Things fall apart and quiet seasons

Joseph and Moses

Somewhere in the corner of my mind, I found it humorous that I can relate to these two characters in the bible. When you have a big mouth and are out here looking like you want to save the world, the Lord will humble you so hard. By the time you’re getting back up, He’s the only person you will give credit to.

I don’t take this platform lightly, that’s why I will take days, weeks and months before I post something. I am of the opinion that if it’s not my life, I have no business writing about it. In the space I am in, things are falling apart (they probably already have, there’s the odd rock sliding down the debris) and there’s now a silence. Joseph in a pit. Moses in the wilderness.

I might need to take issue with my high school (International School of Uganda) for using holocaust, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and an existentialist book as part of our set books. When I think back, there’s a phrase that comes to mind that the atomic bomb survivors talk about- the silence that followed the bombing.

People, these were my set books.

When I was meant to be focusing on who was bulling me, why I was in a rubbish relationship and why I couldn’t get above my average-ness-ness, I had a set book about people’s aches in pages to read, understand and analyze.

But again; the silence that followed.

Before the tears, agony, fear and all expressions of despair, there is a silence. It is almost like you’re listening to see if you’re still alive before you can assess the carnage. If you’ve seen footage of war survivors before the tears come, grieving what they’ve lost, there is a moment of silence; a moment of taking it in.

The mourning for what you’ve lost in your life is eventual but take stock first so that you know what you’re truly crying for.

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I had a moment last evening with friends where I called Christians who plaster scripture over things stupid aka “having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense”. It’s especially for those who throw scripture at you with the aim of conviction, only to bring judgment. Remember Job’s friends? I’ve done it, foolishly so, for a while, but after seeing how the only result it yields is a rift, I’ve come to follow Christ cue. Have you noticed how you feel no judgment over his interactions with sinners?

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If everything has crumbled all around you, take time to make an assessment. You won’t know what to rebuild if you don’t know what’s in rabbles.

Cheers my friends.

Finding peace in midst of the nightmare

I’ve been to Kakuma once, and in my ignorance when talking to a few girls asking their ages, I mentioned that schools would be open at some point. A woman, not sure who her kids were in the group, looked at me as I spoke to the girls, giving me a cold stare.

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If you’ve grown up in comfort, the idea of things getting better when it’s consistently been bad is almost offensive to someone who’s been through the SI unit of hard times: rape, witnessing a murder or having a near-death experience whether through starvation, by someone else, disease, nature or an animal. In Dadaab, some people I spoke to have been there for over 25 years, their going back out of the question.

If you went to the camp as a child, gave birth there, and now you see your kids future taking the same shape, what does “things getting better” look like?

What does “things getting better” look like for people going through a chronic illness? What about those in a cycle of abuse with no way to get out? What about for the person who helplessly watches someone drink their life away? What does it look like when nothing has changed for decades?

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I was having a conversation with a friend, and I realized that telling children life is hard from early on should be something all parents do. Pain doesn’t leave anyone untouched, no matter the level of comfort that you’ve grown up in. I wouldn’t expose my offspring (should I choose to and actually be able to bear them), to Disney movies only. I’d thrown in stories of Jesus disciples being executed despite doing good.

So yes, life is hard.

More of us need to sit in this truth longer. Money and keeping yourself occupied don’t make it any less true, and we need to stop telling our children and those around us that those two are the answers to happily ever after. Don’t let them go through the trauma of experiencing their livelihood burn to the grown, or something of that nature, and they think it’s the end of life because even money and hard work weren’t enough to protect them.

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Next time you’re in a rubbish space, sit in it for longer. Jamie Grace talked about it in the pregnancy context, but we do need to look at rough times differently. We shouldn’t long for better days; what if they don’t come, or not in the expected timeframe, then what happens? As you might tell by now, I’ve been through quite an experience recently, and with a lot of help from God and close friends, it has me looking at my now differently.

My offer to you is this; find peace in God.

Girl, that’s so cliché! Yea, well, it seems your life is either overall fair weather, or your heart grew cold.

Friend, find so much peace that when your rock bottom gives way, and you’re falling again, though scared and angry and frantic and questioning, you’re freaking out in God. That you’re screaming out His name because you know He’s there and no one has “got you” as He does.

Even when they tell you there’s no going back home, that your children might grow up illiterate, the medicine will not work, when you get the call that a loved one died, when you lose your job, a threat of starvation, someone might kill you- whatever your nightmare is, choose to freak out and finding peace in God. The pain might not go away, but at least you know you’ll never be alone.

Don’t let the nightmare you’re in push you away from God. Once you’re in the peace headspace, it becomes easier to get why Jesus was quiet on his way to the cross. He didn’t fuss, curse, and he didn’t cry ‘crew you morons!’ He knew there was something greater up ahead.

For you.

Yes. Your nightmare isn’t about you. It’s so that you can change hearts and save lives, whether you’re around to see it or not. The reward isn’t always tangible. Think of the most peaceful you’ve been. Now think it more profound, and attainable for much longer. And now think that you made the world a better place for one or more people by merely being at peace.

Cheers.

Letter to the depressed self: Believing that you’re still loved

I’d open with scripture but even we Christians have to admit that side-eyes all around are sometimes the order of the day when things are rough.

Something I am learning about living with depression is that it’s something you manage, especially when chemical imbalance is at play. When I say manage it means becoming familiar with it to the point that you know how to help yourself or get help when you feel things are getting out of hand. Michelle Williams has a new show Chad loves Michelle where, in the first episode, she talked about checking herself into a facility after a bout of depression and taking meds to manage it.

Full disclosure: I found me a therapist after I saw that I couldn’t handle my internal battles alone. And even after that, I had three episodes of near suicide that thankfully I had another voice urging me to ask for help from friends. If you’ve been here or are going through this, let it be enough to know that you’re not alone and that you can soldier on, despite how crappy things look. 

Just watching how Michelle’s depression is affecting her relationship (and Chad’s frustration), I could see a lot of my life too. Among other things she talked about her room being her safe space because she wasn’t able to feel safe anywhere else, especially to be honest about her feelings. When I was watching I was all around saying “YEP!” because that’s something I can attest to.

If you followed my blog before you can possibly tell that I was, to a degree, censoring certain aspects of my life. It wasn’t intentional. I just didn’t feel safe. And I still don’t. Something that has been a constant in all my relationship is my inability to find a safe space to open up. While I had due reason to be skeptical about the space provided- I have dated some guys with the emotional capacity of a white wall- I still think that even when a fantastic guy is to roll up (like the one in the vicinity), I could still keep my walls up.

And that’s the thing about depression.

Even the most amazing things feel threatening. If you’re in a relationship with someone and they say stuff like “I am not good enough for you” or “I will hurt you, just go find someone else” I am not expecting you to stay and understand. Sometimes it’s not your portion to be a doctor and love someone to health. Leave that to people whose natural disposition has them loving someone back to health. I’m saying that so that you never feel bad about leaving someone who was difficult to love especially if you now have the awareness that depression was the cause.

I guess this post is for the person who’s depressed and has if they dared even hope it was true, love around them. That could be a spouse, friend or family. I’m realizing retreating when you’re super depressed is easy when wondering why you’re alive in the first place. But even when (as a family friend put it) you’re looking at the bottom side of the bottomless pit, choose courage to believe that you’re loved.

That’s my pompom word for you today. Choose to believe that the essence of you is worthy of love. If you’re finding that hard, then consider this; you can’t possibly be surrounded by morons who choose to love you as you are!

Choose courage.

 

Cheers.