It was all in my head

Today I woke up, light headed. By light headed I mean my head, my brain, felt light. I didn’t have to blink twice to make sure I was awake and that the heavy feelings which had been plaguing my brain where provoked by just random, mostly untrue thoughts.

Each morning, for weeks now, I have woken up with a hangover of feelings and thoughts that I cannot shake. Like walking in a fog. It has felt like a heaviness in my soul, and my body has been aching more than usual. I have felt like the inspiration for A.A. Milne’s character, Eeyore.

Haven’t had energy, enthusiasm… Living has been exhausting because I have had to expend a lot of energy to discern thoughts, a lot of energy to overcome pain, feelings of anxiety- my body has been in a constant state of stress. My jaw ached, my teeth clenched, it almost felt like my muscles buzzed with the tension of anxiety. Anxious over what, you might wonder? I wonder, too. Over nothing in particular, but everything in general. If you ask me what I am worried about, I would tell you that I am not worried, but my body and brain say differently.

I have also been asking God, “What gives?” I don’t know why I have been feeling joyless, numb, hopeless. And although I have felt so desolate, God has listened to my frustrations and keeps talking to me through friends, through podcasts, through my counselor and my physician, through the Bible…. Little messages of hope and reassurance that despite the feelings caused by perseverating thoughts, he is faithful and true and my circumstances are not unknown to him.

I finally went to my doctor to talk about the fog I have been living in and she didn’t really want to prescribe an antidepressant. She advised me to take a couple weeks to decide if I really wanted to go that route. I told her, through tears, that I was ready to give it a go. I needed something to get me leveled. And so she did. And last night I took my first pill, and today was a much better day.

No negative thoughts, no perseverating thoughts. I could see things clearly for what and how they really are. My day was not devoid of obstacles, problems, troubles, but they didn’t overwhelm me.

So like I said, it was all in my head and I am so glad to have gotten a medication that helps my brain function better.

I share this not to have anyone judge me or feel sorry for me, but because so many are feeling so fragile these days, anxious, on the edge where there is no more margin to deal with the day to day life. Getting help, reaching out to others is essential, necessary, good. Especially reaching out to God, trusting in Him, and accepting that sometimes our brokenness is not only spiritual, but also in our heads and help can be as practical as prayer and a pill.

1But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed. you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

-Isaiah 43

Longing To

Here and now

A sliver of moon peaks thru the unfurling maple leaves

The geese have finally said all there good nights

And the concert of tree frogs and peepers fills the twilight.

A dog on my lap as we both sway back and forth in a hammock

Listening to the longing sounds of trucks speeding down 22A

Going places, away.

Try as I may, my soul can’t remain anchored.

It follows the trucks to memories of traveled adventures.

Wanderlust of the heart to go and hug, in my arms, the girl it misses out west.

And be swallowed up by her curly tresses.

A Slice of Summer

Languishing waters

Dressed in velvet green.

Home to jumping fish

Sitting turtles caught gossiping on a stick.

Floating leaves giving previews of the Fall parade.

Laughing and scolding of kingfishers enjoying an evening buffet.

Minnows blowing kisses at the synchronized water bugs

Skidding, skimming in mass and parting as my kayak flows.

Your grassy banks hemming in the joy and peace where squirrels and herons and my soul get their fill.

She said “yes”

She said yes

and the mango grove

disappeared into an apple orchard

She said yes

and summer turned to snow

and the shadows became long memories

She said yes and her every desire

became his “As you wish.”

She said yes

and mountains rose under her feet

rivers and lakes flowed into adventures

She said yes

and offspring were her treasures

She said yes

and walked forward

on the path of a new adventure

Take Flight

I love March. As controversial as daylight savings time has become, I just love all the daylight it forces upon us. I wish I were a morning person, regrettably I am not. But I love enjoying the sun in the early morning and the long afternoons. Another favorite thing about March is that the leaves aren’t out yet and I can sit here at my desk looking out the window watching birds dart across our front yard. Swooping, singing, perching, doing what birds do. And I just wear a stupid smile on my face admiring their ability to sing and fly … their ability to be here and now. Watching them fills me with joy and makes me forget everything else. To them nothing has changed. To them the sun rises and they must live their day.

Similarly, for me, the sun rose and nothing has changed. I still am me. And I don’t have control over my future. I never have. So why worry about tomorrow, about viruses, about closures, about my job…

Today I will “sing and fly” and do what I can here and now. Trusting in God who has always been in control.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”-Mathew 6:26

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”- Philippians 4:6

If you are reading this, I encourage you to turn your thoughts upward, take flight in trusting God, rise in his warmth and love and soar like a bird.

A Whale of a Ride!

I recently went to a science museum and found myself face to face with some barnacles. I had never been interested in barnacles. But I haven’t stopped thinking about them since this encounter. Barnacles are these hideous looking little crustaceans that live in the ocean. They look like an infected zit from an alien life form. They are sessile- which means they can’t move. They are filter eaters.

The National Science Foundation at the University of California at Berkeley has a study about how barnacles store information and a lot can be learned through the study of their fossil records. Scientists can learn about the waters and distance they have been transported- therefore scientists can also learn more about whales.

Which brings me to the essence of my thoughts. I am like a barnacle, a sessile creature that depends on the water currents of my habitat for sustenance.

In it’s larvae stage, as a cypris, a barnacle has the opportunity to choose where it will live the rest of its existence. There are two choices. Take root in the shallows where the food supply exists and fall prey to the other hungry inhabitants there, being dependent on the ocean currents and waves. Or… it could attach itself to a whale. Then, although it still couldn’t move on its own, it would be able to travel the oceans and go to deep and far away places it could never dream of experiencing and traveling to on its own. It would also gain protection from predators since it would be a moving target. Food would always be provided since the algae they eat lives where the whales also go for their buffet. A whale is capable of carrying a thousand pounds of barnacles on their skin and not be encumbered., so it makes a very good home for a colony of barnacles.

A barnacle permanently fuses itself unto the whale’s skin by secreting a cement that pulls the whale’s skin into the spaces between these cement plates as it hardens. Wherever the whale goes so will the barnacle. It is not a symbiotic relationship it is a commensalistic relationship. The whale doesn’t benefit nor is it harmed by their presence, but for a barnacle this is a cruise of a lifetime!

This Bible verse makes me think of the life of barnacles on whales.

“…just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)

I choose to be a barnacle making my home on a whale. I strive to fuse myself to it’s skin so I can go where this “whale” goes. Solidly cemented unto Him. Letting my roots grow down into Him. Building my life on Him. Taking every opportunity to filter and glean truth and grow my faith as we swim through deep or shallow waters. I am very grateful to be like a barnacle clinging to God in this vast ocean we call life. I hope that my “fossil” will tell the story of the Whale that carries me.

Burning Day Light

While you slumber

cozy in your bed,

The sun kisses the trees

casting shades.

The seagulls glide

through the sky

squawking desperately at no one.

The heron, like a statue,

keeps guard over the fish.

The mayflies still

fly in June.

The loon dives for

breakfast onto his reflection.

The dome of the sky

comes alive in hues of light and blues.

A late squadron of geese

descend upon the lake,

As the haughty cormorant

paddles away in disdain

…and the water ripples

with the air

sending plumes of fog

to dissipate like your dreams

as you wake up.