Let me just admit to you, dear friends, that writing and, more importantly, publishing yesterday’s post was hard. I almost scrapped it altogether. I was afraid – afraid of making others worry about me, afraid of being THAT honest, afraid of receiving criticism for not being “strong” enough in my faith.
And yet, as my pointer hovered over the “publish” button on the post, as I looked at the delete button, I felt a still small voice inside me say, “just do it.”
So I hit publish.
And then I closed my computer and walked away. I spent some time conquering the mountain of dishes in my sink. And as I finished them, Koski came to the door of my kitchen with a hopeful look on her sweet face. When I asked if we should go for a walk, she did the happy dance. And I laughed and said, “ok, let’s get your leash.” (More happy dancing and barking in joy ensued.)
We ventured out into the world – walking the sidewalks of the neighborhood behind our condo complex; enjoying the warmth of the sun; smiling at families and couples who were out for a walk; noticing the flowers and the leaves on the trees; and just breathing and continuing to put one foot in front of the other.
When we got back home, I found an email from a friend, kindly admonishing me for saying I’d accomplished nothing during the day, and enumerating the things I had accomplished. And then I began to get some other responses from the blog – and you know what? My post resonated with people. Somehow I’d put words to what a number of people are feeling.
I have always ministered out of vulnerability – it’s important to me to speak about faith from my own experience and to acknowledge that I don’t have it all together. I have struggles just like anyone else. And being up front about those struggles has often helped to strengthen my own faith, while also connecting with and encouraging the faith journey of others.
So let me make a couple of pledges to you:
1) I will continue to be vulnerable and honest about my struggles, and trust that my readers will respond with kindness and compassion.
2) If I get to a point where I’m worried about my mental or spiritual health, I will reach out for help (that’s really hard to promise, because I’m intensely independent and I hate asking for help! But I’ve seen others in crisis ask for help and receive it. I’ve been humbled by their strength and courage in doing so, and I will take a page from their book when and if it becomes necessary).
3) I will (and have been) program downtime into my week. I have implemented Meme Mondays for this very reason. Pre-pandemic, Friday was my day off. During the pandemic, it’s been harder to find a day off. But the routine that has emerged over the last couple of weeks, and seems to be working, is that on Friday I pre-program Saturday, Sunday and Monday’s blogs (at least the framework and available elements for Saturday and Sunday) so that by the time I post my “some assembly required” Sunday Worship blog, I am able to take the rest of Sunday and all of Monday as some downtime.
What can we take from all of this? Well, I hope you have people with whom you are able to be vulnerable (my friend, The Janet and I call these “safe people” – those who you can trust to love you even when you’re not at your best), I hope you are able to ask for help when you need it (it is not a weakness!!!), and I hope you are able to find downtime for yourself. You may not be working, but you still need a break sometimes. Maybe from the news or maybe from being in the same place all the time. Go for a walk, or a drive, read a book, listen to some music or take a nap or a bath. Whatever your way of giving yourself a break, make sure you do it!
Until tomorrow, dear friends, be honest, be kind (to others AND yourself) and trust in God’s love.