Years ago on a youth mission trip our group was charged with laying the foundation for a new church building in south Texas. I have never seen a group of kids work so hard. To be honest, I had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into…and I was the Youth Director!
First, we set the frame for the foundation. This included measuring and leveling, and more measuring and leveling. Next, we spent days digging trenches in which rebar would be laid. We then placed and tied long pieces of steel rebar into the somewhat narrow trenches. By week’s end the form for the foundation and rebar trenches were complete.
The day we were to leave, the concrete truck came to pour the cement. We watched as the trenches were filled with concrete and eventually completely covered. Wow, there was no sign of the work done underneath all the cement!Work, that was necessary and pertinent to the stability of the building. It was quite humbling.
I have concluded, that depression looks a lot like that! There is a lot of work going on that is never seen. There were times when I thought my daughter Riely was lazy. Just get the heck out of bed, I thought! Or, just make the phone call or meet your friends. Just move!
There was movement, I just couldn’t see it!
At one particular juncture, a thought came to me that shifted my perspective. At the time, my older daughter, Lynn, was busy making plans for her future. She put a lot of energy into sending out emails and making new contacts in order to set things in motion for life after graduation. She didn’t want to miss out on any possibilities.
At the same time, my younger daughter Riely was in the process of changing depression and anxiety medications. The side effects of withdrawing from the medication were horrendous! I was clueless as to a bodies reaction while tapering off one medication in order to try another!
At this time the depression kicked into high gear. I found myself once more celebrating one child while sitting with another in pain. I realized that Riely put as much energy in staying alive as Lynn put into planning her future. What a sobering thought. But you know what? She was staying alive!
Things are seldom as they appear! Few people see the work that goes on, the work that isn’t seen! As for Lynn, people tend to think that opportunities fall into her lap. That accomplishments come easy for her. People don’t see the hours of practice, of planning, of working, that go into the end result.
It is hard to let go of societies understanding of “success.” I long to celebrate each person for who they are. Each individual's “achievements” looks different and are worthy of acknowledgement. Schools don’t hand out grades for compassion. You don’t see Facebook posts celebrating passing a test after three tries!
Comparing one’s self to others or your children to one another can harm the soul!
I have found great joy as I watch my daughters’ dreams unfold. As I watch them on their road to self-discovery and self-love. I have also felt the pain of their hurts from this journey. Pain that can come from feeling "less than."
When I compare myself with others, I will always find someone “better.” I will always find ways I fall short. Thoughts of, why aren't I doing more? Why am I as fit as they are? My thighs jiggle too much. I should be busier, more giving, more.....
THANK GOODNESS I AM LEARNING TO...
...ask questions such as, am I still becoming me? Am I still discovering the gifts God graces me with? Am I becoming more compassionate with myself and others? Am I living from a place of Love and Grace? Am I growing in a way that makes my family, my community, my world a gentler and more accepting place? And, do I laugh enough??!!
These are questions I ask, but do not beat myself up over! They are inner plumb-lines. I hope this is the example my daughters see! I hope they learn to look within rather “around” in comparison.
THIS IS THE UNSEEN WORK THAT BUILDS AN INNER FOUNDATION! SO THANKFUL DEPRESSION HAS TAUGHT ME THIS!