I THOUGHT I HAD PUBLISHED THIS POST LAST MONTH, BUT APPARENTLY, I HAD LEFT IT AS JUST A DRAFT. SINCE THAT TIME, I HAVE RESEARCHED VIRGINIA WOOLF A LITTLE AND FOUND HER LIFE STORY TO BE PRETTY SAD.
TODAY, WE ARE HAVING OUR ANNUAL COMMUNITY THANKSGIVING DINNER IN THE LITTLE TOWN OF MANTON WHERE OUR CHURCH IS. I AM THANKFUL FOR OUR LITTLE CHURCH AND ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO SERVE IN IT. I AM THANKFUL FOR MY HUSBAND AND CHILDREN. AND I AM THANKFUL FOR MY FAMILY OF ORIGIN EVEN THOUGH I HAD MANY THINGS TO OVERCOME FROM GROWING UP IN THAT FAMILY. PLEASE THINK ABOUT ALL I AM ABOUT TO SHARE.
I have read a great deal of books in my life, but I have to say I have never read anything BY Virginia Woolf. My local library doesn’t have any of her writing available; neither does the Barnes and Noble bookstore which really surprised me. I don’t know much about her really, except that she wrote a lot of books, but for some reason committed suicide. I did a little research about her life. To me it sounds like she was perhaps manic-depressive. But I’m no expert. She did have many challenges in life. And I find it sad that she took her own life.
I find it interesting that so many artists and writers struggle with depression. Why is that? In my own experience I have found that when I am so focused on my art or writing that I am not staying connected to people, it’s easy to become depressed! Focus on self is just the natural thing for any of us to do. However, taking care of or focusing on the needs of others can be balanced with our focus on ourselves. Community is important. Giving truly is more blessed than receiving.
Mostly, though, I find that if I neglect worshiping God, reading His Word, and praying for others, I am neglecting everything that my life is about. He is the One who gave me the gifts that I have. He has given me my very life. God has given me purpose. He is my incentive to get up in the morning! He is the love of my life. And I am here to tell you that He is real, He is love, and He is the ultimate Judge of all I do!
Before God chose to give me salvation, I was lonely, depressed, lost, and had no direction in my life. Growing up with an alcoholic father and being in one of the most crazy homes ever didn’t help matters much! In fact, my environment had a lot to do with the choices I made. However, the choices I made were MY choices. I have no one to blame for anything I’ve done in my life. I have no one to blame for situations I got myself into that brought me needless pain and suffering, like all the years I chose to try and numb my pain with drugs and alcohol, for instance.
I began feeling suicidal when I was about 15. But that is not an “answer” for anyone! It solves nothing. Several years ago someone very close to my husband and I committed suicide. He appeared to be one of the happiest people I had ever known. He was always joking, smiling, and just seemed to take life as it came. What was so broken in him that he felt suicide was the only choice he could make to escape where he found himself at that point in his life? We will never know. He didn’t leave a note, and he didn’t call anyone before he did it. In fact, he was missing for a long time before someone found him somewhere far from where we lived at the time.
Needless to say, everyone was completely shocked!! Why? Why did he end his life? We will never know. So I struggled with that for a couple of years, the mystery of loss. I wasn’t really close to him, but he was someone special to my husband. It took months for the shock to wear off. Then the anger came. I expressed mine more readily than my husband did. But his came out in certain ways: irritations about work, stuff going on at church, friends, etc. That’s just what happens. For those people who don’t talk about their feelings much, but bottle them up, they come out in all kinds of ways. Yet sometimes they are the last ones to know how they really feel.
I have always been fortunate to have somewhere to turn. In high school, I began keeping a journal and writing poetry. I didn’t keep writing in my journal, though, after I met my first husband and got into the alcohol and drug phase of my life. But once God took hold of me and told me He loved me and would never let me go, I began going to counseling. My first counselor, a woman (because I hated men at the time,) suggested I start keeping a journal. I was having all kinds of wacky dreams which I wrote down, and I wrote some poetry in them, too. Mostly, though, I wrote about all the feelings I had bottled up for years. The anger at my dad for ignoring me most of my life, the sadness about other things I couldn’t control that happened to me along the way, my need to control everything and everyone around me, but admitting that I couldn’t any more. I learned to take care of myself, own my feelings, and express them in healthy ways. Believe me when I say that recovery is a process!
I went through a divorce when I was 30. I was back at home living with my parents when it became final. It was Halloween of 1990. Someone knocked on the door. Thinking it was an early trick-or-treater, I opened the door only to be “served” divorce papers. I remember just staring at them, feeling defeated and lost. But God was with me. He was reassuring me that His plans for me were for good. He had a purpose for me to fulfill. He was holding me and would never let go!
I still struggled with depression, and suicidal thoughts hit me from the left and right in the months, even years, that followed. But that’s when I found my second counselor. When I began seeing Bert, God used him to help set me free from all the crap in my past. It took many years, but God did it.
I still struggle with sin, because I am a sinner and always will be until I get to Heaven. And because Jesus paid the price for my sin on the cross, I am set free from its penalty. God’s love surrounds me and fills me every day. He is my reason to live. He is my reason to serve others. He is my reason to step outside of myself and think about what is important to others. He is my reason to encourage anyone I meet that they, too, have a purpose in this life. Despite what anyone else believes, I know we only get ONE shot at life. Make it count!
God bless you richly everyone.