I often sit and contemplate how different my life looks from moment to moment – season to season. In my youth I never thought about the seasons of life; beyond Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall, I was unaware that life was ever-evolving. A child completely oblivious to forces of nature, directing one’s thoughts, will, and actions. Quietly and unknowingly or was it deliberate? I’ll never know. But what I do know is this; for better or worse every season of my life has brought me to this moment right here.
I never was one for looking back and wishing I’d done things differently. Surrounded by friends and family who consumed themselves in “what ifs.” Always asking the ever-gnawing question, “If you could go back, what would you change?” The knowing is in the question – look at it – “what would you change,” not “would you change anything.” Of course, 10 out of 10 times, my reply – “ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!” Fleeting fantasies of escaping it all aside – I wouldn’t change a damn thing! Why would I? I have always believed, to “go back” would mean sacrificing something you love and hold dear. Think about it. What would you sacrifice to ease your own pain?
I would sacrifice nothing! I truly mean that! The thought of going back and making a change, brings forth nightmares of a life without my husband and son. A life void of anything real. Hidden away in the recesses of comfort and fear – cynical and alone. I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.
Not the nightmare that was my parent’s marriage.
Not the loneliness of being abandoned of hope and spirit.
Not the baggage carried in to my own marriage.
Not the struggles of two children fighting desperately to be seen and heard.
Not the love buried deep inside – screaming and clawing to be known and felt.
Not the warmth and comfort of my husband’s loving arms.
Not my son, who is the greatest treasure of all!
For if I traded one moment – one glimmer of time – to ease my own pain and suffering.
I would lose it all!
So, how do you look back and embrace the seasons of the past? Not looking back to dwell but to understand, learn, and move forward. Seeing the growth through every cold, harsh, or dry season.
I can look back over the past five years and see the growth in myself and my family – my boys. I habitually think of the past five years as a long winter season but within this season, I’ve celebrated and endured several more.
There was the season of lost peace, three years in November. For the first time in my life, I found myself desperate to escape. Spinning out of control and wanting to dig a hole. I had nowhere to hide and nowhere to go. All around me were the signs of an “unhappy home” and I was the cause – or so I thought. That’s what I do, I bear the burden of it all. Always owning the situation – I could have kept my mouth shut – I could have stayed hidden – I could have run away. I could have controlled the situation and everyone in it – as if! I considered checking myself into a local mental health hospital but was terrified of the idea. Visions of being alone and afraid; unsafe and unprotected. Swimming in pain and anxiety – frantic to escape the prison of my mind and body. Hopeless.
My Darkest Moment
I left my house that day. Said goodbye to my son while my husband was away at the beach fishing – avoiding. I stood in my doorway and bawled my eyes out at the thought that I may not see my son again. It wasn’t a conscious thought, it was a feeling and it was overwhelming me. I walked away, unclear of what I was doing or what I was planning but I couldn’t stay in this house anymore. I was a prisoner in my own home. I met my parents to borrow some money for a hotel and did my best to explain my situation.
I checked into a cheap touristy hotel and proceeded to spend the scariest night of my life ALONE. Chair propped under doorknob. Curtains closed tight. Balled on the bed furthest from the window. Sitting alone in the shadowy silence of my own thoughts and fears. I had escaped my house – I had escaped my tormentors – but here I sat inside a prison of my own making. How did I get here? When did I lose control? Did I ever have control? I desperately wanted to end it all – all the pain and suffering. Not my own more than my family’s. I didn’t want to be the cause of hurt and shame anymore. I wanted to release them from the pain. But how?
I could have sat in it. Giving in would have been the simplest option but instead I sat, I listened, and I wrote. I let it all out in that moment. All I needed to say and all that needed to be heard. Unlocking the door to the penitentiary of my mind. Allowing myself to see and feel every word, every fear, and every misdirection. I wrote, and I cried. I prayed, and I cried. I tried to sleep, and I cried. I spoke to my husband, and I cried. It was the survival of this moment that led me to where I am today. Though there are pieces of myself, fragments carried over from a time past – I bear no resemblance to the little girl I used to be. This moment – the darkest moment of my life – awakened me. On the other side of it all, I met myself – happily greeted by the child of God I was meant to be.
Castle in the Sky (or prison)
I still struggle with my mind and body, not simply daily but in every moment of my life. Some days I block out most of the pain and thrive to the best of my ability. Always choosing wisely, where I will expend my limited focus and energy. Keen to avoid the knowledge that some days, thoughts are too much for me. Some days, I must disconnect from it all just to bear the pain. The overwhelming combination of both, leaves me paralyzed in fear and confusion. Unable to function at any capacity. Misfiring at every turn. I pick and choose my moments; having learned not to hide in the castle in the sky of comfort and safety. Yet mindful of the balance needed to live life, without creating more pain than I can bear.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
Photo by Dominik