Sunday, September 11, 2016

Lessons Learned on my Journey to Joy Part 1

One of the awesome suggestions Michele Weldon makes in her awesome book Writing to Save Your Life: How to Honor Your Story Through Journaling is to write down lessons I've learned throughout my journey to healing, or in her words "to save my life." So here are a few of the lessons I've learned on my Journey to Joy. Note carefully that this is just a first run-through!!! ;)

1. No one can heal me but ME--and God. I can remember thinking to myself that it sure would be wonderful if someone would come along and just tell me EXACTLY what I needed to do in order to begin healing and moving away from the sadness, depression, anxiety, rage, etc. I even asked my counselor after I had been with her for a while why she never admitted me to the hospital. She told me that she had seriously considered it, but they only admit patients who specifically request it! Believe you me, if I had known that early on, I would have requested it. I desperately wanted my husband to notice how very bad things were for me and DO something--ANYTHING--to help me. 

Coming out on the other side of this journey, I see that I had needed to tell my counselor AND my husband as well as others around me that I needed help, but I wanted them to recognize that I needed help without having to be told.

Crazy, mixed-up mess, right? Yes, it was as horrible a vicious cycle
as you imagine it to be.

The truth is that even if someone had tried to help me as I so desperately wanted, I would have fought him/her tooth and nail. I would have declared that there wasn't anything wrong and laughed it off. But I was in such a desperate state that yes, I did consider the "S-word"--once, I was driving onto campus and realized that I was speeding up as I headed straight for a light pole. 

I can only Praise the Lord that He had His angels protecting me and that when the time came, with His help, I did ask for and get the help I needed.

2. It really is ok to say that I am NOT ok and to ask for help. As a pastor's wife and someone who has been a Christian the vast majority of her life, I felt an obligation to BE "on"--to be Strong in spite of the fact that I was dying by slow degrees. I was supposed to be the support for others, not the other way around. 

There was this one day when I was having a BAD day to end all bad days. As we trooped in for a faculty meeting at the end of this long, no-good, horrible, bad day, all I could do was complain. I complained about my students. I complained about not having enough time. I complained about having to grade so many assignments. I complained about.....I was grumpy and I sounded, looked, and acted grumpy. No matter what was said during the meeting, I had a negative comment that I refused to keep to myself. 

Once the meeting was over, I took my time gathering my things together to leave. Within a few short moments, I was left alone in the room with my boss' wife. She moved to stand beside me, laid her hand on my shoulder, and gently and quietly asked me, "Polly, what's really going on?"

And the floodgates opened. I bawled. I sobbed. I snotted. I even screamed quite a bit. It had only been a few short months since we'd lost our precious James Isaac and I had been filling my days with busy-ness in an attempt to deal with my grief. All it took was one gentle word from a loving friend to help start me on a different path.

It was a start. Unfortunately, the path I started on that day took a lot of side treks as well as did a lot of backtracking over the next 10+ years. But I will always remember Mrs. Gruver being so perceptive of my true heart that horrible afternoon. 

Not everyone is as perceptive, though, so it is vitally important that we tell others that we're NOT ok when we're really NOT ok.

3. Directly from #2, I have also learned to lean on and trust my friends, family, and loved ones. I especially have learned to trust that they will love me no matter what--unconditionally. Yes, there was a fear in me that if I wasn't the strong Christian woman I expected myself to be that the people around me would love and respect me less. 

Oh, how easily we allow ourselves to believe and justify the lies of the enemy!!!

I have always been one who believes and lives the adage that honesty is the best policy. For most of my life, I have been completely unable to lie. I have "tells" when I lie and they're pretty obvious. I became a Master, though, at convincing everyone around me--except those most perceptive like Mrs. Gruver--that I was just fine when, in reality, I was a quivering, pathetic mess. All I wanted was for everyone to love me. And I honestly believed that if I didn't hold myself together, no one would love--or respect--me anymore. 

Once I realized the lies of such thinking, it has been proven time and again how very much my friends, family, and loved ones actually do love me--unconditionally. And let me just say, it feels GOOD to be so loved!!!!

*To be continued.....

1 comment:

  1. You are loved!! Loved unconditionally by not only me, but by everyone around you and of course by God above... Thank you for being yourself, and allowing others around you the wonderful opportunaty to know the amazing person you are! I am truly blessed to know you!