I hesitated to sign-up to pre-read Courtney Ellis’ book Uncluttered for a couple of reasons. First, the title alone, Uncluttered, made it very clear to me that this book would have something to say to me and my often-very cluttered life. Second, the author Courtney Ellis is, like myself, a co-pastor with her husband, a writer (um, obviously? She wrote the book…), and a mom to littles. Why would so much affinity with an author give me such pause? Because I knew she would not only “get it”, she would also see through my sanctimonious excuses as to why my cluttered life was a special kind of holy and thus merited a free pass. Rude.
Yesterday, a pastor friend of mine shared a post from a church I did not know, Inland Hills Church. The church was announcing the passing of their pastor from depression and anxiety. Their pastor had died by suicide.
Like the thousands of people that read the post, my heart broke for the congregation, for the family of this pastor, and for the pastor himself who had clearly suffered under the weight of mental illness. But unlike many who reacted to the news, I empathized deeply with the pastor. I too have suffered for years from depression and anxiety. This past February, I reacted badly to a medication change and within 24 hrs. was thrust back into the pit of depression, ideation and all. (Ideation is mental-illness speak for suicidal thoughts. Less scary to say outloud, or at least less shocking to the listener.)
It’s one of those memories that gets etched into your memory, totally against your will. I was a baby-pastor, not a pastor of babies, just a ridiculously young pastor, a few months away from taking my ordination vows.
If you read my last blog post, you’ll know we had a teeth situation on our hands. It was a doozy, more of a doozy than we knew because when they put our sweet little daughter (who just happens to turn into a werewolf at the site of a dentist) under to remove her rotten tooth, they found 5 more deep cavities, so deep the dentist had to fill them and CAP them all.
A couple weeks ago, my daughter came home with a puffy cheek. At first, I thought she had gotten her hands on an enormous wad of bubble gum, but that didn’t make sense as her teacher Mrs. Ray does not abide that kind of nonsense. Then I remembered, how Josephine had been complaining off and on of a sore tooth. But as a good, devoted and highly attentive mother, I had minimized her complaints, assuring her that she had a dentist appointment in a few weeks.
**I wrote this a few weeks ago during a relapse in my depression and anxiety. It’s a touch snarkier than usual and raw. But sometimes honesty is all we have.**
Switched meds on Tuesday. I was only on a very low dose of anti-anxiety medicine but because the anxiety had become so severe, my psychiatrist was curious if there was an underlying mood disorder. And with my family history of bipolar, would anyone be surprised? No. So, onto a mood stabilizer I go.
Tommy and I recently got hooked on one of those ridiculous reality wilderness shows. In this particular version people are given approximately 30 minutes of survival training and then left (to die in my opinion) in the middle of Alaska. They start out as a crew of 25 and each person receives GPS “panic button” device. At any point, if they want to give up, they push the button and a helicopter appears seemingly out of nowhere and whisks them away (to the hospital usually). Um no. This is not the life for me.
I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook’s throwback feature. I open my Facebook feed in the morning and get a reminder of what happened "on this day" two years ago…"on this day" 4 years ago…"on this day" 12 years ago…
Sometimes the memory is innocuous. Oh wow, I ate an apple with the sticker attached and felt the need to share that information with the world.
“Get a Chesapeake Bay Retriever,” they said. “They don’t shed,” they said. Lies. All lies. In the past year since we adopted our bear-sized Chesapeake, Drake, I am pretty sure I’ve eaten more dog hair than some dogs grow over their lifetime. It feels like there is dog hair in everything, on everything, from the carpet and the furniture, to our clothes and the kids’ toys. Dog hair. It’s inescapable. Why, Lord? Why?
What a mess. You have an opinion on the current NFL protest, and so do I.
But, this isn’t another blog post to tell you why you’re right or wrong about the flag, whatever your position might be. It isn’t another blog post defending one side and criminalizing the other.
I am just not going to debate this with you.