I am always intrigued by the different responses I receive from my blog posts. It’s usually a mixture of people who are just finding my blog for the first time, people who have read it from the very beginning, and people who pop in from time to time. Some know my story, some don’t. The responses range from words of encouragement to words of thanks to words of advice. The comments are quite supportive and loving. But lately I have noticed that there seems to be a variety of views as to why I share my story in the raw-ugly-truth sort of way that I do. I explain it a little in The Very Beginning, but I don’t think most people go back to read an entire blog, so I thought I might take a minute to once again explain my purpose.
When I was early on in this journey, I started buying up books by the dozen about how to help someone get their life back after a massive stroke. The books I bought were primarily written by people who had rehabilitated successfully, and their books were filled with all sorts of motivational speeches and “simple” steps that just weren’t all that simple in my present situation. My husband wasn’t motivated, and I wasn’t making much headway, and the books seemed glib and glossy. I began to think I would like to read something from someone who was telling the whole ugly truth, instead of just hitting the high points. So I began writing the story I wanted to read. I began sharing the hard stuff and the embarrassing stuff and admitting I wasn’t being successful. It was my way to reach out to others who were just finding life so hard and uncooperative.
But I didn’t just want to commiserate with people. I wanted to give them something to hold onto in the midst of the storm. I try to express the spiritual lessons I have learned along the way, to express the humor (dark as it may be at times), to find the joy. I try to point out the silver lining, no matter how dim. I hope that I never sound hopeless, because I am not.
For those of you who have read my writing and found yourself saying, “Yes! that’s exactly how I feel, but could never say it out loud!” You are my target audience. I hope that my openness about my own struggle will help you realize that you are not alone, that you are not the only one. I hope that you can hold on the the Truth and be encouraged by the fact that there is meaning to the madness in this world. I hope that my words will give you the courage to reach out to other believers and be willing to express to them your struggles so that you don’t have to carry this burden alone. One thing I have found through my transparency is that there are people struggling with big issues all around me who haven’t had the nerve to say it out loud. Admitting my own weakness gave them courage to admit theirs and together is easier than alone.
For those of you who have read my blog and learned how to be more compassionate to people who struggle – have learned how to ask better questions and say fewer glib platitudes, you are my target audience. I want to help those who are not struggling learn how to more effectively serve those who are. I want to make you aware of how small things can sometimes be more appreciated than big things. I want to encourage you in the power of prayer. And I want you to store away Biblical truth. My pastor is prone to remind us that at any given time in our lives we are either just recovering from a difficult season, in a difficult season, or about to have a difficult season. “In the world you shall have tribulation.” It’s a fact of life. So if your life is pretty good right now, do yourself a favor and make good use of the time. Learn to think properly about the world.
It is not my goal to garner sympathy, make you worry about me, or make you feel guilty about your life being better than mine. I met a new friend this week who introduced me to the concepts of internal processing versus external processing. My understanding is that people who process life internally generally talk about things they have already worked out in their thinking. People who process externally talk about things they are trying to work out, because talking about them helps them think it through. My blog is a result of internal processing. I think about a blog post for days, weeks, even months before I write it. At that point, it flows out onto the paper in a practically completed form. I check it over several times to find the errors in structure, but I rarely change the content more that a few words here or there. What that means is that I am rarely in the thick of the battle when I post. I’ve already worked through it and gone on to the next thing. I write it raw, because that is the way I want to make my point, but it is rarely something I am sobbing through at the time.
My last post spoke honestly about my struggle with depression. This seemed to raise a lot of red flags for people. Let me assure you: While I deeply appreciate the struggles of William Cowper and the many times God prevented him from taking his own life, I am far from suicidal. I don’t allow myself to stay home and wallow. I do my best to find the balance between getting out and embracing life, and staying home to rest and replenish my spirit. For those of you who are into the Myers Brigs test, I walk the line between introvert and extrovert. I need equal parts of each. I am mindful of this, and do my best to be healthy. I have so many close friends who support me in their varying gifted ways, it’s kind of embarrassing. I have a church family that really is family in the truest and most beautiful ways. My siblings, my in-laws, my mom, my children, my grandchildren all surround me with far more love than I could ever earn. I could call a different person every day for months without running out of someone who will listen to my whining and pining. And then I have a professional counsellor who has to listen to me because I pay her. If you have read my post and offered yourself as someone I can talk to, can you please consider if there might be someone closer to home who could use your compassion? I am so humbled by the many offers from people literally all over the world. But I have a veritable wealth of resources, and I know for a fact that others do not. It would be terribly selfish if I kept you all to myself.
Having said that, I will say that I never turn down an offer for prayer. Yes, please continue to pray for me and my husband, and my children, and my recently widowed mom, and my sister who is fighting cancer. All these things weigh heavily, and I will gladly share the burden with those who will help me take it to the Lord.
So my dear readers, I say thank you. Thank you for reading, thank you for caring. Thank you for expressing your love for me. Be at peace. I am going to be just fine.