Be Here Now

Old news to anyone who’s read this blog in the past: I struggle with anxiety and depression. Sometimes those two conspire to manifest through conversion disorder. In third grade, that meant I missed more than half the year of school due to stomach aches that had me doubled in pain. In college, it meant scaly skin on my eyelids. Many times, conversion disorder meant headaches, migraines. Then it morphed into falling out. I would pass out. Over and over. Sometimes I didn’t wake on my own, or at least not quickly. I lost my ability to drive, my self-direction, and my independence. I couldn’t shower, certainly not alone. I couldn’t care for my little boys. I couldn’t be counted on for anything but weakness, pain, and self-loathing.

I’ve been somewhat better for a while now. No more loss of consciousness – and that is a win. I drive. I bathe myself all by myself. My family allows me to stay home alone, go out alone, and wander away from them in public places.

Too often, I find myself ruminating and fearing. That happened. What if it happens again? What if I let everyone down? What if my kids grow up with me as their broken mother? What if they don’t?

It robs me of the present. It prevents me connecting with Husband, Eldest, Middling, and Third. It stops the process of being in the moment as soon as the moment begins.

In therapy last week, I was talking about these things. About my endless waiting. My constant worry over past and future and whether the airplane flying overhead will stay in the sky. I decided I needed an object. Some thing to remind me.

I told Husband and he suggested the words ‘be here now’. I ordered two items for myself on Saturday – a ring and a necklace, both to be stamped with those words – because I had received an unanticipated payment and invested in this idea. In the notes on the order, I thanked the company for the $40 off coupon because that allowed me to expedite the order. I explained that anxiety and depression are my enemies and the reason for these pieces of jewelry.

Simple Message Ring, lower case plain; Wrapped Message Necklace, gold rolo chain, natural/organic lettering

Then election night came. I was honestly unsurprised by the outcome. I’d thought for weeks that Trump would be elected, but I’d hoped it was my pessimism running amok.

This morning my doorbell rang and a small package graced my doorstep. Inside were the items I ordered, hand crafted by Kendra. I put them on immediately. I traced the letters and immersed myself in the now.

That’s what we must do in this present time. We must embrace the now. The now is when and where we can create change. Now is the conduit through which we all touch life. Now will help me connect, help me be, help me do.vintagepearl-createdbykendra

Isn’t that what it comes down to for all of us? What lets us connect, be, and do? Find it. Find it in art, love, cooking, praying, giving, working – ANYTHING – but find it. We have more reason today than we had even yesterday to be here now.

Blessings, friends.

By the way, if you need some stamped jewelry, check out The Vintage Pearl. They are located in Oklahoma. If you need another reason, just check out this super kind note they added to my order.VintagePearl.Note.jpg

The Reinvention of Me: Reinventing Brokenness

In a year of reinvention, when my goal is to be well and truly whole, it strikes me odd that I want to reinvent brokenness.

I mean, I’ve been broken. I’ve been shattered. Into pieces so powdered I felt sure being whole was impossible.

The pieces, reinvented, have been coming back together. Slowly. Over many years. This isn’t the beginning of the story, for that was a time indescribable. It was a time too vicious and unruly and nebulous to have been reduced to something as fine as language. No, the beginning came in 2008 when I decided not to die.

I believe in the God of the Bible, old and new testaments. I don’t always frame my reinvention or recovery in biblical terms, though my faith is a constant wellspring of renewal. In this post, my reinvention comes straight from that book, and so here we are. Before I go further, a note on ‘my God’: I use this phrase as it is exemplified in the Bible, to acknowledge that my God may not be yours and to affirm that I choose him.

Psalm 51, verse 17, of the old testament of the Bible reads: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite hear, O God, you will not despise.

For a long while, I wrestled with this scripture. I was broken; it didn’t feel like a sacrifice but a burden. It didn’t feel like anything even remotely connected to my God. I felt despised by everyone, myself most of all.

If I could never be put back together, I needed a new brokenness, one that reformed me. Not a broken mind (through mental illness) or a broken body (through conversion disorder) but a broken spirit and a broken heart. Where the broken mind leads to darkness, the broken spirit leads to light. Where the broken body leads to decay, the broken heart leads to renewal. The exchange – my exchange – is ongoing and will last all my life.

I cannot imagine a day when I should not be vigilant about my depression and anxiety or vigilant about the conversion disorder fallout. No matter how reinvented in this world, we all remain broken. Daily, I’m learning how to exchange brokenness for brokenness. To give up my worry for my God’s peace. To relinquish my darkness for my God’s light. To trade my misgivings for his assurances. To choose every day how to reinvent my mental and physical brokenness into spiritual and heart brokenness.

When my spirit and my heart no longer work for my inadequacies, when they are broken to all things but my God, then they have space to work toward adequacy in him. That exchange is one way I offer myself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, as is my true and proper worship. (Romans 12:1)