I’m not a quitter. At least I like to tell myself I’m not. I’d like to think being a quitter is something out of character for me. But then again I can recall many times I’ve quit things in life.
I quit my family for awhile way back when. I was a teenager with a baby on my hip when I packed our bags and walked away from my parents and siblings having no idea what I was doing. When it became apparent I was not coming back my mom eventually packed up my room and the life I left behind in boxes. For years I held on to so much guilt imaging what that must have been like for her. To sit alone, placing memories and memorabilia from her first born inside empty cardboard. And then one day far, far down the road I would experience it myself after my oldest turned 18, packed a bag and ran away from home without even muttering a good-bye. The thirty days she refused to speak to me, the never knowing where she was or what she was doing or if she was even ok were almost more then I could bare. It took a long time before I could walk into her room and face the gut-wrenching task of packing up a room full of memories.
In my twenties I quit my first marriage. I fought like hell to make our family of four appear to be happy behind that invisible white picket fence we all dream about. But the dream was actually a nightmare behind closed doors. And after nonstop attempts to make the impossible work and knowing I was headed down a dark road dragging two small innocent children with me I packed up a couple bag of clothes and quit. I walked away again from something in my life and didn’t look back. That decision would turn into a turbulent journey but what God had in store on the other side was more soul-filling then I ever could have imagined. This April the now empty house I raised my two babies in caught on fire. I was shocked, pretty saddened to be honest. Because even though the walls in that house witnessed horrible, unspeakable things it was still a place that held so many precious memories. I was blessed with an abundance amount of beauty from those ashes.
I quit my life for a moment in my thirties. A few crazy events that you would never believe if I even told you played out over the course of just a few short months and I was completely caught off guard. Blindsided to be honest. My two closest friends and confidants both exited my life and I couldn’t get a grip on what had transpired. I fell into a deep, dark depression. It was the first time I honestly ever experienced depression in my life up to that point. I was in a constant fog and nothing I tried could clear it. So I gave in to it instead. I laid around for a year. Literally. I lived in my pajamas, on the couch watching TV or sleeping 24/7. I quit eating. I quit cleaning. I quit being a mom and a wife. We didn’t even celebrate Christmas that year. I was an empty, broken shell. I really don’t have many memories of what was even going on in our lives during that time frame. I can’t look back at pictures and try and remember either. There are no pictures.
Yesterday I quit Babylon. If you know me then you know I’m referring to my job. I have never quit a job before in my life. I would love to be able to say that the last 4.5 years there were a great experience for me. But that would be a lie. What started as an exciting new learning experience over time became unbearable. For an excruciating long time I have woke up every morning and thought to myself I hate my life. Before I even get out of the house I’m grumbling knowing where I’m headed each morning. I come home grumbling at the end of each day because of the stress endured. I’m miserable to be around. I’ve tried to do the whole “glass half full” trick where you concentrate on all the little blessings that you take for granted. But starting about a year ago I felt like every day I’m just sitting around holding a broken glass in my hand.
In almost a year’s time I have become depressed. I have lost most of my motivation and drive to do much of anything. I am exhausted physically and mentally daily. I feel like a fake. I’m lazy and silent or shrieking and a basket case. It’s a toss up depending on the day, sometimes even the minute. I lay on the bottom of my shower and cry. I cry in my car. I cry over the dishwasher. I cry in the barn with my animals. I cry at work in the bathroom.
My friendships with the few who have stuck through this all with me feel one sided. So does my marriage. Meaning I have nothing left in me to give any of them and yet they are still pouring encouragement into me. Listening to me vent, cry, make empty promises, complain about my situation, offer me advice and still have to watch me do nothing for a very long time. They’ve stood beside me in the darkness as I’ve wallowed in self-pity and the filth I allowed myself to become. God works miracles. The fact other humans still talk to me at this moment is a miracle. I can’t even express my gratitude to them in words. I’ll just start crying again if I try. They know me, they get it right now.
This past winter was hard. Feeling slightly depressed heading into the never ending winter only exasperated my depression more. I lost Charlie right after the New Year and that was only the beginning of the losses to come. I assumed Spring would bring the cure. She always does when flowers start blooming, the garden gets tilled and planted, windows are open, the house is freshened up and birds are singing sweet songs. Well she didn’t do that. All of those things were there but I couldn’t see them. The fog was starting to take up shop in my life for the second time in 8 years. And then Spring turned to summer and I still found myself miserable during the day and sitting on the porch every night. I gave up on the garden and accepted the fact whatever the Lord has provided with no help from me we will get by on.
Since May I have felt my soul drying up bit by bit. My smile is phony. I feel like a fake daily. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror because I don’t recognize who I see. My mind is never clear. I never feel at peace. I would drive to work and day dream about getting in a wreck so I wouldn’t have to go to Babylon. The last few months I have spent more time thinking about dying instead of living.
Yesterday morning I found myself once again crying in the bathroom in Babylon. I couldn’t get myself composed at all and ended up walking to the parking garage. On the way I prayed a car would run a stop sign and maim me in the crosswalk. How insane is that? I felt surrounded by darkness and a raging storm literally one breath away from the looney bin.
I’m scared of storms by the way. Utterly, immensely terrified. A few months back Tom and I were out of town doing some shopping when a storm raged through the area. I had just left his side in an aisle and was almost back to the baby chick and duck area when the power went out in Rural King. Instant panic set in as I dug in my purse for my phone but I kept my eyes glued towards the area where I had just come knowing Tom was on his way to me even though I couldn’t see him. In seconds he popped out at the end of an aisle in the dark, illuminated by the flashlight on his phone pointed directly at me. By the time he even made it to my side the lights were back on. But I was a mess. He knew I would be. I cried right there in the middle of Rural King and begged him to get me out of there. I didn’t even buy any new animals that day.
For some reason crying in the car yesterday I kept hearing a woman’s voice. I don’t even know her and I have no clue why this even popped into my head. She’s a woman who survived the Joplin F5 tornado a few years back inside a beer cooler in a gas station. There’s a video that was released from the moment the tornado hit them and during the entire insane moment you can hear this woman crying out louder and louder and louder, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, JESUS, JESUS, JESUS. God, our Heavenly Father, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”. Over and over again she cries out to the Lord. And so that is what I did yesterday.
I cried out to Jesus, over and over and over again for hours. By the end of the day I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do. I kept telling myself I wasn’t a quitter yet again at something in my life. And felt like all afternoon Jesus kept answering me to just trust Him. So I am. I took that blind leap of Faith that’s incredibly scary and thrilling at the same time.
I jumped because I want to breath again. I want my health and sanity back. I want to wake up and not dread the day. I want to smile on the inside, not just on the outside. I want to sweep up the shards of broken glass and find a new glass to hold full of true peace and joy and love. I want to be a friend and wife again. I want to live.
So I quit. I’m a quitter.
No one said putting your Faith into action was ever going to be easy. But regardless of what this process of cleaning up the storm damage looks like I’m just thankful at the moment I can finally see the light flickering in the darkness again. Thank you Jesus!