Having walked with depression as a daily companion, I became tired of trying to put my one foot in front of the other. I became tired of forcibly choosing to bring my body someplace so that my mind would follow. I became tired of viewing my days through a lens of varying shades of gray. I wanted to wake up one morning and find the cloudy haze of depression lifted, but that day just never seemed to arrive. Exhaustion, sadness and pain were not my choice of escorts, but they each remained so long...it felt as though I was just about to lose the last flicker of hope that this depression would ever loosen its grip. My doctor and therapist had both explained that it would take time for the medication and therapy to work together before I would notice an improvement, but the reality of rising each morning with another day of struggle ahead of me was beginning to make me wonder if there was any more "fight" left in me. Then one day without any warning I felt my first sense of lightness as I awoke without the thick sense of dread that for months had greeted me as I opened my eyes. It was this small momentary taste of natural energy that had been missing for so long, a taste that invigorated every cell of my body with HOPE. It may have been a slight taste, but it was enough to feed that flicker and keep it alive long enough to endure the slow steps toward regaining the colors back into my days.
All the hours of carefully opening and examining the rancid contents of Pandora's Box with my trusted therapist was beginning to help me understand the profound price I had paid for my avoidance of facing conflicts and my fear of sharing honest emotions. I was deeply into the process of clearing the air surrounding me by identifying and working through the years and years of dead stagnant energy, unfulfilled dreams and insincerity that had kept the exterior of many relationships superficially connected. I was well aware that in order to continue making positive steps forward I would need to step into an authentic world of communication, a world where I would most definitely be an awkward novice. I was open to walking through this new form of communicating because it felt like this would be my way to rediscover the brighter shades of possibilities.
What happened next was serendipitous. Don't you love when life gifts you with someone or something totally unexpected and yet deeply needed? It all happened so innocently. You see, it was time for Jessica to be confirmed, so it was natural that I would I attend the first meeting with all the students and their parents. Each family was given a questionnaire asking what type of volunteering opportunities parents would be willing to participate in throughout the year. I quickly signed up to help during the weekend retreat that would take place later in the year. I offered to help prepare the food, serve the meals, clean-up and assorted other kitchen duties throughout the entire weekend. It felt like that would be a safe yet useful way for me to help. Suzanne was the pastoral minister in charge of running this retreat experience each year for the teenagers. I had met her briefly during church related events and I was immediately drawn to her positive energy and authentic interactions with the adults and students. She was a role model for how I would love to be able to communicate with the people in my life. Not only that, but she was bright, funny, creative and very loving. Yes, she was the gift that was delivered to me at exactly the right time and place for where I was on my journey. I gave many prayers of sincere gratitude for her arrival, but little did I know that she was also going to offer me invitations to grow and change in ways that both excited me and scared the shit out of me!!