My heart is heavy. My heart has been heavy… for months. I have had to say goodbye to so much over the last year, and I feel the losses deep in my marrow. I closed down my yoga studio and watched my godmother Annie die of a very rare form of cancer. I have been counting up the money I invested in my studio, and I despair. I am afraid to hope and try again. I am wary of pursuing my dreams. I am fearful that the worst-case scenario will become my reality. I am feeling deeply discouraged.
I wish I could offer lots of helpful and healthy ways to deal with discouragement. I haven’t found the answers yet. In fact, I have been doing the exact opposite of what would be helpful and healthy. I have isolated myself from friends and family. I haven’t been to church or small group in months. I haven’t been praying much or reading my bible. When the feelings of despair descend, I distract myself from--and avoid--them in marathon television watching and book reading sessions. I stopped writing, stopped publishing this blog, stopped searching for the silver lining in my hardships. I just gave into the despair--which grew and grew and grew.
One thing I have discovered about myself over the last few weeks is that I don’t like loose ends, especially as a writer. Typically, when I write about something, I have experienced some distance from the incident and have reflected on it. I am able to be wise (at least in my own eyes) and thoughtful. I am much less comfortable with sharing my unresolved, overwhelming emotions when I am in the midst of experiencing them. This is the reason I haven’t posted to this blog in over a month. I haven’t come up with any answers yet, and the emotions are all too raw.
I do not feel better yet. I am not ready to take on the world again. I am not filled with hope and passion and faith. I do not know how it’s all going to turn out, and I am not certain that God is going to work everything out for my good. I am scared and fearful and insecure and sad and defeated. And I don’t know how to go after the dreams and hopes I have had in the past from this place in the present. Then, I feel worse because I am being unproductive. I set aside this summer to write and pursue my dreams, but I am not making progress. And the circle goes round and round—feel discouraged, do nothing, feel more discouraged, do less.
I finally decided I had to figure a way out. Since I wasn’t pursuing my dreams anyway, I put them aside (for the time being). Instead, I am going back to the basics—to the things that I know how to do and that will make me feel better. I will go to the gym and eat healthy foods each day. I will take a couple yoga classes during the week. I will teach one weekly yoga class. I will publish 1-2 blog posts a week. I need to do these basic things to regain some of my self-confidence. I need to believe in myself again. I need to get off the wheel of defeat and frustration. And a good first step is owning the extent of the despair.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Annie’s son. It was the first time we had talked since her funeral on May 2. I had been avoiding him. I knew that talking to him meant I wasn’t talking to her, which meant she was gone. And I didn’t want to deal with that chain of thoughts. So, I avoided him for two months. When we spoke, he said that, like me, he thinks of her every day—and he’s still feeling out of sorts.
That conversation helped me to realize that I’m still grieving, still missing my Annie. Intellectually, I had convinced myself that she was in a better place and was free of suffering. But emotionally, it’s like I’m back at the funeral home, looking at Annie in the casket in disbelief that this wonderful woman will not longer grace us with her presence. And the tears from my eyes fall onto my cheeks. My nose fills with snot, and I begin to blow it over and over again in search of a breath. I’m a mess emotionally—a big, fat mess.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish. (2 Peter 3:8-9)
Crystal Moore began her wellness quest in 2003 after being diagnosed with lupus. Her quest has led her to embrace yoga, faith, exercise, healthy eating, and relationships. Share her journey.