Well, 2014 is definitely not the boon that I’ve been expecting. I was so hopeful and positive in my previous posts: this year is going to be great! Great things are going to happen. Yeah!
I really didn’t think that my life could get any worse, but it did. Inconceivably, unimaginably worse. On a Tuesday of all days. I never saw it coming.
Yesterday I thought about how awful things were as I packed my sea bag and cleaned my room in preparation for leaving for deployment. This seemed to magnify my problems: not only is my life awful, but I’m leaving for 9.5 half months and I will be stuck where the awfulness lives! I crawled into my unmade bed (on top of discarded clothing) and started to really focus on how miserable I was. Like yoga-class, intense meditation. I thought about all of the bad things that had happened over the last 2 years — the craziness that managed to hit new lows of craziness with each occurrence. I may have even sobbed a bit. In that (not so) small stretch of time I was probably the Saddest Girl in the World. Maybe even the Universe. I even remixed Rihanna to soundtrack my pity party: like I’m the saddest girl in the world, like I’m the saddest girl in the world, like I’m the saddest girl in the worrrrr–er-er-er-er-earled.
I then had quite the writerly thought: maybe I should document my sadness. How about some sad selfies? yeaahhh. Pity party gold! I picked up my iPhone and started to snap (cutesy pictures) of my sad self.
I then applied filters and started taking moody, sad pictures of my bedroom. Goodbye Fairy lights and warm, comfy bed. *sniffle sniffle* I can’t believe I’m leaving for 10 months!
I cranked up my sad Country music louder and really started to dig into the misery. We’re talking wailing and ultimate ugly crying. The only things missing from my pity party were someone to comfort me, glitter, and a bag of chips so that I could properly eat all of my feelings. I ruled out the chips as the kitchen was entirely too far away and I was too sad to actually get out of my bed and the glitter was (only barely) nixed because it felt too happy for such a sad party. Of course, the Mayor called mid-pity, presenting the perfect opportunity to not only witness my suffering, but join my party and provide me with reassurance and comfort.
Yeah, not so much. This is the Mayor we’re talking about here. The Platonic Friend Mayor who does not believe in providing comfort, affection, or hugs in any form — at least not to me. Tough Love is this dude’s M.O. He actually had the audacity to suggest that I leave my house and come to his with some other people to feel better. Umm Mayor, I don’t even want to leave my bed to get chips, what makes you think I want to leave my house? I was politely non-committal about coming over and hung up the phone to continue my pity party. But the thrill was gone. The Mayor had killed my vibe.
I tried hard to get it back though. I even tried remixing a new song: It’s my pity party and I’ll cry if I want to…
But no bueno. I kicked off my covers in frustration. Mayor, seriously dude. Don’t you know what I’ve been through? Don’t you know what happened to me? Don’t you know how awful it was? Don’t you care?
It’s funny. I sounded a lot like some fisherman I’d just read about that morning. These fisherman had it pretty bad too. You see, the waves were crashing in, the thunder was loud, their boat was going to tip over. And they were going with it. They were tossed about by a storm that threatened their very lives and they had similar questions for the man who was asleep in the bow. Don’t you care what happens to us? (Matthew 8:23-27).
I understand at a deep heart level what those Galilean fishermen were going through. The waves are perilously high in my own boat. The water is coming in faster than I can bail. My boat is capsizing right now and it’s taking everything that I am? own? want? with it. What I found myself asking most this week was if this is happening to me, then perhaps God doesn’t love me. Which was more of a statement than a question.
Tim Keller’s amazingly awesome book, King’s Cross, lives in my bed (like it sleeps with me every night). And here’s what he had to say about my statement/question:
If the disciples had really known Jesus loved them, if they had really understood that he is both powerful and loving, they would not have been scared. Their premise, that if Jesus loved them he wouldn’t let bad things happen to them, was wrong. He can love somebody and still let bad things happen to them, because he is God – because he knows better than they do.
I interpreted is like this in my journal (written from Jesus, of course).
Jada, your premise is wrong. You should know better. I do allow people I love to go through storms. You have no reason to panic. I am bigger than this storm and I love you. (And I’m the God of ALL comfort so leave the poor Mayor alone). Let that marinate.
Bad things happen to us in life — this is by no means a keep a stiff upper lip and never complain about it ever type post. Cry about it. Throw things if you have to. Sob until you collapse on the floor because you don’t know what else to do. I’ve done all these things in the past week. That’s more than ok. Some things hurt. An awful lot of things feel like they might even kill you. I know that feeling — I live with that feeling. I guess what I’m trying to say is that feeling all of those emotions is ok (and healthy). But throwing pity parties is a dangerous endeavor because it focuses all your attention on the circumstances surrounding you and focusing on the waves is a sure way to drown.
I know (empirically) how easy it is to be distracted by the waves and storms of life. I know how difficult it is to keep your eyes (and your Faith) on (in) the one who can calm said storms. I’m not even sure I can do it myself, but I know that there is no other choice left for me.
As I was taking my sad selfies, I got distracted by Facebook and ended up viewing my Facebook movie and it brought to mind a couple of things that helped me through this particular pity party:
1. I’ve been here for before! My boat routinely gets rocked (maybe not quite like this, but it’s happened). And good things still happen. And I can still smile and laugh. And though this thing is particularly awful, God has always helped me in the past. He’s always shown up. My Facebook movie was proof of that.
2. Tuesday wasn’t a surprise to God. The thing that hurt me. The thing that overwhelmed and shocked me wasn’t a surprise to God. Which means He might have a much better idea how to deal with it.
3. Taking sad selfies is a sure-fire way to make yourself laugh.
And sometimes that’s all you need to end an epic pity party.