My eyes burned when I opened them. It was still dark outside but the muted tv was flashing. I blinked a few times and the burning felt like a hundred pricks. Squeezing my eyes shut then opening again didn't help to wet them. The tears were gone. I touched my eyelids with my cold fingertips and for just a moment the stinging gave way. I felt the sleep hanging onto my eyelashes like gritty frost. I dropped my hands by my side and stared at the ceiling fan. The blades weren't turning, but the shadows on the ceiling from the tv made it look like the whole fan was jumping. I wondered how much it would hurt if it fell on me.
I had to face this day even though my will was crumbled and tossed on the floor like the tissues. I know I'll eventually decide to fight another day, but right now I don't want to because my desire evaporated. Where had the daily push gotten me? In the middle of nothingness. A gray area of life that is torturous. You're not excelling and you're not in the mud. You're surviving. You're in mediocrity. That miserable place where you look to the left and notice other people's success and then turn to the right and see the suffering of others. You're neither one.
I'm not one of the ones down in the muck who can't fall any further. I celebrate the fighters down there. I respect them because those sufferers have a chance to rally. They can be the champions who overcame the brutal odds and pulled themselves out of the pit. They're heroes. I commend those who fell and fought and never gave into the asphyxiating troubles in their lives. I'm not one of the ones who made it the top either. I can't feel the sunshine and know good days are ahead. I'm watching the successful and gracious while they're stretching to help others to join them. They're building stronger and wider ladders so more people can celebrate the heights they have reached.
I'm not in either of those groups and I hate that I feel sorry for myself. I don't know how to push any harder and I know I could slip in the mud anytime. I'm ashamed for not being a better person. I'm ashamed that I gave myself an afternoon to sit in the wet mess of pity. Sorry that it's not enough when you try and do all the right things like raising children into citizens who have character and empathy. Serving in the church; it's not much but it's a part. Writing notes of encouragment or celebration for friends, keeping the pantry stocked, managing the laundry, making sure the bills get paid and supervising school projects and juggling house and car repairs and trips to the vet. In all of this, my work ethic is my detriment. Even when I probably shouldn't, I go to work anyway.
But then the children argue and say hateful things to each other on the way home from church. The very church where they say there aren't any cliques or judgement but there is both. I'm not sure if I'm being a parent and caregiver because I'm any good at it, or if people need me to do stuff for them because they've come to expect it. What is the point? It's a thread on a sweater you pick at until it unravels. I think about it until it comes apart. I feel it until the hurt fades to numb.
Sometimes the real celebration is not in the new job, award, or promotion. It's not in the wedding announcements or birth announcements. It's not in finishing the marathon or fighting your way out of debt. Sometimes the hardest accomplishments go unnoticed but still need to be celebrated.
I faced another day after a hard night. I got up when it would have been easier to lie down. I tried. I didn't quit even though depression strangles me. I fought back. And I listen when hope says give it one more try.
Seeds to Share:
Philippians 1:6 - And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.