Saturday, December 1, 2018

All of Me


We'd sat perpendicular against the floor to ceiling windows. They let light enter. Later, dark would beam through their thick glass as the sun set.

I could barley look at her. She'd journeyed over four hundred miles to see me, miles I knew came at a cost: financially, emotionally, physically, and just of plain ole time. The night before her flight flew in, I'd told my roommate.

I don't want her to come, not now anymore.

Not because I didn't love her. Not because she is the one human who shares flesh and bone and DNA of the same two parental humans as I do.

I wanted her to come when I felt stable. When it could finally be about her and not about me floundering in the process. When we could celebrate her. When she wouldn't have to bear me again as a burden.

Over-exaggerating? Yes, I was. But I was meaning this from a place deeper within me than I had realized.

Become a burden. Someone, say no, say this wouldn't be me.

We had sat by the tall windows at work, and I'd barley been able to look at her. Nights before, I'd written a sentence: I feel like almost everything in my life right now is robbing me of my energy, and I have so very little left to take.

She let me let down. Just her presence took away my pretense. I knew I couldn't convince her I was absolutely thriving even as I realize I had been saying "it's fine" a little too much to myself, denying the reality of my current pain and struggle, my reality that I was really trying to convince myself I was loving (when I really wasn't, just yet).

She didn't say the words till a few days later.

Deborah, I looked across at you and thought "where did my sister go?"

That should have scared the sense straight into me. What scared me was that it didn't scare me nearly as much as it should have.

Truly, no one here can see it as clearly as she can. They never knew the full Deborah that most people meet, even if they may have had glimpses of her. The one full of joy, incredible energy, cataclysmic confidence, enthusiastic ideas, deep strength, and articulate and fast mind, a witty sense of humor, and a care for people that actually is contagious.

Instead, they've been unknowingly underwhelmed by a girl who sits, quieter. Who is so self-critical she's even critical or her criticalness. Doubting, sitting back and holding back, overstimulated and underwhelmed, zapped of strength to even think of how to come back to the surface. Deeper still, of someone who feels separated from the capacity to love because pain is the flipside of connection, living with the sting of separation still too close to memory. Baseline, who doesn't want to want to go and yet also just can't seem to want to want to stay.

Fast forward to that same night, and I was trying to let her and my roommate go to bed, books and phone and computer in hand, heading to my room. But they kept asking me questions. And much emerged, truth hidden from even my admittance. Security and certainty. Boredom and burdens. The reality that I'd been running from because it was... painful. And I didn't realize how intensely I'd been flinging all my might at avoiding that for much longer than I wanted to admit.

I think I'm much, much closer than I thought. Things can't stay this way. I'm close, closer to the edge of falling into a deep blackness and, this time, not being able to get out.

This sounds terribly dramatic, and I'm sorry for that. Really, I promise that it's all not that bad and moody, and you probably would have little idea if you met me. In fact, I've actually had multiple people tell me that already.

But that's part of the problem.

I hide it, not even intentionally. I decide that I always just need to put my head down and just get her done, that I have to dig in and figure out my life and make it all better. So that, one day I stop hurting the people around me and can actually show up and be me and contribute to society like I'm supposed to. But I never am good enough, never show up enough, always could do it better, need to be doing more, should have already done more, never am wholehearted, and so much in my life is waiting until I finally get it all figured out and pull myself together.

Forward movement is not an option, I get it. It's a necessity. But it cannot become a crutch, a crutch I lean on instead of leaning into the work that the Lord is doing deep within me. I need to dig into some things the Lord is bringing to the surface.

When my sister and my roommate held me captive till 3 am in some ways, I realized in a new way that I can't.

I can't get out myself. I can't see it all clearly myself. I can't come to the other side myself.

We can't fix it for you Deborah. We can't carry it for you. But, we can carry you.

The support. The dependence. The carrying.

Later, it would be mirrored. I had texted for prayer, and then I didn't respond to their response to know more, that night or the next morning. This meant my best friend called my mom and talked for an hour and then proceeded to call my sister and talk for more, just to be sure I was okay. Another friend, still in step-down from treatment for an eating disorder, texted me to say she was praying for me. Another newcomer had cared back during my hour and a half conversation, shouldering the pain and struggle of the necessary but difficult season of growth. Another, small group hands in prayer on knees, saying specific words of thanks. Another, standing in the blue-green kitchen of an early Christmas party, and laughing even with almost tear-rimmed eyes about transitions and tendencies for isolation and trust and temptation.

We can't fix it for you, Deborah. We can't carry it for you. But, we can carry you.

Carry me.

Oh, the intermingling of dependency and vulnerability, needing to be fixed but needing to come to the Fixer, needing healing but realizing that the One who heals has given us human hands around, humans who He calls to carry each other's burdens.

And sometimes, that burden feels like all of me.

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