So, last Saturday my pastor preached a beautiful sermon about the good Samaritan. He emphasized that we need to not only help those who are unlike us but we need to accept help from those who are unlike us. We need to be humble enough to accept mercy and compassion from those we may have looked down on previously.
It made me think about how often we refuse to let those around us offer us comfort because we don't even let them know that we are hurting. We put the brave face on, post something pretty and softly lit on instagram and hope that people buy it. We even judge those who do wear their pain on their sleeves because that is just not done. At least, that's what I do.
So, full confession time. I've been in therapy since January. My childhood was pretty crappy in a lot of ways and I've been effectively not dealing with it throughout adulthood first by partying a bit too much and then by distracting myself by having many babies. Now, I'm too old to party and my babies are big enough that they are no longer all consuming time suckers. Filbert is 3 and I don't change 15 diapers a day and get 3 hours of sleep a night. I've had time to think and thinking has let a lot of things surface that I thought were permanently buried.
During the last school year I started noticing that my temper was perpetually shorter than it had been. I was anxious and worried all the time. I found I was perpetually late and started withdrawing from many of our usual activities because it was just. so. hard to get myself and four small people moving. I found myself retreating behind a book or a podcast or a show on netflix so as not to feel or think or deal with my life. I felt like I was getting worse at dealing with my life than I had been only a little while before.
So, I'm in therapy now and I've been diagnosed with anxiety and depression and the letters PTSD have been floated out as a possibility. Therapy is bringing up all kids of stuff I'd really rather not think about at all but I know it's important so I'm thinking about it anyway, most of the time. However, I haven't told very many people and even when I do, I gloss over and brush it aside. All this thinking means that I'm getting worse before I get better. At least, that's the hope.
And so, back to the good Samaritan. At our usual discussion time, I brought up a friend who is very sad about something awful that happened and she's grieving pretty publicly about it. I once went through a similar(ish) experience and didn't grieve so publicly (All 5 of my blog readers knew about it but that was the extent of it) and I did my best to get over it as quickly and efficiently as possible. I know, I hear how stupid that sounds but it seemed like the thing to do at the time.
I mention these things it passing and how maybe my friend has the right idea and she's letting her friends and family from far off bind up her wounds and show her mercy because she's letting them know how it hurts. Maybe me trying to be efficient about grieving was really just pride because I didn't think anyone else could or would be a good Samaritan to me.
I mention these things and the discussion moves on to other topics but my eyes feel strangely watery. Not crying but like I could and then we stand for the song and something in me breaks and I'm crying openly and not fully sure why. Our church is only about 30-40 people so I'm sure everyone can see me, especially when I break down and search for a kleenex. It's like a big ole' white flag advertising the fact that I've broken into tears.
And of course, I play it off like it's nothing. I pretend like my face isn't red and blotchy when I see people giving me a curious look after church. I smile at my kids and when our brand new pastor asks how he can pray for me this week, all I can think to mention is something so minor I can't even remember it a week later. That's right, with the pastors admonition to humbly accept help ringing in my ears, do I tell about any of the very real stuff I've been dealing with? No! I mumble something about nothing and get out of there as quickly as I can.
So, all this is to say, I'm so very sorry for not trusting my church enough to let them show me some mercy. I'm so sorry for my pride in thinking I should deal with this myself. I'm so sorry for completely ignoring the good and true teaching from my loving pastor and I'm sorry for not trusting Jesus enough to let him help me through his people. That's a lot to be sorry about and I hope my church family can forgive my pride. I still feel new and like I want to make a good impression which is ridiculous.
So, for now, I'm going to keep working on being humble enough to accept help. I'm going to work on my issues so that I need less help and I'm going to encourage anyone who reads this to answer honestly if you are lucky enough to have someone ask, "How can I be praying for you this week?" "Oh, I'm fine." is not an honest answer to this question and true community requires that honesty, mercy and trust in each other.