Sinking. And Sticks. And Blue.

I’ve been sinking for two months.  Partially submerged, partially afloat, bobbing up and down, and waiting…waiting…waiting for easy.  I’ve also been hiding, and isolating, and pretending to be fine; these things I do when I am sinking.  Slowly.

Last night I had my sweet “cousin friend” over for a glass of wine, a brownie, and lots of words.  God did this cool thing when I moved to Charlotte; He introduced me to the most lovely woman in North Carolina, who also happened to be my long lost relative.  We had never met, nor heard of one another, but after comparing genealogies (yep..we did that), and emailing family members, we realized that we were distant cousins..or something related.  I have come to rely on her for a good dose of mellowing me with her soft soul, or spewing my inner junk upon her so that she can magically turn it into beauty with encouraging words.  She’s the definition of lovely.  So it was natural that she would be the one I would choose to cry to, and tell of my 2016 woes.  You guys.  I actually said these words: I keep longing for it to be 2017 already.  Why.why.  That is so ugly.  My talk with the dear cousin friend made me realize that the healing comes in the sharing.

At some point over the past eight weeks, I decided that I needed to deal with all the hard stuff in life all by myself.  I purposed to be stronger, wiser, pray more diligently, and get through all the sickness, the isolation, the depression, ALONE.  But you see, we weren’t designed to live in exile.  We were given spouses, and families, and friends, and communities.  Somewhere along the way, I convinced myself that if I shared my burdens with my husband, or anyone, that I would be a life-draining turd that no one needed around.  What.the.hell.  This is the opposite of everything that I stand for.  I would lead a flipping march if it would compel more people to live authentically.  And here I am, sinking under the weight of aloneness.

I think it happens slowly, the sinking.  When you get sick, you need a new dishwasher, you get sick again, your heater breaks, you get sick again, your heater breaks again, you’re still sick, you can’t seem to get along with your husband, your heater breaks again, the neighbors are having such intense problems that the police are in your shared driveway twice a day, the money is flowing out of the account at double the speed that it’s trickling in.  I tried to float, but I was grasping for worldly hopes which are all just things when the day ends.  

I’ve been trying to find joy in these trials, as the bold and endearing James of the New Testament suggests.  Guess what?  I suck at that.  Find joy in one solitary trial?  Sure thing, James.  Find joy in eight weeks of nagging, persistent trials?  Umm…how.  I’m not there yet.  I’ve also done my fair share of feeling complete and beastly guilt for my unholy response to my trials.  The kind of guilt that reminds me of how great I have it, and leaves me feeling wholly pathetic.  However, though I do have it great, it’s okay to experience valleys, and to NOT feel guilty about them, even when they’re not as deep or wide as the valleys of others’.  Comparison is ugly in all of her forms.

Today, I was at an eight week low as I sat on our deck and stared at the sky.  The little boys were doing all the obnoxious things, the husband was out of town- day 5, and I was tuning all of life out.  I stared at the blue.  I stared at the sticks that were getting in the way of the blue, reminding me that the earth is still dead to winter.  And then the blue settled in my bones and just like that, I felt grace for myself.  I realized I had been hating myself for feeling miserable and ungrateful.  After the grace came the hope.  Thank the Lord for hope.

All of this to say: sorry I’ve checked out.  Not just writing, but to my friends, to my family…I’ve been rubbish at keeping in touch.  AND..if you’re in your own season of despair and perpetual hard, don’t keep it to yourself.  The best listener is the One who created the listening, but He also created fellow ears to listen.  And if you can’t think of  ears to share with, I would LOVE to listen..I’ve got two months worth of quiet friendlessness under my belt and vulnerability is music to my ears.

Here’s to the blue.  Here’s to floating. Here’s to the sticks growing leafy things.

xo.

jo.

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11 Comments

  1. Beautiful! Love you and sorry you’ve been hurting. I like to hear it all anytime just for future reference. Thanks for your vulnerability. Xoxo Katie

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. You are a wonderful writer! Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being transparent. It really takes a lot to put out all your feelings, even the not so pretty ones. Here’s to hoping you are doing better 😊

  3. Johanna, thanks so much for laying it all out. Your transparency is so fresh! 2016 has kicked you guys down over and over but I believe it will end with great blessings. So glad God met you today in the sticks and sky. Beautiful post. xo

  4. You’re always so right on and I am so much like you when I start to sink. I’ve been there done that recently. Getting through it as we always do.
    Open and honest allows for amazing connection.
    Your blogs are amazing, open and honest
    thanks for sharing.
    Love you.

    1. Carla! Thank you. Sorry you’ve been having a rough time, too. I just prayed for you..that you would know God more fully through your rough season, and have a fleet of support in friendships. ❤️ Miss you!

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