I’m not sure if it has come through in my writings, but lately I have been feeling incredibly shattered. Not just broken, but emotionally, physically, spiritually shattered. It was so bad, I didn’t even recognize myself anymore & felt like I was simply putting on a really good show for everyone else.
Of course, Neil knows me better than that & knew I wasn’t okay. To his credit, he didn’t express his fears to me before I went away. He was pretty distant and seemed really grumpy that I was leaving but I just figured he was irritated with me for leaving him with the boys for so long. As it turns out, he was afraid I wasn’t coming back.
And, to be fair, I wasn’t sure either.
At least, I knew I couldn’t come back as long as I felt the way I did. Fortunately my friends are also my soft place to fall & I knew that if there was ever a place to run away to, their home was it. They have seen me through two babies, a serious case of the baby blues, all Nathan’s tests, all my fears and even baptized both my babies. I rediscovered my faith when they lived here & they held my hand as I challenged, bristled and raged against everything I ever knew about God. And then they slowly guided me to a place where I could understand God in my own way. Always gentle, they gave me the space and time I needed to find my way back.
Through all the things we shared over coffee, hot chocolate and pancakes, I learned many things about myself. How I wanted to live my life. How I wanted to parent. How to make a difference in someone else’s life. How to risk. They have always made me feel welcome, accepted and loved in a way that I can only compare to family. (And I have a great family)
I truly believe that Erin holds a piece of my soul. There really is no one else in the world besides Neil who understands me that much. She understands when to push, when to back off and guides me toward an understanding of myself without ever asking me to substitute her judgement with my own. I had to do the actual work of putting the pieces back together, but she held my hand & provided new tools and insight to do the job much better.
I have spent many hours in prayer and reflection since I arrived at their home. In worship on Sunday, Ed provided a quiet moment where I realized what my problem might be. I took what felt like a giant leap of faith & suggested to God that if I was ever going to try again, now was as good a time as any. You have to understand that I have been unable to pray for months. After a while, I simply quit trying. So, there I was, in a strange church, in a strange province, begging God to give me another chance. And I was rewarded with a gentle “yes” and I cried.
And I cried most of the week. Every time I prayed, I cried because I could finally see that what I needed was God. Not more time. Not more sleep. Not more cooperation. Not more anything. I needed faith. I needed quiet. I needed space.
I can’t say that I’ve got it all figured out yet but I do feel like I am put back together. I managed to make it until my plane was in the air before the tears started again instead of when I was trying to say good-bye. It is never easy to leave a piece of yourself behind, but I know that it is safely stored and lovingly held. Thank-you Erin for your grace, your understanding and your friendship. And thank-you Ed, first for providing the thin place, and second for allowing me to deliver your message. You know what that means and don’t forget what I told you.
I am raw. But I am doing much better.