As I was reading the work of a client of mine this past week, I found a place where she had written that the light of God shines most clearly through her in her vulnerabilities, rather than in her strengths.
Paul of Tarsus’ letters refer to this when he (or his followers) writes, that God’s strength is shown in his weakness.
I also heard from another client how helpful it was that she could hear I have ADD and have struggled over my lifetime with routine and order, and from yet another client that my experience with depression and mental illness helped him know he could trust me to difficult experiences.
So many of you know this by now – most of you who’ve read my blog, I’d reckon, but just in case – I have mental illness. I have that bugaboo called Bipolar Type I, as well as a whopping case of ADD. I’m also have mobility issues and problems with accessibility, some of which are related to my being fat.
I don’t just get depressed sometimes. I have lived much of my life with depression, while simultaneously being acknowledged as a joyful, engaging, lively person. Once my “press” worked so well that even when I told friends I was suicidal, it went right past them. They didn’t hear me, even when I used my words.
I don’t “struggle with my weight.” The bullying and harassment I have experienced throughout my life due to my weight, and the tremendous amount of weight I put on due to some psych meds I took early in my diagnosis have all worked together to create a perfect storm of physical and psychic pain.
And of course, as with any other human being, there are other factors in play in my life.
The fact is that we all struggle.
The fact is that none of us get out of here alive and there is little we can take with us, but plenty we can leave behind as a legacy and a remembrance. Eventually, we will blend with the Mighty Dead, the cloud of witnesses.
Let us not insist, as David Whyte reminds us, on only showing our “full moon faces,” only our radiance. But what about the times when we feel as though we illuminate nothing? What about the times our “complex nature” feels worthless?
I guarantee you that sharing some piece of that new moon time, that eclipsed time will leave a red reminder, a corona of help for others. There is a light that shines even through the murk of difficult times.
And that beacon, that bumpy, textured place that others can feel, that signal coming through even so hesitantly, can be grace.
I made a Facebook Live post today on The Way of the River Facebook Community. If you are a Facebook user, I commend this post to you. Join the group, if you haven’t already, and watch it. See the tear sliding down my face as I say, my mental illness is not only in the past. See my body. See my hair. See me.
And in so seeing, and in so hearing, perhaps you may hear some compassion for yourself?
It’s a hard time around here, but there is love, always. Grace, always. Mercy and tenderness, always. Even here.