Crouching Dragon, Hidden Feelings – Binge eating and temporary comfort

Dragonblog

By: Jana Greene

There is something so humbling about attending a 12-Step meeting, thinking “Whew! I’m glad I’m not THAT crazy person anymore!” and then waking up to walk on a carpet of pork rinds in your own bedroom. It kind of really drives things home.

I haven’t had a drink in nearly 15 years. As an alcoholic, I cannot afford to have even one.

That’s the truth about my drinking.

The truth about my ‘everything else?’ Its a little more complicated. I’ve heard it said that recovery is like peeling an onion – you address one issue and another is exposed. It’s so true.

Like this morning. I stepped out of bed, and into a pile of miscellaneous crumbs. They are miscellaneous because I parked out in bed last night (after a day battling chronic illness and a plethora of other minutia) I decided to binge on potato chips, pork rinds (pork rinds!) AND pickles, mindlessly, like a glassy-eyed Cookie Monster. Oh, wait. There WERE cookies involved too. I get so INTO food sometimes that I forget to taste it, and tasting it was not the priority anyway.

Eating my feelings was the priority. I am still – after all these years of NOT drinking – learning what to DO with all of these FEELINGS. There are so many of them, all the time.

The evidence of a ‘morning after’ eating binge can be just as distressing as a morning after alcohol binge. You wake up with that ‘what did I do last night?’ introductory thought, followed by deep shame and guilt when you remember (IF you remember, because sometimes I get so into it, I don’t even.)

I did not take into account last night that I was not actually really hungry, or that I would wake up the next day bloated and angry at myself.

No, because that isn’t how this thing works. You do not think ahead.

You are only thinking …

“I feel bad. I want to feel better. What will make me feel better RIGHT NOW?

That’s kind of a summary of ALL ADDICTION, even in it’s most seemingly-innocent forms: I MUST feel better right NOW.

One cup of coffee? What is the POINT? Three gets the blood pumping.

Nothing wrong with a sleeping pill on occasion. But I have a high tolerance, you see. It takes more for me. And more than occasionally.

Exercise? No, thank you. UNLESS I work out far past exhaustion, and only in rare spurts.

All or nothing. No moderation. One of anything is insufficient…..candies, hugs, books, cups of coffee, cats. One is too many and a thousand not enough, as they say.

It is a miracle that I’ve not had a drink and I love knowing that sobriety is a real, actual thing…that God can enable ANY of us to live. I have not had a drink in 15 years, but the beast is only debilitated.

My alcoholism recovery is not a means to an end, in and of itself. I’ve de-clawed a Komodo Dragon, in a manner of speaking. Have you ever seen a nature documentary featuring one of those giant lizards? They have razor-sharp claws that can shred an animal bigger than itself in one swipe. They have super-sharp teeth, too. And the worse thing is that their spit is toxic as hell and if the bite doesn’t take you down, they wait patiently for the poison spit to infect and fell you.

So, in this glorious recovery from alcoholism, I’ve de-clawed the dragon. But I have to stay on guard. It has more than one destructive mechanism. It is always poised to pounce.

There is so much work to be done on my inside. The parts that demand instant gratification, while complaining it ‘takes too long’ (as the great Carrie Fisher – herself a recovering addict – has noted.) I want to feel better RIGHT NOW.

That’s not how this thing works.

I’m still that ‘crazy person’ and that’s the truth about me. But I now know that I don’t want to be the feeling-stuffer / eater / drowner / deny-er.) I cannot afford to keep doing that. If I do, the alcoholism is just waiting to infect and fell me.

I want to actually taste life, and think ahead. Look forward. I need to continue to learn how to be kind to myself and gentle with all of my parts. And to heck with what anyone else thinks.

You cannot please everyone and get well at the same time, of this I am sure.

That’s why I’m sharing this today, because you are only as sick as your secrets, and I’m ready to slay that damn dragon.

Here’s what the Bible has to say (insert Lion instead of Dragon, and this is actually kind of scriptural, even!)

“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.” 1 Peter 5-8 (MSG)

One Stitch at a Time – A Veteran Parent looks at Hanging Tight

Stitch

My kid made this, on her first try <3

By:Jana Greene

I wrote this after posting a synopsis my daughter’s birthday events on my personal Facebook wall. After reading my own post, I thought about all of my friends whose children are going through the lurch-and-soar adolescent and young adult years…

The parents who tense up every time their sullen child walks through the room. The parents whose baby birds are royally screwing the nest up but not quite flying yet. The ones who cannot possibly foresee their kids losing the attitude and sass. The ones whose hearts are breaking. The ones up all night praying that their babies will ‘come back around.’

It occurred to me that one single Facebook post about a blissful evening with one’s grown-up children over-simplifies the experience, waters it down. It was kind of nauseating, really, without any back-story. So I am writing this for the battle-weary parents out there who thought it couldn’t get any worse than the terrible twos (it can, and it does, I’m sorry to tell you. Each year of your child’s life you have less and less control.)

But…

Take heart! One day you will really genuinely LIKE your kids and look forward to having them all in one room! Crazy, right? But you will!

What a difference a couple of years can make. Just wrapped up the family birthday party for my precious Firstborn, turning 23. She came over early so we had some one-on-one time before the party. I love spending time with my daughters.

“Mom, will you teach me how to cross stitch?” she says, out of the clear blue sky.

So I do, and we talk and stitch, catching up on things. I tell her that cross stitching is not complicated. It is just making little x’s. And then continuing to make little x’s until you see the bigger picture.

“If you veer off the pattern, improvise,” I told her. “Get creative and make something beautifully original from it.”

Watching my wild and zany offspring – the one who only a couple of years ago required some painful (for both of us) Tough Love – the one whose Edgar Allen Poe “Nevermore” tattoo is still healing on her arm – navigate a sewing hoop with a needle and floss? It was darling, I tell you. She is adorable, and I’m not just saying that because I am her mother.

We’ve been through some tough times in our relationship. We are so similar it can be annoying to both of us. And where we are different, we are SO different. My children and I still disagree on TONS of things. So many things that it could easily cause a rift, if we allowed it. I refuse to allow it.

Kids go through all kinds of phases, but here is the big secret: So do we, as parents.

My younger daughter arrived to the party, and we all get louder and more animated, as has always been the case. We aren’t a quiet, staid family. By the time the boyfriend of the birthday girl arrives, my husband is home, and I serve a roast and mashed potatoes – very June Cleaver of me, even if they were Bob Evans frozen mashed potatoes and cheesecake from Costco.

The evening continued as a dinner for grown up people who love each other …  not like a tense and drama-laden mandatory occasion to get together and sing happy birthday because that’s the thing to DO on one of our birthdays. Honestly, when the girls were all teens, I dreaded birthdays, because someone always had her knickers in a knot for every family occasion. Somebody was PMSing ALL the time, myself included.

It occurs to me how VERY much I like my kids (I love them of COURSE)….but I just really like them as human beings, too. These beautiful, interesting, hilarious, passionate, and loving people I got to give birth to because God somehow determined in his Mysterious Ways that I was up to the challenge. And challenging it has been, but so, so precious is that honor.

Peace. No fights. Just love, and inside jokes and warmth. And cheesecake, of course!

We sang a haphazard version of “Happy Birthday” and she opened presents. The wrapping on the gifts had been chewed on my two very naughty kitty cats who shall remain unnamed. Also, one of the gift bags was old. It’s probably been in circulation since 1997. But no matter.

Parenting is like cross stitching. You just make one ‘x’ at a time. Some of them are messy stitches, but if you never saw the back of the fabric, you would never know. To the casual observer, it might appear to have been easy work, raising kids.

Everyone has messy needle-work on the side that doesn’t face the world. That family down the street in the big house, the family that participates in activities together every night of the week and whose kids go on mission trips? The “perfect” mom you see at preschool whose very presence makes you feel disheveled and less-than?

They have knots and tangles, too.

And you know what? God LOVES that side. He loves us, messy stitches and all.

One of my dear friends has a daughter approaching “Magical Seven.” The age of seven is – in my humble opinion – the pinnacle of parenting because at that age kids are still sweet and think you hung the moon. They are just delightful. After I posted about my Firstborn’s wonderful birthday evening at the house, she asked me if I had any advice on weathering the adolescent years. Is there anything you can do to prepare?

My kids are 20 and 23, and 23 (I’m blessed extra by having a Bonus Daughter), and I will not even PRETEND to have the actual useful answers. But I HAVE learned this:

Hang tight. Love hard. Don’t be afraid to make a hard bottom line and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to say ‘I’m sorry.” Pray lots. Laugh tons. Find common ground, it’s always there. Never give up hope! Remember that she is not an extension of you…a part of you, yes; but not an extension. Her mistakes will be her own, and she will make them. But she WILL BE OKAY and so will you. And before you know it, she is calling you out of the clear blue sky to ask you to meet her for sushi or to see a movie. And while you are lunching with this young woman, you will be astonished that there was a time that she was so sassy and downright mean to you. She may even say, “Hey mom? I’m sorry I was such an asshole.” And you will say “I’m sorry I was an asshole sometimes, too. I made a lot of mistakes.”

Because that sort of thing can totally happen, and did to me.

I’m so grateful for all we have to do as mothers is keep making little x’s to the best of our ability until we see the bigger picture. Sometimes the finished product doesn’t look at all like the pattern but is even more beautiful. We make it complicated, but It isn’t our masterpiece to make.

And if you, as a parent, veer too far from the pattern? Improvise. God will make something beautifully original from it.

Little Humans, Big Faith

littleBy: Jana Greene

One of the simplest arguments for believing in a Supreme Being is this:

If you – an atheist – are correct that there is no God and I – being a Christian – am wrong about it….I have lost nothing by believing.

But if you are wrong and I am right? You have lost everything, eternally.

Recently, I have noticed advertisements on the Internet geared toward dissuading children from believing in God. With catchy dot-com names and colorful logos, these sites implore kids to wonder, “Aren’t you getting a little old to believe in imaginary friends?”

Again…if you as the humanist are leading a child to this conclusion correctly  – it seems harmless enough.

But if you are wrong, your pursuit in sharing the un-gospel with little ones is downright diabolical. Rather than nurturing that child’s natural belief in having been created for a purpose, you are attempting to cauterize his or her spiritual DNA. Jesus makes no bones about the seriousness of leading children away from him.

Children have a natural proclivity to believe in what we adults forget how to know. Not because the supernatural ceases to be true as we get older, but because we become jaded and self-important. We’ve been lied to and what we know to be true, we have all figured out. Telling a child not to believe in God to appease adults who think they know better…adults who have forgotten that believing is so much better than simply knowing.

I wouldn’t want to believe in a God small enough for human science to explain. That’s the bottom line.

To the purveyors of atheism (junior edition) I ask: would you ask a child to ponder outgrowing love or forgiveness? Of course not. The manifestations of those forces keep mankind from imploding – so destructive are our impulses at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Rather than trying to convince the children to be closed-minded adults, let them do what comes naturally to them – believe with simple faith. Child-like faith.

You might even want to try it on for size.

“…For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.” Matthew 18:25 (MSG)

Love in a Strident Age

StridentBy: Jana Greene
If you have a computer, watch the news on TV, hold casual conversations around the water cooler at work, or simply do not live under a rock, you may be noticing the obtrusive, piercing, and jarring way people interact with one another nowadays.

Everybody seems so strident, so harsh and self-righteous and RIGHT about everything, all the time. Worse, from causal conversation to message boards online to Facebook posts and letters to the editor, those same folks lord their views over the rest of us peons who may believe differently. Where does that come from?

If it is not coming from a place of love and compassion, it isn’t of God.

I think the stridency has something to do with the determination that neither God nor devil exists. We make our own rules, and in doing so, have no rules about how to treat one another. The current vernacular seems to be “And in the off chance they do exist (and not just the Almighty Science), they are not the boss of me!”

But as Bob Dylan reminded us in a song released during another strident age, “You may serve the devil, and you may serve the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” When you are your own Higher Power, you are not accountable for hurting others.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

We were all born with natures that desperately wish to be right about everything. Never before have people been so keen on using their own personal opinions to belittle those of others. The explosion of the internet age seems to have renewed our license to do so 100-fold.

Is it wrong to be a man who feels trapped in a woman’s body?

Speaking of a woman’s body, should the life in her womb be considered part and parcel of her alone, or a soul developing separate from her own?

Are you a bigot if you believe in equality for all, rather than special privileges for some?

What about race riots? Am I unsympathetic to consider rioting a crime in itself?

And is it unrealistic to expect that taking guns from a law-abiding people will result in those non-law abiding throwing theirs to the ground?

We all have opinions on all of these issues, some of us very strong ones. You can probably tell how I feel from the way the sentences were worded.

But remember the old adage, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it?” It was a ‘thing’ back before folks found offense in absolutely everything EXCEPT offending one another by means of disrespecting them. Disrespect is ALWAYS offensive.

In asserting our oh-so-surely-right opinions about every conceivable subject, we spew vitriol at even people we purport to love. That’s when we lose everything. That’s when it doesn’t even matter if you are right or wrong. You are bankrupt.

In an internet age, it is helpful to refer to an antiquated (but still living) document that gives advice for how not to leave this world in worse shape than when you entered it. In such a strident age – where everything seems topsy turvy – checking the list can be a helpful way to determine who is influencing you when you engage with others.

(I have to check it myself in order not to wreck myself frequently.)

Love never gives up.
This doesn’t mean fight about it until you are right! This means always remain hopeful for resolution and hope.

Love cares more for others than for self.
Holy moly, this is a biggie. We are only on number two on the checklist and already, I’m squirmy. If I love you more than myself, the nature of my need to be right all the time becomes much less jarring.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
In this case, “what it doesn’t have” is the illusion of being right all of the time. I’ve been guilty of ignoring this one in my quest to best the opinion of one I deemed wrong.

Love doesn’t strut.
“Strutting” proudly in Facebook comments or in real actual life is not an act of love. The enemy loves to see you strut.

Doesn’t have a swelled head.
Our heads are just so crammed with ‘knowledge’ in this explosion of information, we forget to leave room for plain old love.

Doesn’t force itself on others.
OUCH.
I’ll venture to bet that in the entire history of the interwebs, nobody has ever said, ‘gee…..I DID see it this way, but now that you’ve forced it down my throat, I now see it THAT way.”

Isn’t always “Me First”.
This is where it gets the stickiest. Because we are born with ‘me first’ natures and then conditioned to groom that ‘me first’ attitude in all of our affairs. The fastest train to true unhappiness is the Me First Express.

Doesn’t fly off the handle.
Flying off the handle includes putting hurtful thoughts directed toward others to keyboard and on a computer screen.

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others.
Another tricky one because, by damn….we LOVE to keep score, don’t we? We are really good at it! If you have determined that I am a terrible human being because of something I believe, you will be sure to keep a scorecard every time I screw up so that you can prove to yourself I am that terrible human being.
Doesn’t revel when others grovel.
If someone offends you and disrespects you, and apologizes, you should especially throw that scorecard away. Keeping no record of wrongs means forgiving.

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth.
We all do reap what we sow, of that there is no doubt. Think about that the next time you are tempted to engage with a person who you perceive as ‘goading’ you. Your response will plant a seed. You can plant a seed of your truth without pulling up their whole garden. You can say what you need to say in love. It is a lost art, that.

Puts up with anything.
Short of abuse, of course. If you love someone and their opinions differ from yours (no matter HOW wrong they are!) be patient with them. Love is patient and kind. Not a doormat, but a welcome mat.

Trusts God always.
Choose this day whom you will serve. Because (and this will come as a shock to some of you….) you are not the Highest Power in the universe. If you choose not to serve God, who IS Himself LOVE, you are still making a choice. Serving and trusting go hand-in-hand. He is trustworthy, I promise.

Always looks for the best.
Looking for the worst in people is the path of least resistance, and it is SO easy. But Jesus rolled out the red carpet for the worst sinners, He saw them for who they truly were to His father – royalty. He saw beyond their ideologies and wrong-thinking.

Never looks back.
“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” C.S. Lewis knew it. I know it, too.

But keeps going to the end.
It’s a process, to be sure. But until I breathe my last, I will keep striving to be less strident and more full of Love. To be rich in it, you know? Not bankrupt of respect for others. Because we all have to live on this big blue marble together by God’s design.

Love never dies.
And at the end…..what end?

The thing about love is that you take it with you. Every kindness, every positive word you give others in place of disrespect, every encouragement – it all lasts forever. It is the only thing that lasts forever. Harsh words sting and rot the flesh until death. But words said in love? They flower and you carry the scent into heaven with you.

When you manifest hatred toward someone because of their beliefs, you too are a bigot. When you manifest disrespect toward another human being, you are bankrupt. You have nothing to draw from to prove yourself either wrong or right – your account is already empty.

Whom are you serving? The obtrusive, piercing, and jarring way people interact with one another nowadays comes from somewhere. God is not at its source.

Now, see….if God is Love itself, there is hope. This is what I love about Jesus. While we were still sinners – obnoxious, self-righteous, strident and rude sinners –  (who perhaps denied his very existence) he died for us. He manifested love. He simply IS LOVE.

Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled….

And this absolute truth –

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!

So, how to conduct ourselves until we see clearly? It starts with recognizing that loving others is more important that “being right” about everything. That includes loving the ones who simply don’t care that they are not acting in love toward others.

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.

And the best of the three is love.

*Scripture referenced found in 1 Corinthians 13:3-13 (The Message)

Broken Beauty

Originally posted on The Beggar's Bakery:

By:  Jana Greene

“Look what I found!” my oldest daughter exclaimed, cupping something in her small hands.  Beach sand flew up behind her feet as she ran toward me.

When she opened them, I saw the perfect oval of bleach glass, as big as a silver dollar and the same color as her sea-foam green eyes. I congratulated her on the find.

“You can buy sea glass at any old gift shop,” she stated proudly.  “But the best ones are never man-made.”

We walked together toward the water’s edge, where her little sister was playing sea-tag.  At eight years old, she still enjoyed the game – teasing the waves with her toes and shrieking with glee as she out-raced them every time.

My oldest girl, holding the glass and rubbing the smooth edges with her thumb, asked, “How did it get to be so smooth?  Glass is mostly sharp!”

I…

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Getting Past the Breakers

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The Happiest Place on Earth

By: Jana Greene

As some of you know, I’ve recently had major surgery. Before my post-op appointment with the surgeon, I formulated a list of questions to ask him.  At the top of that list was when I was cleared to visit the beach and swim in the ocean. To my delight, he advised me that it would be just fine to do so now, just as long as I am careful not to get hit in the chest with a full-on wave. I went to the beach the very next day.

The waters are calm, except for the roll of waves near the shore passing over an underwater sand bar. Those waves, known as ‘breakers’ for breaking over sand, can be quite high and strong, even as they form in otherwise calm waters. Still, my need to be suspended in the ocean is great.

It’s been that way since I got sober nearly 15 years ago. The ocean was my church in some of the more difficult early times of recovery. My daughters and I lived in a tiny garage apartment across the street from the beach for some of that time. In periods of great stress, I would venture to the waters and swim until I exhausted myself and my means of anxiety. In times of pain – physical and emotional –  swimming became therapy. I’d swim out so far that the houses on the shore appeared like tiny, colorful boxes instead of million-dollar homes. My problems shrunk much the same way. It gave me perspective. Seawater had an almost tranquilizing effect on my spirit. And that I could commune with God on a whole other uncomplicated level out there in the water. A passer-by walking on the beach may have just seen a little head bobbing around out in deep water, a crazy person talking to herself. But God always meets me there in the water. Sometimes the crazy person talking to herself is just pouring her heart out to The Father in prayer.

When my children would suffer a scraped knee or a bout with eczema, my answer was the same. “You just need to get salt water on it.”

Salt water heals everything.

But today – in order to reach that place of suspension – I have to get through the rough breakers without disobeying doctor’s orders. I have to get to the good place by going through the bad place (where oh where have I experienced this phenomenon before?)

Donning my standard-issue, middle-age woman black one-piece bathing suit, I approach the edge of the sea. At the edge, the water is ebbing and flowing in calm and clear. My toes rejoice at the familiar chill and I cannot wait to go deeper. Ankle-deep now I stand, watching the sand gently sucked out around my feet at each tidal recession. It is a warm day, and the coolness of the water is beyond refreshing. At knee-depth, the waves start to get a little rougher, I am only several feet from the sand bar that is causing their swelling.  I reconsider this foray into the ocean, shrinking back a bit from the prospect of the breakers and their impact on my still-tender surgical wounds.

But I can see the waters on the other side, and they are resplendently lake-like! They are smooth and perfect. I wish I could just jump over the harsh breakers like a dolphin, skip over the rough and powerful waves. Or walk through them careless of the consequences, all que sera sera-like. I try to will them to calm, angry that they might send me home without my satisfying swim before I ever get the chance to have it.

I just need to get salt water on it, on my spirit. (Oh, and my surgical wounds too, salt water heals everything.)

Nirvana is just past this sand bar!

I cannot see the sand bar under the waves that is causing the ocean commotion, but I know it is there because of what I see manifest. High waves, churning waters. I’m afraid to move forward in case a wave slams me and afraid to go back and miss a great thing.

Eventually, the desire to move past the crashing breakers is greater than the desire to be afraid to go through them. I turn my back to the ocean to take the waves to the least painful part of my body, but I press on, walking backwards. I can hear them forming behind me, a great sizzling – the sound of water stacking more of itself on high.

Slam!

Up against my backside. I feel the bar of sand rise as the water gets shallower. Move faster now, I tell myself. The longer you hang out on the bar, the more opportunities the waves have to knock you down. I keep walking backward.

SLAM!

More water, nearly knocking me over. I balance myself the best I can, and keep going. The last wave over the breakers is powerful, nearly taking me with it toward shore, losing all that ground. But then, one more step backward and I float back into complete calm. It is as if I had fallen into a brand new fluid venue. The breakers are still breaking, but they are none of my concern now! Every muscle in my body un-kinks and oxygen fills my lungs. Ah, I just needed to get salt water on it.

I lie back and float, enjoying the weightlessness of both my body and soul. The only sound I hear is the a gentle water moving over my body. Like a band of angels playing the triangles. This is the only place for me that quiets my mind long enough to hear angels play triangles. My mind hardly ever shuts up.

On this day, I’m not able to swim like I am accustomed to yet – making great arcs with my arms and wide kicks with my legs, and actually getting from one spot to another. My body is still healing, so I make only little motions. A head bobbing about awkwardly in the Atlantic Ocean, making little velociraptor-like arm movements and talking to herself. No matter. The healing is the same.

And right on schedule, God meets me there. He had been with me in the breakers, too. Otherwise I wouldn’t have ever made it to the other side! He is ALWAYS in the breakers with me.  But in this place of having come through, I could feel His presence fully.

The beach is my big, messy prayer closet. I can try to talk to God in my living room, and I often do, with mixed results (thanks, ADD.) But covered in sand and swimming in the sea? I can tune into the frequency of The Creator. My noisy spirit communing with God on a whole other uncomplicated level out there in the water. Truth be told, it is one place where I am not finding fault with myself. I’m weightless, floating in an amniotic sac of what feels like pure love. The sun is warming my face, kissing new freckles to the surface. I am not finding fault with myself, I am too busy loving God.

There are a million breakers we all must somehow overcome. Addiction, divorce, abuse, depression. Perhaps you cannot see your own private “sand bar” under the waves that is causing the instability, the commotion. You only know it there because of what it manifests in your spirit.

Looking at the shore from my new Heavenly vantage point  –  the colorful boxes – I am considering the importance of occasionally distancing  oneself from the usual. I think about The Breakers in life, the rolling and smashing seasons that every single one of us has to move through. Try as we might, we cannot casually leap over them, or barreled through them on our own terms and come out in one piece. These times when we feel we are getting sucked under and smashed? Giving up and turning back isn’t always an option, nor should it be.

Do you feel that pull on your spirit? The desire to move past the crashing breakers steadily getting stronger than the fear of going through them?  Guard your most painful parts, but press on. You may get knocked down. Get back up. God is not just waiting for you in the calm waters but accompanying you in those crazy, awful waves that take you from one place to another. He doesn’t expect you to do it all by yourself.

Can see the other side. Isn’t it resplendent?

For each of the million waves trying to knock you down, there is a place that your spirit lets down it’s guard. It’s where your body un-kinks and oxygen fills your lungs. You will know you are there when you are too busy loving God to find fault in yourself.

It is the place or activity that brings you peace! You will only know where that space is by going through the breakers.

Perhaps gardening in soft, warm dirt, if that’s your thing. Or working with animal rescues, or in creating needlework. Or perhaps while wearing hiking boots, or picking up pen and paper. Find that sweet spot and go there every chance you get. GOD DELIGHTS IN YOU.

 

Before His Miracle Arrived: Robin Williams and the specter depression

Originally posted on The Beggar's Bakery:

williams

These days, I feel I could re-wire my entire blog to write about celebrities ensnared in deadly addiction and depression (after writing about Phillip Seymour Hoffman in “Skewer the Stigma” in February…) and that makes me really sad.

For every well-known person who takes his or her life – or dies from an overdose – there are mothers, fathers, siblings, and friends of “real” people who lose the battle every single day. And that makes me more sad.  They are your Hollywood icons and musical geniuses – yes…but they are also your family, community, coworkers and clergy.

God bless the brokenhearted, and let the awareness spread.

It could save a life.

The news of Robin Williams passing hit me hard. I was checking my texts while walking out of a 12-step meeting when my daughter messaged me. The tears were immediate.

It was only weeks ago that I offhandedly posted…

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