It is Holy Week, Holy Monday, and I am struggling.
There have been occasions in the past several years that have held dark, difficult places. I remember, one desperate afternoon, sitting across from a coworker in County Seat restaurant, numb.
I said, I don't know what I have to offer anymore.
I said, So many people...so much I should be doing. So much I get wrong.
I said, I made a bad decision. I have a position of leadership and I didn't get it right and people got hurt.
I said, I just don't see how I have anything of value to offer. Anywhere.
I was heard, and I got some strong words back that woke me up and gave me reason to climb, to claw the walls of the well and look for rational thought.
I have never been depressed, not clinically as diagnosed by a doctor. But I have had a wild ride these last ten years, and the cycle of life is long and complicated. I think there came a point in time when the adrenalin died down and my body caught up.
My mind and spirit were tired, and my soul sank.
I tackled the malaise with as much gusto as I could summon. I considered counseling (I am a fan) and knew that, at some point, I would go.
I bought a good book, Feeling Good by David Burns, and I put what I read into practice. My controlling tendencies and motivation to achieve served me well, and I pushed through that season into a better place.
So, was I depressed? I think I was.
And today, as I trudged across the parking lot to my car, I felt the depth of the void, the joy-less place that harkens back to a familiar dirge.
There is greater insight now; an ability and a desire to evaluate with some dispassion objectivity. As I drove home, I opened myself up to the bigger picture. I prayed for clarity.
And it didn't take long. I thought that today, after an incredibly busy season of going and doing and traveling and working and no days off, no Sabbath, no true rest - I thought that today, which marked the end of a huge chunk of that check list, would bring relief. Healing. Peace.
What I failed to appreciate at the beginning of this season was that checking items off this massive list would come at a cost, a very real physical and spiritual exhaustion. It is no wonder that I am struggling, that I feel empty. I have expended tons of energy and I survived - but I daresay I have failed to thrive.
It's hard; there is so much to do, and so much of it is for others. I feel responsibility and commitment and a strong desire to show up. And I have; but now, I am tired.
I am not as young as I used to be, and my reserves get depleted quickly. The things I value - the relationships with my family, primarily - take the biggest hit; for when finish my check list and come home, there is very little left.
I will guard my time as best I can this week, this Holy Week marked by suffering. I will thank God for clarity and presence, for a husband who is patient and kind, for children who strain to stay connected, for the deep love wrapped around the hands and feet of my faith community. I will hold my head up as high as I can when I can, and I will hide under the covers when I cannot.
The familiar dirge may pulse its rhythmic cadence underneath every step I take, but I'll be walking. And then, I will rest, and that pulse will lull me into sleep.
There is blessing and freedom in authenticity and vulnerability, even in the parts I'd rather deny. Embrace what's there, let it pass, and trust that seasons change.