“Now, I don’t want you to feel bad about this, but you’re not very good about asking for help. Like, instead of just cancelling an appointment, for example, remember you have an army of people who could help with the kids so you can keep your commitments.”
I had just told him I don’t know how other people do it -- life, that is -- without constantly feeling like they're drowning. Because I do. All the time. There’s clutter on the floor and any flat surface, laundry piled on the couch, and a sink overflowing with dishes, not to mention the list of neglected phone calls that would rival the very List of Santa himself.
“For some reason, you tend to function as if you have to do it all, and you don’t! You need to somehow figure out how to delegate things and manage your environment.”
Yes… I thought. That’s it.
Good, freeing tears welled up in my eyes as the truth cut straight to my heart. “You’re totally right, and I don’t know why I didn’t see it before. Instead of asking for help, I run around like a crazy woman trying to do everything myself, and not only does nothing get done, but no one wants to be around me because I’m stressed. Instead of commanding my environment, I let it control me.”
When we manage our environment, we turn stress into rest by commanding our surroundings instead of letting them control us. But sometimes it feels impossible to do so...
I realized I’d been a victim of my own life for the past year as I struggled to manage a household of seven, a new puppy, and an unrelenting case of postpartum depression. Often overwhelmed and underwater, I allowed my environment, with the eager aid of imbalanced hormones, to make a puppet out of my emotional health. Depression blinds you to the life it slowly skims from the till, leaving you wholly unaware of the richness stolen until you wake up one day, bankrupt.
Once the cloud finally begins to lift, you can see how far depression actually dragged you from your true self, how it made a jack-o-lantern of you, gradually hollowing out the interior and leaving you with a stupid, fake grin, yet completely empty inside. But pumpkins are seasonal, like anything else under the sun, and there will be a time for it to die and for something new to grow in its place.
We have the bar set pretty low around here, but now that it’s February, we decided to pack Christmas up and put the tree away. With over a week to spare before the next official holiday, I call that a win. Even though spring is still a ways away, I can feel change blowing in on the wind. The sun is brighter, the air more fresh. Birds are trickling back into town, and before we know it, there will be other evidence of new life all around us.
Joy comes with the morning much like winter yields spring, and the pumpkins won’t keep forever. For all of you fake-grinners, I pray that your cloud begins to lift today. And even if it doesn’t, I pray the Lord will hold and sustain you until a tomorrow dawns with the new life of spring.