started to read the 33 Days to Morning Glory preparation for Marian consecration. In this book is a chapter on Mother Teresa. This tiny nun changed the world through her love and devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Her mission in life was to bring souls to Jesus to help to ease the suffering of His aching heart. She taught such a lesson of love, not only love of God, but love of neighbor, the love of each other. But throughout all of this she suffered greatly. She experienced what she called, “a terrible darkness” in her soul “as if everything was dead.” This little beacon of His love and light, was overwhelmed with a darkness of her own. And it lasted for years and years.
After a decade of the “darkness,” she came to the realization that this painful longing was in fact a share in the thirst that Jesus felt. She persisted through the darkness that lasted until her death, because she realized that this darkness was a link between her and Jesus. She wrote, “Suffering, pain, humiliation- this is the kiss of Jesus. That suffering that came in the life of our Lady that has come also into the life of Jesus-it has come in our life also. Only never put on a long face. Suffering is a gift from God. It is between you and Jesus alone inside.”
Wow. This little paragraph spoke to me. I am not in any way saying that what I am feeling is even remotely like the darkness that the tiny Saint felt. But it is my suffering, however insignificant. As I said, this move, which I believe is God’s will, has brought about so many gifts. But the broken, sad, lonely and human side of me feels this darkness pressing in. I want to fight it. What would my weapons be? Medication? Therapy? Or rather a shift in perspective?? Should I, instead, look at this loneliness as a gift? Is this loneliness placed in my heart so that I will search more intently for Him? Is that why I feel so off balance? Is the darkness, the sadness, actually a loneliness for Him, for the parts of Him that I saw in my family and my friends? I don’t know.
The darkness that I feel is often unsettling. It is a feeling of being on edge and being uneasy. But there is a quiet that sometimes accompanies the darkness. Rather than run from the darkness, should I embrace it and just listen? In the darkness, in the quiet, I believe that I will find Him. That still small voice will call to me. The question is whether or not the noise of life, the noise of sadness, will drown Him out? So, now what? How do I find Him when I am lost in the darkness that is swirling around in my own head? I don’t. I don’t find Him. I let Him find me. As a parent, we tell our kids that if they ever find themselves separated from us and lost, STAY PUT. Just stay where they are and let us come to them. He is the Good Shepherd after all. He will not leave his little sheep lost and alone, even a sheep as whiny and pitiful as me. So, I will stay put and wait. I will keep on crying out and then silence myself to try to hear His reply. He will come. And until then I have medication and wine.