Hope and Pain

Oh how I wish it were as simple as “just think happy, positive thoughts”! ūüôā Life would be so much sweeter if it were easy to turn one’s thoughts from negative, melancholy things to positive, hopeful things.

The more I read and learn about mental illness, the more I realize it is, unfortunately, not a simple or easy process to switch one’s thoughts.¬† Perhaps it is for some people.¬† And yet, I think that for the ones that it’s most easiest, those people do not seem to struggle with ceaseless thoughts.

Just a few minutes ago, I was looking at some sites I have bookmarked on my laptop.¬† One of the bookmarks was a search I did to see what Myers Briggs personality type Rich Mullins was.¬† The eighth site down on the list said, “What Myers-Briggs personality type do serial killers usually have?” (Google “picked” it up as a search result because Herbert Mullin, a serial killer from the 1970s, is in the list.)¬† So then, I looked to see what personality types this site claimed the killers had.¬† This led to a few other searches.¬† (Talk about depressing!)¬† Among other things, I discovered that one of the Columbine shooters (who took his own life as well as the lives of other innocent people) allegedly had depression and struggled with ceaseless thoughts.

All of this to say, many people who suffer with mental illnesses seem to struggle with racing thoughts and/or with incessant thinking.¬† And, as I mentioned, the more I learn about mental illness, the more I realize and see certain patterns.¬† Is there an answer for those of us who suffer and struggle?¬† I wish I knew.¬† I only hope and pray that in my deepest, darkest moments, I’m able to keep looking to Jesus.

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He is truly THE only way, and it’s actually comforting to me to note that He sweated drops of blood and wept and overturned the tables in the temple.¬† In other words, His life wasn’t all about “thinking happy thoughts.”

I’m not sure where to give credit for this image.¬† No copyright infringement is intended. I’m “simply happy” that Jesus is portrayed as having “down” times too.

 

Smiles and Snow

If someone could truly see inside my mind and tell me what’s going on with all of the feelings and thoughts that I have, it would be a miracle.¬† God can see it, I know.¬† Why He chooses to let some of us have minds that are so intricately intwined with relentless, racing thoughts and yet others seem to be able to think about nothing is beyond me. So much of me wishes to share my inner, deepest secrets or at least my journals that follow the paths of my thoughts through the years.¬† And yet, if I did, what would the outcome be?¬† Would anyone notice? Would anyone care?¬† Would it matter if they did or didn’t?

Somehow I know that I’m not the only one to have ever pondered this.¬† Here’s one of the things I just wrote in my journal,

So much of me wishes to just sell all that I have, get a camper (no matter how small), and travel North America. But, I find the idea daunting and overwhelming… despite the excitement and exhilaration of it.¬† So, I revert to “hiding” behind a mask or screen… or fake smiles.

And then, I googled “hiding behind a smile,” and (to me) it’s amazing all of the memes, articles, and even songs that have been written about this.

One song’s lyrics stood out (mainly due to Google… how much money do they get for this, anyway?!).

And then a contrasting song which is utterly the complete opposite (and yet not).  (How redundant is that?!)

(Does anyone else see the irony in the fact that the Snow Globe video uses a camper as the main setting?)

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Come Inside My Mind

As I sit here thinking about so many different things at the same time, I’m simultaneously smiling while dealing with a lump in my throat.¬† I just watched HBO’s 2018 documentary, Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind.¬† (I found it somewhere online.)¬† It has quite a lot of sexual innuendos (and not so innuendos) and includes cussing that, as Pam Dawber alluded to in an interview with TV Guide, would have once been banned on Mork and Mindy.

I continually am amazed at how the human mind works.¬† Watching and learning more about Robin Williams and his life in a short two hour documentary only makes me even more amazed.¬† My mind led me to my blog after tweeting a Robin Williams quote just a few minutes ago.¬† And, I began looking at my blogroll on the sidebar.¬† I saw Marsha’s blog and wanted to see if she’d added anything in the last few years.¬† (She hasn’t.)¬† Her descriptions of grief are eerily similar to my own inner dealings with grief even though we have grieved for two totally different reasons and in two (mostly) totally different ways.

How is it that our minds are so very similar and yet so distinctly different?¬† Christians would say, “Well, it’s God, of course!”¬† And, as a believer, I’d agree.¬† Yet, there is still something compelling about our nature that goes beyond the inexplicable and yet simplistic answer that it all goes back to how we were created by God and in His image.

My own mind feels on the verge of something great… some kind of writing or other creation that would somehow connect all of the pieces together.¬† And yet, I feel it would be just another form of entertainment, not education or discovery.¬† So, I find myself backing away from it and not wanting to follow my dream or desire to create something significant.

Perhaps I am similar to how Robin Williams was and therefore do not “operate like normal people,” as Cheri Minns, a makeup and hair artist presumably from One Hour Photo., said of him.¬† (I relate to the other things that she said about him.)¬† I’m not trying to say that I could ever come close to the ingenuous comedian that Robin Williams was.¬† I do, however, see quite a few similarities in how I process thoughts and feelings.¬† I’ve never been addicted to drugs or alcohol, as he allegedly was for a time in his life.¬† However, I’ve dealt with other kinds of addiction.¬† And, there are other similarities that I sensed while watching the documentary but also from having seen and heard some of the other things said about him since his passing.

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So, as I ask in nearly every blogpost, what’s my point?¬† My point is that I think we’re all connected… probably in many more ways than most of us might care to admit.¬† We all desire to love and be loved, and ultimately, that’s really what makes the world go ’round.

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Faith Amidst Euroclydon

Swirling thoughts of uselessness, hopelessness, and despair encircle me to the point of near devastation and yet somehow I keep my head up or rather, I keep moving forward.

Recently, a friend of mine with a very similar personality to my own, texted something to me that made sense of my swirling thoughts and my seeming inability to formulate them in to words.¬† I usually keep those kinds of words/texts and dwell on them for days, weeks, months, sometimes even years.¬† However, I also occasionally tend to “clean out closets” in an attempt to not be a hoarder (even of words).¬† And, unfortunately, this apparently is one of those times.¬† Otherwise, I’d share with you the exact words this friend used.

As so many of my fellow Christians say, “I went to church on Sunday.”¬† I’m trying to change my vocabulary and say, “I went to a worship service on Sunday.”¬† I realize I’m being a bit “nit picky” and yet words and descriptions really do have an impact on how things are viewed.¬† The discussion regarding how to define the word “church” is better saved for another time.¬† My point to all of this is to tell of something I heard while at said aforementioned service that relates to my swirling thoughts and to what my friend said about me.

The pastor of this particular group of believers has been working through the book of Acts.¬† This past Sunday, he indicated that he’s never heard chapter 27¬†preached quite like he had at the Calvary Chapel 2017 International Senior Pastors & Wives Conference.¬† He shared the¬†video of Damian Kyle¬†teaching/preaching.¬† The following is part of what struck me as significant.

Acts 27:20 says this in the second part of the verse,

…all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

This comes after they faced Euroclydon in verse 14.  Euroclydon is described as:

  • a tempestuous head wind
  • a wind of hurricane force
  • a violent wind
  • a wind of typhoon strength
  • a gale-force wind

It was seen as an infamous northeastern storm, not unlike the winter storm that recently hit the northeastern part of the United States.¬† Damian Kyle explained that he feels this particular story of a shipwreck was included to show us that even when all hope is lost, God is still there.¬† He went on to share the famous Footprints in the Sand poem.¬† I remember truly loving that poem as a child/adolescent and yet now I somehow feel as though it is over-used.¬† But, my mind is wandering again.¬† Back to what I considered ‘significant.’

I suppose one must realize that part of the significance comes from what the pastor did/said after the video of Damian Kyle was finished.¬† The pastor asked for people around the room/auditorium/sanctuary to stand if they’d been through a Euroclydon-type storm and come out “victorious” on the other side.¬† I remember feeling like I could perhaps half-way stand, and yet… I still so much feel like I’m in the middle of a Euroclydon because of my swirling thoughts that I’ve already mentioned… (numerous times, if you follow my blog at all).¬† After he had people stand as a “testimony to God’s faithfulness,” he then asked for people to stand who felt as though they were in the midst of a Euroclydon.¬† I stood, but then I immediately started crying and could not stay on my feet.¬† My younger daughter was with me, and she held out her hand to mine.¬† A man I’ve never seen before or since came and placed his hand on my shoulder or arm and asked if I was okay.¬† I nodded my head amidst my sobs.¬† (What else could I do or say?)

Why am I sharing this with any of you? I don’t know. I honestly don’t know except to say that somehow, not by my own choosing, God has given me a faith in Him that cannot be explained.¬† It is this faith that keeps my head above the waters, or as I stated earlier, keeps me moving forward.

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Popcorn Quotes to Seize the Day

In an attempt to be a better ‘me’ this year, I’ve taken to tweeting with the hashtag, #SeizeTheDay.¬† (Obviously, tweeting is not going to make me a better me, in and of itself.)¬† My best friend of all time is celebrating her birthday today.¬† We’ve not seen each other in nearly 18 years, and yet our friendship is as strong as ever.¬† For my birthday, she gave me a daily calendar with quotes (and the words “Seize the Day”) for each day of the year (except only one on weekends).¬† Today’s quote, after a brief search online, appears to be a bit of a misquote.

I’ve not read this blogpost word for word, but Sue Brewton points out that rewording quotes changes the meaning.¬† Here’s the quote as printed by Sellers Publishing, Inc.:

If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.  

— John D. Rockerfeller, Sr.

According to Wikiquote, Zig Ziglar used this in Steps to the Top in 1985.¬† ¬†However, according to Working in America by Catherine Reef and The Fra: For Philistines and Roycrofters¬†edited by Elbert Hubbard and Felix Shay and Sue Brewton’s blog as already mentioned, the quote should be:

It requires a better type of mind to seek out and to support or to create the new than to follow the worn paths of accepted success.

John D. Rockerfeller, Sr. in Random Reminiscences of Men and Events

For me, the quote exudes even more when one reads the whole paragraph (or better yet, the whole book); but in our society of instantaneous everything, we’ve come to expect ideas to come to us in 140 characters or less.¬† Even Twitter realized that life can not be crammed into such a small box, as they recently doubled the allotted number of characters to 280.

So, let’s #SeizeTheDay and start seeking out more than the microwaved package of proverbial popcorn.¬† Dig out the old air popper or pour some kernels in a small amount of hot oil.¬† (Just be sure to have a lid nearby.)¬† In other words, read a full paragraph, chapter, or book!

By the way, “Seize the Day” is a quote from approximately 2,041 years ago… long before the microwave, cellphone, Google, or even the printing press was invented.

Satirical Saturday or my poor attempt at inaccurate alliteration

I’ve not blogged in a while… not because I’ve not wanted or needed to, but because I’m afraid of what people will think. Within recent months, I’ve told people (who I actually know) about my blog. And, that’s what has me frightened. I’m afraid I’ll divulge something that heretofore has been somewhat private. I’m afraid of being judged. (I know how people are… myself included. Why are we that way?)

Life is a complicated thing. Daily, all of us are learning how to maneuver and manage in this world… whether we realize it or not. Our world is changing fast. We don’t see it because of the intense speed with which it is changing.

I no longer feel like I’m able to accurately articulate my true feelings and thoughts about things. It’s like my own little corner of the world is spinning around and around and around with no end in sight, and I’m scrambling to try and figure out how to hold on or jump off. With my propensity to over-think things (EVERYthing), this spinning wheel may eventually crash. That being said, I truly am glad that I have a personal relationship with the One who holds it all together. Knowing that doesn’t necessarily make it easier. As James says, I’m verrrry slowly learning to “count it all joy when [I] fall into various trials.”

This song is not really related… or is it?

p.s. I have a different place to live. See my previous post if you don’t understand.

“Mrs. Positive” vs. the Ex-Wife

So, my ex is married to “Ms. Positive of the Universe,” and I find myself wallowing in self-pity. ¬†Obviously, something is not right. ¬†Even to admit this publicly could bring shame upon myself. ¬†However, I need to get over it. ¬†(I’m sure “Ms. Positive” would agree with me. ¬†Oh wait… I should label her properly. ¬†It’s not “Ms.” but “Mrs.” ¬†Only those of us who are divorced and not remarried have the honour and privilege of the “Ms.” title. ūüôā )

Do I have a point to this? ¬†Probably not…¬†except to say that I’m attempting to let off some steam. ¬†I struggle with seeing how she claims to be the number one fan of her daughters and includes my two daughters in the (literal) picture (along with her three daughters). ¬†I know I need to probably ‘address’ this issue with her, but I really do not know how to breach the subject. ¬†Will I be banned from WordPress for writing about it here? ¬†I highly doubt it. ¬†Will she ever see this? ¬†Probably not… unless someone who knows her (and me) points it out to her. Will I be upset if she sees it? ¬†Probably. ¬†Will she be? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†It’s possible. ¬†But, will we all get over it? ¬†Will it one day “pass,” like many people keep telling me, “This too shall pass”? ¬†I sure hope so! ¬†Maybe by me writing about it I’ll somehow feel better. ¬†I don’t know.

The longer I live, I’m finding that there are many things that I¬†do not know. And, there are many things for which I have no answers. ¬†To simply say that Jesus is THE answer sounds great! ¬†I’ve been waiting a long time (and reading a lot of Scripture and excerpts from books written by dead theologians) to try and figure out how that applies to real life.