The Story of My Conversion
Part VI: On Seeking Balance and Seeing Benjamin Button (Twice)
Warning: The following post contains a multitude of quotes from the movie The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. (They are the words that are centered and italicized throughout.) If you are the type to not want to know anything about a movie before seeing it—including its philosophy—then perhaps you’ll want to skip this post.
but we’re all going the same way.
I needed to see a movie like Benjamin Button. I needed to be reminded, yet again, of who I am and where I’m going…and I needed the reminder that I am loved.
I am loved despite the mistakes I’ve made. I am loved despite the suffering.
(And believe me, I know suffering. : )
Thankfully, the prayers and counsel of a dear friend saw me through. By Saturday, the sun was back out. (Er, that is to say that the sun came out figuratively, not literally. This is, after all, winter in Minnesota.)
Many of you already know that I struggle with some depression; I have written about it here. It almost always turns up during my pregnancies, which is rather weird but predictable. I don’t suffer from post-partum depression but rather, pre-partum!
In addition to the anxiety and tears, depression always brings with it a series of questions: “Is this because I’m far from God?” I wonder. “Or is it because I’m getting closer, and this is part of the process?”
“Is this because I ran out of my thyroid medication and haven’t gotten to the pharmacy to pick up the refill yet?” (Woops.)
“Is this a lack of Vitamin D?”
“Or is this—gulp—full-fledged clinical depression?”
Trust me. I am not one to want to wallow in these feelings of worthlessness and doubt. We are emphatically not made for that—we are made in the image and likeness of our Creator. We are loved and called to love.
Depression, in short, is not God’s plan for us.
Often, it is an event outside my control that triggers the anxiety. Michael Dubruiel’s death hit me hard—very hard—and I did not even know him. You are no doubt nodding your head to this. It’s the thought of losing one’s husband at such a very early age that just rocks us to the core.
We know that death is inevitable. We know this is not our final home. Knowing this and accepting this, however, are two very different things.
In any case, I am going to talk to my doctor on Thursday and see what she thinks. What else? Well, I am praying more, far more…and I am listening. What is God trying to say to me? Can I quiet my heart long enough to hear Him?
Of course I can’t help but acknowledge that Lent is just around the bend. What does God want me to do to be better? What should I give up? What should I decidedly not give up? Sometimes it’s that second question that really needs discernment. I have to be careful to not set the bar too high for my Lenten observance…
…because when I fail to scale the heights I envision, I often grow quite despondent.
I think that it is symptomatic of both great pride and a melancholic temperament to not let go of one’s mistakes. That’s me. Doing things well is one way that I try to “earn” God’s love, (we are, after all, exhorted to be “perfect”), and when I screw up I grow dejected.
And feel rejected.
For example, I tried to revisit my conversion story on Friday and it was very painful. In fact, I needed to pull the post with all the photos, that’s how painful it was! (It’s hard for me to look at old photos. I don’t like that young lady very much.)
Here’s where the grace of a good therapist comes in . In part, these fears that I have of being rejected have to do with those actions in my past that were, well, rejectable. The sins of one’s past can be haunting and it isn’t until we accept—truly accept—and believe in God’s love and mercy that we can move on.
You can curse the fates. But when it comes to the end, you have to let go.
I will continue to try to tell my conversion story (as hard as it is) because it is who I am and who I was. I will also continue to blog honestly about the struggles I have now—struggles that come and eventually go. Thanks be to God, these struggles do not kill me and therefore (it stands to reason) they are making me stronger.
Finally, I think perhaps that mine are the struggles of many a stay-at-home mom—the impatience that leads to anger, (both with oneself and others), the overeating that leads to weight gain, the melancholy that leads to depression, and the lack of trust that leads to despair.
It’s my fervent hope that you can relate to some of these angsty posts I’m sharing.
‘Cause if you can’t…well, I don’t know that they’re worth sharing!
Live a life you’re proud of.
All for the Greater Glory of God,