Skip to main content

The Melting of Snow and Sadness

There are times when I get so inside myself I don't know how to come back out. I hurt. It's only expected, of course. Ask any parent who has lost a child and they will tell you the hurt never goes away.

I met a 91-year old woman who lost her son when he was 11. She told me not a day goes by where she doesn't think of him. She remembers him as if he were here yesterday.

You can, externally, appear very put together. Very well adjusted. Very okay. Possibly even very thriving. But sometimes, sometimes the hurt is too much to bear.

It might last seconds, like when triggered by a smell. Or minutes, like when triggered by a song on the radio.

It might last an hour as you flip through the pages of a photo album remembering with great fondness that time you went camping.

For some, the hurt pulls you down and holds you hostage for days, weeks even, sometimes months, threatening to never leave.

Sometimes the only way to escape is to talk yourself out. But family is tired of hearing the same sadnesses repeated and friends are busy and the therapist was on vacation and is now scheduled two weeks out.

And it's tempting to feel defeated. As if the sadness is winning by an overwhelming margin. And it's too late in the game to make a comeback.

I remember sitting in my car in front of a man-made lake. Just staring out. It was such a beautiful, beautiful day. And I was 22 and had a baby and the father fluctuated between nonexistent and threatening and my paycheck didn't pay for anything and I was constantly reminded of what a mess up I was because I wasn't in college getting my degree in marketing or economics and I felt alone and like a failure and I was tired, so very, very tired.

And I sat looking at this beautiful water, reflecting back the rays of this incredible golden sun, wild flowers blooming all around. And it was so incredibly perfect that it made me remember how incredibly tarnished and ugly I felt.

And I just wanted to be done. Done with everything.

Done with the 3 a.m. phone calls that I would never see my baby again. Done with the snide comments that no one would ever want me now that I had a kid. Done with feeling like a leper every time I walked into my church. Done with electric bills that went unpaid and water that kept getting shut off and formula that was too expensive to buy. Done with feeling absolutely alone in this beautiful world filled with beautiful people.

I just wanted to be done. To just not feel it all anymore.

I closed my eyes, started my car, and backed out of the parking stall.

And I headed home.

I can't say it got easier. Not overnight. In fact, it got harder. Life did. Much harder. Custody disputes, crazy new wives, braces and glasses. A sham marriage and a ridiculous divorce. Moving from apartment to apartment. Taking on two jobs, then three. It was hard.

But I kept doing it.

And I don't know when it was exactly, but one day I happened to be driving by that man-made lake and I remember thinking, "the last time I was here I was so incredibly depressed it threaten to keep me. I wouldn't let it."

Maybe I was too stubborn.

Or maybe there was still this teeny, tiny speck of hope that still glowed from deep within. One that I couldn't see at the time but somehow just knew was there and knew that if I kept putting one foot in front of the other there was a small chance it would finally ignite and my darkness would be illuminated. And I would finally be able to see truth.

Because depression lies.

Deep, loud lies.

And I, somehow, without grand knowledge or great fanfare, had made a comeback.

A quiet, slow, inch by painful inch comeback. Like a man learning to walk again after a stroke. With the physical therapist beside him, encouraging him on. You're doing great today, sir! Look at you! Much stronger than you were yesterday! My, have you got the fighter spirit in you! 

How important it is, that encouragement.

And I think that if more people made it a point to be bold and tell others about the good they see in them, maybe, just maybe, those truths would drown out the lies we hear in our heads.

And I think that if more people made it a point to be bold and speak truth out loud and write it on someone's Facebook page or send it in a card in the mail, or leave it on a note in their coat pocket, then maybe, just maybe, those truths would drown out the lies we hear in our heads.

And I think that if more people made it a point to be bold and say, "hey, I see that you've been riding that person really hard lately and that's not right" then maybe, just maybe, fewer and fewer people would think it's okay to be purposefully demeaning to others. And maybe, just maybe, that respect would drown out the lies we hear in our heads.

The sun is out today and the snow here is finally beginning to melt. My prayer is that everyone's sadness and depression melts away, too. But just as the snow needs the warmth of the sun to melt, so sadness needs the warmth of family, friends and especially strangers to melt.

So, starting today, go out at give three honest, heartfelt compliments to someone you think might not hear them as often as they should. Post on their Facebook page. Stop them in the hall. Leave a note on their desk.

Be the sun to melt someone's sadness. Because that encouragement will light the way for someone else's comeback.

Comments

Brenna said…
The thing I'm going to do is share this with the friend who just now posted about how depressed she's been feeling lately. xo
Mellie said…
Bridget, I know you know I've had some of these struggles as well. It's hard to put one foot in front of the other when it feels like life keeps sucker punching you. And yes, it gets to that point where you don't even want to keep talking about it even if people want to listen because you get sick of yourself at that point. Ugh. It takes special people to lift you up, and sometimes it doesn't even take that much. A friendly smile to remind you that you are worth more than you realize. someone noticing that despite your struggles, you are still fighting to stay above water. :)
I love that you posted this. You are amazing and I love you. Just love you. Anytime you need to be reminded that someone cares, call me, I'll get the chicken suit out and we can laugh our worries away for an hour.
Let's spread some laughter and some joy-what a great message. And most importantly, hope. Let's be ambassadors of hope. Without hope, we have nothing. I am hopeful every day. :)

Popular posts from this blog

The House that God Built

in·stan·ta·ne·ous /ˌinstənˈtānēəs/ adjective 1. occurring or done in an instant or instantly.
synonyms: immediate, instant, on-the-spot







The thing is, she died so sudden.
I didn't have the chance to plead with God, to make all the irrational promises. If he would just let her be okay.... I would start taking better care of my health. I would be nicer to the neighbor that drove me crazy. I would always let someone else go in front of me at Walmart no matter how long the line was. I wouldn't complain. Ever. I would volunteer at the Homeless Shelter. I would clean up after pigs. I would clip the toenails of the elderly. I would do anything and everything He would ask me to do....
There is a box on her death certificate that captures the amount of time between the initial injury and the time of death. It reads "seconds." I wish it read "instantaneous" because she deserves a clever word like that.
Fast forward five years.... definitely taking MUCH longer than "…

Seeing Avery All Grown Up

One day I'll tell you about the freezing cold we left and the heavy bags we lugged, full of supplies and medicines. I'll tell you about arriving in Port au Prince and walking across a cracked concrete parking lot to board an old school bus with a flat tire. How the heat was suffocating after months of below zero Wisconsin winter weather, how the people crowded and walked too close to moving traffic as we searched for a tire shop that was barely more than a couple men sitting on overturned 5-gallon buckets on the side of the road next to a pile of old tires, everything covered in dirt.

I'll tell you about waiting on the bus while they removed the tire and I'll recall the loud explosion that rocked the bus and scared the life out of me and how I was relieved to learn it was just the tire blowing after being filled too far. (They didn't have any gauges.) And then I'll tell you about the fear I felt when I realized we didn't have a tire and we were stuck on th…

When Your Imagined Life is Nothing Like This One

There were so many ways I imagined my adult life would be....THIS is not one of them.
I posted that on my Facebook wall last night. It might have been seen as funny except my choice of hashtags gave me away:
treading water getting nowhere piles of disappointment not many successes worn out and exhausted out of options

I always imagined my life would be thrilling. Full of exciting adventures and people from all over the world. I would dine at Ethiopian, Thai, and Indian restaurants. I would write books, teach English, coach forensics and direct the play. My husband would be charming and funny and not care about gender roles when it came to household chores. He would beg for at least six kids and I would fall in love with him all over again each time I caught him giving good life advice.
I would take photographs and travel the world documenting the people I came across. I would adopt a sibling group of three or maybe four and work on foster care policies because the ones we have aren't work…