Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Bird Story

In 2005 began the manifestation of severe depression symptoms.  I had suffered a bad break-up, a life-changing injury, and felt I had lost complete sense of who I was and why I was here.  I didn't want to be here and I could think of many ways to make that happen.  For whatever reason, God reminded me over and over again that I did not have the right to make that decision but let me tell you, it took hundreds of dollars in therapy and medication to make me believe it.  

I remember one particular evening, my ex who had returned home to help take care of the kids when I couldn't, was washing dishes after dinner.  I remember sitting at the head of the table, taking it all in, as if I was watching my life as a third party.  And as it happened often in that time period, I remember wrapping my arms around me and gently rocking myself back and forth, as if comforting myself.  I realized that I did this as a mom to my babies while I was holding them in the rocking chair.  For some reason, my mind took me back to that pacifying action.  I remember rocking myself back and forth many times, but for some strange reason, my ex had never seen me do it.  I did it in the shower while not wanting to come out from underneath the cleansing waters......I did while watching TV....I did it when nobody was watching but here it was, out in the open, for everybody to see that I had clearly lost my marbles.  To make matters worse, when he realized what I was doing, I remember he said, "Woman, (he always called me woman), what are you doing?"  All I can remember clearly saying was, "I don't hear the birds anymore."  I can only imagine what must have gone through his mind, knowing the mother of his children was clearly losing it.

Why the birds?....There are few sounds that can bring a smile to my face.  The first one will forever be the sound of my boys laughing, first as babies, then as children, and now as young adults.  When I hear them laugh, my heart expands as I look at them and hear their different sounds, especially when it's one of those deep can't-catch-my-breath laughs.  Another favorite sound of mine is the sound of the wind rustling through the trees......yet another would be the sound of the ocean waves making their presence known......but my clear favorite, is hearing the sounds of birds singing, chirping, talking, fighting, whatever it is they are doing, it's music to my ears.  If I couldn't hear the birds, I had lost my joy.  

I wish I could go back in time and explain to him what I was going through internally at that moment but I chose to keep it all in until I broke, unable to carry a short lifetime (I was only 30 at the time) of repressed depression now unfolding due to a chemically induced imbalance.  I wouldn't wish that on anybody, it's a horrible feeling knowing that you could potentially lose your children because someone thought you were crazy.  I didn't think I was going crazy, but I can only imagine how it looked like to the outside world looking in.  

Through prayer, a Christian counselor, a ridiculous amount of medication (before we finally found one that worked!) and just good ole time, I healed.  God saw me through my desert and led me to a place where I could hear the birds again.  And now, when I hear them, I make sure that I stop, even for a second or two, to sit, close my eyes and just listen.  God speaks to us not just through His word, through inspired music, and through each other, but through nature as well.  We just need to listen more. :-)

Matthew 6:25-26 NLT:
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?


Friday, August 7, 2015

Missing Our Friend

As many of you know, those of you who have followed this blog space, we lost one our contributors and best friend, Michael Higby, mid-April.

As we head into the 4th month of him being gone, it doesn't get any easier.  For those of you who don't know me, or know much about me, I moved a week after his passing.  I wasn't able to share my progress with him but I knew he'd be proud of me following my heart, even though I knew it made him sad to not have me down the street. 

About 2 weeks after he passed, I was sitting out in my backyard enjoying my new environment.  I am surrounded by 6 trees all around the property and enjoy the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves.  During this time I remember looking up towards the heavens and having a very one sided conversation with our friend.  I'm glad I took the time to write it down that evening.  Being so close to to his passing, I wasn't sure I wanted to share the words with the world but I realize now, that I must.

My conversation went something like this; "Where are you?  How are you?  Who are you?  Do you look the same?  Did you get a new body?  Would we recognize you?  Can you hear me?  What do the angels sound like when they sing?  That evening, did it hurt?  Were you scared?  Did you just fall asleep?  Who greeted you?  Was it your angel?  Was it your mom?  What about your grandparents?  Have you seen them?  Oh my God, whom have you met?!?!  Are you debating with the Greats now?  Are you winning?  Do you miss us?  What have you learned?  Does it all make sense now?  Why can we still hear you?  Is that you speaking or is it our memories?  Will you be there when we go Home?"

By this time I was in tears, feeling an overwhelming sense of loss.  I just remember saying, "I'm sorry," over and over and allowing the tears to flow.  As is very common, those left behind to mourn our loved ones feel a sense of guilt and regret for not doing more, not knowing what the "more" is.  Even worse, we couldn't say goodbye. 

The following morning while doing my Facebook perusing, a page that I follow posted the following excerpt from The Little Prince:

“In one of those stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night. And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me. You will always be my friend...I shall not leave you." Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry

It was as if he saw me staring up into the starry night and heard me.  I cried of course, and then I smiled knowing that he was still comforting me, just like he did when I was going through trials.  Yes, he will always be our friend and he has not left us, he's just moved to a new realm and he will always be in our hearts, our minds and memories of the countless stories he had.

Our dearest Michael, you are loved and missed sorely.  But as believers, we know that we will be reunited with our loved ones when it's our time.  I pray that those that are here missing you are having these conversations with you as well.  Say hello to momma for me, we love you and we'll see you all soon.