Robin

rw

I know this is a weird photo choice, but it just captures how fun he was and how much fun people had with him. photo from http://www.today.com

Celebrities’ deaths don’t usually affect me too much. My world and theirs are so far removed from each other, that other than a passing regretful thought, my world remains unchanged.

But Robin Williams is another story. Besides the fact that I grew up on his silliness and characters and watched Mrs. Doubtfire more times than I could ever possibly count, he left this world in a way that has become my greatest fear.

I desperately want to hug his wife. I want to hold her and cry with her and pray with her. I hurt so much for her, knowing the heartache that she has experienced even before his death.

There have been more than a few references on social media to some less-than-grace-filled opinions about depression-based suicide (insights along the lines of Christians Shouldn’t Have Depression, You Have Depression Because You Don’t Have Enough Faith, Pray Harder, Get Over It, etc.).

I would imagine that many of those opinions were shared by people who have never for one moment experienced depression themselves, nor watched a husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, or friend fight.so.hard. against this evil darkness and the lies with which it attacks. And this made me mad.

My first reactions were thoughts like, Who are they to weigh in on this? They have no effing idea what they’re talking about! They have no right to speak into this-they don’t know what it’s like!

But after my husband (Braveheart himself) intercepted a rather bitter, resentful facebook post I almost made, I recevied a text from a friend. A text of sweet support, letting me know that all this news coverage had brought us to mind and she was thinking of us. And in flooded all the experiences, people, and relationships we have that are so opposite of the opinions I mentioned earlier.

Yes, there are ignorant motormouths who will spout stupidly about hurts and illnesses they know nothing about.
But there are also parents who will attend conferences about mental illness because they want to be able to offer support.
There are parents who will take calls at any time of day because they have known this darkness themselves and can offer solidarity and comfort.
There are pastors who will lovingly counsel and pray you through dark moments in your marriage brought on by this illness.
There are life group members/friends who will listen, seek to understand, and refuse to stand in judgment, praying for and beside you instead of preaching at you.
There are best friends who will hold all your dark secrets and love you even more deeply because of them.
There are friends at church and at work who know just by looking at you when things are not well, and give you permission to have a crappy day.
There are co-workers who will let you vent over happy hour margaritas and not shy away from the hard topics.
There are other people silently suffering who find hope in the sharing of your own struggles, and who will stand with you in solidarity and hope because no one is alone in this.
There are blessings to be found despite this illness, and there are loving, grace-filled, gentle people to offer friendship and support. There are people who need your own love, gentleness, and grace. It’s my prayer that I can offer that. It’s my prayer that we all can.

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Take every victory.

grace

Tonight, I let God be the strong one.

Frankly, I’m really bad at it anyway (as evidenced by, well, every other post I’ve written here). When I force myself to be the strong one, I have the stamina of a fat kid on a running track (I was that kid, so I would know). I can be understanding and compassionate for about 1.2 minutes. Then fear, frustration, and discouragement set in and shit hits the fan…tons of it.

But God is slowly and surely breaking that stubborn, self-sufficient and self-reliant part of me. Turns out, His grace really is more than sufficient, and He is perfectly reliable like no human could ever hope to be.

This will sound annoying, but I can find no other way to explain it. The whole “let God be your strength” thing is so theoretical-until it’s not. When I finally gave up and decided to trust Him, leaning into His strength just made sense. I found I was incapable of doing anything else. It is life-giving, and full of comfort, and, even in the midst of pain, filled with deep joy.

With it, I was able to hear my husband’s pain without panicking. I could comfort without falling apart. I could hold him and not pull away. I could stay in the pain with him and not implode. Victory. Only His strength can do this. Mine just.cannot.

I cannot deal with this illness, or support my husband through it, by myself. I am weak, selfish, and paralyzed by fear. But He is strong (like, ninja strong), loving, and invincible.

He is everything.

And then he dropped the P-word

Saturday was busy, but great. We had tons of fun catching up with old friends at a wedding-laughing, dancing, and feeling “normal.” Happy Hallelujah.

Sunday, after spending the whole afternoon at urgent care to get meds for an infection (for me), he drops this bomb on me: he’d been watching porn for fully half of our 22-month baby marriage.

WTF. Seriously?!

Is there at least ONE sin/vice/struggle that we don’t have to battle? So besides choosing filthy, exploited images over me for. eleven. months., he had lied about and hidden it for. eleven. months. My heart was already bruised from carrying the burden of a spouse’s depression in isolation for so long, and this just bloodied even more.

I love him. He has sought council for this from pastors and other men at church, he has not viewed porn in 4 months, he’s read books about its damaging spiritual and relational effects, and he came to me-I didn’t catch him in it. He came clean, humbly and out of great pain and love.

But.

It hurts. A whole F-ing lot. And so I am staying home today because trying to slog through the work day yesterday with this weighing on my heart and mind was too damn much. I have a date with a running path, my Bible, my Jesus, and His ocean, which somehow always seems to hold comfort and answers from Him. Broken Hallelujah.