My life sometimes feels like a constant train.
The trains that go by my house are loud, annoying, and worst of all, persistent. All day, all night, trains roll through my back yard, blowing their horns. Some horns are louder than others. Some train driver engineers people feel the need to blow the horn from Versailles to Sidney. Some just give a little "toot-toot" to let you know they are there. I can hear a train coming from far away because of the low rumble. It reaches a height that shakes the whole house. It can rattle the clock and the cupboard doors. My heart beats faster and I hold my breath to see if I might get lucky this time and both kids will sleep through it.
Symbolically, similar trains barrel through my head, in addition to the real trains that go by about two football fields away.
I'm constantly bombarded by negative thoughts, images, torments, bad memories, regrets, "what-ifs", and self-loathing. I can't control these bad feelings, they just keep coming all day and all night.
On the outside, everything is more than fine. I have so much to be thankful for. I have an amazingly wonderful, supportive, kind-hearted, generous, selfless husband. Two beautiful, rambunctious boys who are growing and learning at an incredible pace. We are fixing up a lovely old house, and I am still in shock that we get to live there and raise our kids there. I step back and look at my life and I have absolutely no reason to feel bad.
And, yet, I do. I feel bad all the time. I feel so bad that I think about escaping all the time. Awful.
What have I done about it? Well, first nothing. I just hoped and prayed it would go away. I immersed myself in prayer and came to the conclusion that these bad feelings were a cross that I just had to offer up. Then, when it got worse, I tired losing weight and exercising. It seemed to help at first, but then I just had to exercise more and more and eat less and less to feel better. Then I turned to smoking and drinking and caffeine. Then, I gave all that up. When that didn't help, I took it all back up again. Years went by. I sought the help of priests, doctors, nutritionists, massage therapists, naturopath doctors, counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists.
I finally started taking medication.......and it helped. Years of searching and trying and one tiny little pill makes all the difference. It's so small. It seems so small a thing. It really is very small. How can one itsy-bitsy dose of an anti-depressant help me so much?
I don't understand, Lord. I wish with all my heart I could understand.
It's a hard pill to swallow. The medicine helps me so much, but I feel like I'm cheating by taking it. I feel like I'm taking the "easy" route by "giving up" and "giving in" and taking a pill...even though it's so far from giving up. I still have to take care of myself. I still have to get enough sleep. I still have to take time to pray and relax and shower and eat and get out from time to time and go to counseling and fail and try again and fail and try again and all that.
Why do I need to take the medicine, Lord? Why does taking medicine make me feel a little less than my peers? Why does taking medicine make me feel guilty? Like, "They didn't have medicine in the olden days. What did they do? They sucked it up and dealt with it!" Or, "Medication doesn't help everyone. Some people have to search and search for a medicine that helps them." And "What if my body gets used to it and it stops working someday?"
So many questions.
Not enough time to work them out.
Ever plopping myself down at the foot of His cross, I beg the Lord. Help me understand.
In the stillness of my heart, I can hear HIM saying to me. "I am not asking you to understand. I am asking you to humbly obey."