Still Intact

I seem to be a little distracted lately, feeling like things are scattered and out of focus. But it took one good moment to bring things back  into great perspective for me tonight.

My husband sent me a text message tonight, a truly simple text message, updating me on his experience that he is in the midst of. I can’t begin to explain the immediate smile that was plastered across my face almost instantaneously as I read his message. If I was at liberty to share details, I would, but I have to be a little vague here… please forgive me.

His message was one of renewed faith and hope. It was a brief message but what it said to me was “I am in a new place.” And I know that place is really good! I realized a moment ago that I was feeling a pure and beautiful joy for my husband. This wasn’t about me, this was about me feeling immense happiness in knowing that he was feeling really good stuff. It brought tears to my eyes and put goosebumps all over my body!

My marriage has been strained, difficult, challenging, you know, in a really tough spot. And when things get so hard, sometimes I harden. My heart has often felt stone cold, like a big rock I could pick up and drop with a thud. I have been concerned with this, to say the least, wondering if I can soften again. Pain has that persistant hardening agent in it…it throws on layer upon layer over our hearts until we are smothered and unable to feel. It is painful in its own way when you reach this point and it is scary when you become aware of it happening.

When that smile hit my face tonight, I felt warm and happy. I felt love and kindness. I felt joy and hope. This might be just a momentary thing, but this is a moment I want to remember. I felt a tenderness towards my husband that I have not felt for some time and it felt so refreshing. I want to hang on to that! I can almost feel or sense a sparkle in my eyes… it isn’t because I am feeling romantic or passionate. It is because I see the possibility before me of healing and that is truly exciting. I think that can be a more lasting kind of excitement.

Have you experienced that kind of pain in a relationship where you feel a thick wall of division between you, even if only inches apart? Have you ever had your heart broken by someone, only to have it broken time and time again? Do you know that quiet sad place inside that you go to when you are no longer understood by the one person you thought would always know you? I do. I have. I experience it all of the time, and yet I am able to write this out, that the ice has been broken! The ice that has formed and frozen around my heart has cracked and I am thawing.

This isn’t even as much about my relationship and the hope that I can have for that… that remains to be seen. But this is about my ability to love… to know that I am not completely broken, that my heart is still able to operate in a loving way towards my husband, this gives me great relief! Whether it comes from healing that I am experiencing or from an inner part of me that just has not died…it really matters not. What matters is that it is still there, I am still intact!

I am truly thankful. (smile)

For the Family & Friends

For The Family And Friends Of A Suicide

As you huddle around the torn silence,
Each by this lonely deed exiled
To a solitary confinement of soul,
May some small glow from what as been lost
Return like the kindness of candlelight.

As your eyes strain to sift
This sudden wall of dark
And no one can say why
In such a forsaken, secret way,
This death was sent for…
May one of the lovely hours
Of memory return
Like a field of ease
Among these graveled days.

May the Angel of Wisdom
Enter this ruin of absence
And guide your minds
To receive this bitter chalice
So that you do not damage yourselves
By attending only at the hungry altar
Of regret and anger and guilt.

May you be given some inkling
That there could be something else at work
And that what to you now seems
Dark, destructive, and forlorn,
Might be a destiny that looks different
From inside the eternal script.

May vision be granted to you
To see this with the yes of providence.
May your loss become a sanctuary
Where new presence will dwell
To refine and enrich
The rest of your life
With courage and compassion.

And may your lost loved one
Enter into the beauty of eternal tranquility,
In that place where there is no more sorrow
Or separation or mourning or tears.

~Author Unknown

The Heat Is On

If you know me, then you know my passion for promoting suicide prevention…if you don’t know me…then you know this about me now!

My current endeavor involving these efforts to promote awareness and end stigma and prevent suicide involves the Kansas City Out of the Darkness Community Walk, a walk that benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and their efforts both locally and nationally. I am a big fan of AFSP and I am really excited about this walk that is coming up on October 17th. But, truth be told, I’m also feeling a wee bit of anxiety.

I am a part of the Walk Committee (a small group) of people putting this event together and I have some responsibilities that I can call all my own. These responsibilities include PR work and contacting local radio and television stations. I am not having the best of luck… it is difficult to get responses from the busy and hard workers in these media sources and it is difficult for me to find large chunks of time to get things accomplished. That being said…I need to make some more progress, and I’m feeling the heat, the pressure, of an event date that is quickly approaching!

So, if this is causing me some stress…why do it?

Last year I walked in this first ever event in my city. I did not know that it was a new event. I was inspired to take action in regards to this cause and I did an internet search that pulled up the walk. I was just in time to register with only a matter of days before the walk began…and at the time, walking the short 3 miles seemed like a really big effort for me, as I was dealing with severe fibromyalgia symptoms. I walked, I even raised a little bit of money, and I felt absolutely wonderful about what I was doing. I had a new source of hope for myself and a new hope that I could share with others.

After suffering from depression since a teenager and having attempted to take my own life in the past, I feel a great compassion for others struggling with depression and having suicidal thoughts. I feel like I have a way to help others who suffer by being a part of events like these and by helping raise awareness about the need for suicide prevention. Also, I have been given the opportunity to shed light on how a person who is suicidal is actually feeling and how their mind might be operating when an attempt it made, sharing much needed information to loved ones and family members who have lost someone to suicide. It is horrible to see the pain of those who have lost loved ones but it is a gift that I am able to share my experience and I hope that it may somehow ease that pain for them.

I, too, have lost loved ones to suicide. My grandfather died by suicide in 1998 and I have lost a friend to suicide as well. Recently, some friends of mine lost their brother to suicide. It is all around us, yet people often don’t speak of it. It is a tough topic, it is difficult to understand, and the reality of it is very sad…but being involved in promoting its prevention can be a beautiful experience and one in which peace and comfort is found.

I share this all with you as a glimpse into what is going on in my life right now, but also, on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day, I urge you to pay attention and take action regarding this cause. If you can help me spread the word, I would be overjoyed by the assistance. If you can donate to my fundraising page (as I am a walker in the event as well) I would be equally appreciative. If you feel led to look for a walk near you and register in one of the hundreds of walks going on around the country, that would be fabulous. And if all you can do, is tell yourself in a quiet place in your heart, that you are not alone, that others understand your loss or struggle…that is okay, too, and a huge blessing to me.

One of my new life tapes that I tell myself and sometimes others is “put your passion into action“. This is my passion and the action that I am taking about it. I want to reach others before they fall into the dark pit of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts…I want to help those grieving over losses by honoring the memory of their loved ones…I want to break down the silence and stigma surrounding this issue and it’s many ramifications.

Will you help me? The heat is on.Walk_Logo_Small

New Armor

Revisiting the past, recalling the memories, it reminds me of how much growth has occurred. I was just listening to parts of an interview I did about 9 months ago. In this interview I recount the details of receiving the diagnosis of Fibromyalgia approximately 4 years ago as well as the darkest depression I sunk into as a result. I discuss details of my suicide attempt and share the need for suicide prevention.

It is odd to listen to yourself tell a story like that…it is eerie in ways.

I absorbed some of the gravity of the topic this time as I listened. Often times I detach as I talk about these things, otherwise I suppose it would be too painful. What I heard reminded me of the seriousness of the things I have dealt with, none more serious than what you may be struggling with, but seriously painful memories to me. Instead of feeling a need to run, or to avoid, I can embrace it. There is a danger in that, though, for I certainly do not want to find my identity solely through my pain. But I can embrace the person that has emerged from the darkness of my struggles.

After the darkness of depression, chronic pain, trauma, etc. I have emerged more whole, more accepting of the person that I am. It is possible that I might find myself battling some of these same issues tomorrow, but I am changed now. I have new armor, new weapons to go to battle with, and a new battle plan that I did not have before. I have a new courage within… oh wait… for a moment my mind tried to tell me that isn’t true…but it is! I am victorious over pain because I can choose to have a different experience.

Today I struggled. I physically felt sluggish and a little bit useless. Right now even I am working to keep myself focused on my worth, and to not focus on the fact that I have remained in my pj’s all day. So here is how it goes in my brain…”You are worthless, you accomplished nothing.” My response is: “That is a lie. The truth is: I am loved and valuable just for being me, it doesn’t matter what I do or what task I complete. I am loved simply because I am.”

I could have told myself these same lines a few months ago, but something happened in my life that made it possible to believe. I experienced true grace. I experienced what it feels like to rest in that place of knowing, that place of knowing that I am loved, no matter what. It was a moment in time like no other and a feeling of complete joy and peace. I will not let go of it, I will hold on and remember it well. I experienced this at BreakThrough. I know I have mentioned this previously, but I must share that I can only say these things I say today because of that experience. God blessed me greatly at BreakThrough, and although I am not paid or rewarded to endorse, I want to encourage you if you are in a dark place to consider this seminar series as a possibility for you. Connect with me, ask me about it, and I will share with you what I can.

It would be wrong of me to hide this gift that exists, it is the gift of grace and the freedom from shame. This gift is so magnificent that I encourage you to go after it with all means necessary! You deserve it, because you are.