Friday.

I had a panic attack while buckling my kids into their car seats. Critical mass was reached. No one can survive this without a crack, can they? Let’s not drive while we’re hyperventilating, said my better judgement.

I sat still with my hands on the wheel. Calming myself. They screamed at me. “Go! Go MOM!!! Come ON!!! GO!!!!”

I forgot the appointment to get the prescription I need to function without having panic attacks. I forgot because my mind is already strained. Strained at the seams. I’m holding too many things in the flimsy, filmy, fraying silk pocket of my ability. But there’s nothing I can put down. Is there?

I wish I was a good solid canvas satchel. Wouldn’t that be better for everyone? Why does the Maker who Makes Things make silken people? People who feel everything and break open and fail so loudly? I want to be solid. But I forget things. I get overwhelmed.

Shame and guilt and anger and hopelessness all descend as once. The four horsemen of the apocalypse. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t weep. I couldn’t possibly go on living like this… so messy and broken and mucked up. The realization hit me randomly. That I had missed it. Son dumped all his clothes on the floor and we were talking about responsibility and cleaning up after ourselves. And it hit me in the gut like a sock full of sand. And then I slowly, slowly lost control.

And now I’m ok.

We ran our errands. I cried most of the way there, but then I numbed up. I got baby-sized ice cream cones for the boys. We went to the post office.

How is it that we can be mostly alright and totally shattered all at once? Like some kind of broken snow globe within an unbroken snow globe in the puddle of a bigger broken snow globe.

Nice blobs of that fake snow fall gently around the statue of my life, as they should. They are lovely. It is good. And then there are also chunks of glass clanking up and down. Chipping off an elbow or a nose, here and there. I guess they’re ok too. I can’t get rid of them anyway.

I can’t make sense of this. I have no destinations to wiggle toward out of the morass. I am just sitting in the middle of what seems to be the inescapable mess of my own being, marveling at the strangeness of it. Wondering, Why me? And, How did it happen?

I have to feel my way forward with the written word, or it would be necessary to cut myself open to let all the giant feelings out. There are too many to fit in one medium sized body.

I’m not as crazy as I sound. But I’m worse than I appear.

The truth is somewhere in the middle.

 

 

The Terrible Gift of Fatigue

Tired and Desperate seem to go hand in hand a lot. You’re desperate because everything is fraying around the edges, and everything is fraying because you’re tired and can’t keep up. If you could bring order out of the chaos, you wouldn’t be desperate. But it would require MORE energy. Which you don’t have. And to keep giving out of a scorched dry place will only make you more desperate.

And round and round and round she goes. Where she stops nobody knows.

But she stops. She always stops.

There’s always a big, fat, unwanted, inconvenient STOP somewhere right in the middle of everything.

You can sort of feel it coming… your body warns you…

Tired tells you to slow down. Desperate tells you to work harder.

I don’t know what the answer is. Except to do less. Do fewer things with greater completion. Little things with great love, or some such inspiring bumper sticker phrase.

Unfortunately it usually feels like the only things you could possibly cut out are the things that are giving you life (creativity, friends, exploration, baking). And the things that make you insane are the things you can’t abandon (Eames and Oliver).

This is the cycle that always spits me out on the shores of depression.

When I’m finally so tired that every emotion begins to feel like sadness… that’s when I know I’ve pushed my luck too long.

This is when I start to crave some WINS to lighten the load. So I hustle even more. But it’s inevitably when I start dropping balls and failing. Which helps absolutely ZERO. Which makes me emotionally exhausted.

I know there’s a Narrow Way that leads to life. Few find it, I’m told.

I think the Narrow Way is humility. Surrender. Sovereign rest. Humbly bowing to who we are. Because he made us. Knowing who we are and what we are capable of, and saying, “Ok” with as much grace as we can manage. Open handed.

Ok, I’m not everything I want to be.
Ok, I can’t do everything I want to do.
Ok, I can’t fulfill every need I would love to fulfill.
Ok, I can’t reach every goal I set.
Ok, I can’t control all the outcomes I want to control. Because limits are real. No matter what our culture tells us. And this irritating thing is true: “We plan our way, but the Lord directs our steps.” Dagnabbit.

The Narrowest Way there could ever be is to be exactly who we are made to be. With all the interwoven pieces of our strengths and weaknesses. No matter how much we want to reject the wibbly-wobbly bits and the incongruous.

Sometimes I have to physically act out this prayer with a very real bow of my head (or my whole self if it’s a particularly grabby day): “Lord, I accept. I bow in humble submission to the amount of energy you have given me. To the emotional capacity you have given me. To the physical ability you have given me. I trust that it is enough for the work you have given me to do. And when it isn’t enough… you haven’t given it.”

Maybe my deep emotional and physical limitations are the gate posts of the narrow way? My mightiness is lovely, but it is my limits that bring me into focus. Somehow, in some weird way, submitting to them leads to rest.

But I don’t wanna.