My Second Session with the New Therapist

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ChiroAssociates.us

I met with my new therapist for our second session last Wednesday.

During our first session back in December, we covered all of the basics: introductions, symptoms, triggers, an outline of my family dynamics.

It was nothing strenuous or profound. I did not leave with high hopes or a soaring self-esteem, but I did walk out feeling content with how we connected and the hope that we had solid ground from which to build a relationship.

This second session, on the other hand, was the most exhausting one of my life.

It began easily enough. She asked me how my holidays were. They were good.

She asked how I felt overall. I told her I was OK.

She asked if I had experienced any intense episodes. I had.

She asked what happened.

What I wanted to tell her was that my husband Bryce and I had a discussion that went from civilized discourse to mild argument, which caused me to downward spiral into a panic attack that left me in tears, gasping for air, and berating myself for being both a terrible partner to my husband and a pathetic excuse for a woman.

I only got as far as saying an argument took place that resulted in a panic attack.

And then I found myself silent.

She asked about the topic of our discussion-turned-argument. I said I couldn’t remember, and for a moment, I really couldn’t. After all, it had been weeks ago, and sometimes I mercifully wipe my mind blank of the details once a panic has passed.

It didn’t take me long to remember the topic, yet when I did, I did not want to share it with her.

At first, I told myself it was because the topic (a slight difference in political opinion) wasn’t important. Then, I told myself if she knew what happened, she would judge me for being too argumentative. Then I feared she would judge my husband for being too pushy, then judge me for being too submissive, and then I outright feared her having so much power to judge me when I needed help.

For what felt like forever, but was probably more like a minute, I sat in silence, my legs crossed, my hands clasped together, my head down, my shoulders tense, my forehead beginning to sweat.

I couldn’t find the next words to say. I didn’t want to find them, either.

I had met this woman on exactly two occasions, and I already feared her opinion of me to the point that I could not share anything with her, even if it would allow her to help me (which I did not trust her to do).

Going back to the topic of the argument, she suggested that I write down the details of those incidents in the future so we could talk about them more in depth. It was a solid suggestion, yet it took all of the energy I had within me not to run out of the office and never return.

I knew she was a doctor who needed to know how to help me, and I needed to do some work, too.

But I didn’t want her to help me. I wanted her to leave me alone.

I think she sensed my resistance, because she backtracked to the holidays again. I still didn’t want to say much to her, but I was willing to talk about spending time with my family, so I relented and gave her the information.

From the holidays, she asked about me and my mom. From there, she asked about her and my stepdad. From there, she asked about me and my husband. Gently and slowly, she helped me peel back those layers, but only enough to take quick peeks before closing them up again. She knew better than to cut too deep into an already frightened soul.

Finally, miracle of miracles, I told her more about the argument. I explained to her why I felt attacked, the contents of my thoughts, the ensuing exhaustion, and the patterns I noticed. She was able to give me some solid advice in regards to being a good spouse and having a solid sense of self in the midst of those heated moments.

It ended up being a really productive, albeit very stressful, session. I was glad I stuck around, and I was even more grateful she understood how to honor and work with my limits.

The session came to an end. We shook hands, and I walked out of her office still a bit shaken but feeling more solid and secure than I had in weeks.

I even made sure to schedule an appointment for February.

I’m looking forward to getting to know my new therapist more and actually allowing her to get to know me. I’m still afraid of being vulnerable, and that I will never have a bond with this new therapist quite like the one I had with my former. This being said, I need to keep telling myself that’s OK as long as, in my time with this new person, I grow and become more well.

I’m taking baby steps right now, and it’s hope in these little steps that gets me back in her office.

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5 AM Wake Up Call, Courtesy of My Anxiety

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http://www.photogen.com/

A month ago, I woke up with a panic attack.

Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say the quantity of my worrisome thoughts was so great that my brain forced me into consciousness.

This one was a real doozy. Sometimes I swore I could feel the neurons morphing into thought after anxious thought before rapid-firing around my skull. I felt the frenzy of brain waves, the “what if’s” colliding with each other and ricocheting off of the walls of my mind, the “oughts” and “shoulds” screaming past each other, in a chaos so outstanding that I wondered how I could process anything going on in my own brain.

Last autumn, I hoped I could drop my meds and leave these incidents behind. And for a couple of months, things went pretty well. My anxiety was low, and when I did start worrying, I could calm myself down in a quick and easy fashion.

Four months later, the constant buzz of intrusive thoughts in my head came back, and I found myself once again at the doctor’s office, this time with a request for a different medicine to avoid some not fun side effects from the last drug.

Six months after that, around 5 AM, this glorious wake up call rang in with a vengeance.

Some of the thoughts were normal enough. Health insurance and wedding planning popped in for a bit, before making leeway for the onslaught of others: the state of my self-esteem and relationships, whether any of the changes that have happened in my life are “the right ones,” how ridiculous I was to even consider going on a different medication because of a stupid side effect.

As I lay curled up in bed with my inner turmoil, my pleas to God rang like silent screams in my head:

“My God, my God, WHY?”

“Healthy, happy, better people don’t have these anxieties or spend most of their time thinking about such things, so what am I doing that makes me so unhealthy, unhappy, and crappy?”

“Why would you make me such an awful person who only makes stupid decisions and cannot be trusted with her own health or happiness?”

“My God, my God, if you love me so much, WHY do I have such hateful thoughts about myself?”

After repeating these mantras a few times, my exhausted brain sought numbness and sleep. Adrenal fatigue set in, along with a small depression and and a bit of apathy. And in the midst of the exhaustion, the anxious thoughts continued, because they knew if they left, everything they’d predicted would come true.

I convinced myself to get out of bed around 7 AM to get ready for work, and in the act of lifting my body out of bed, I felt some of the anxiety dissipate. I texted my fiance and some friends to ask for prayers over my troubled and weary mind. I made my breakfast, read my meditation and an article about anxiety, talked to my roommate, and felt a bit more ready to take on the day. As I continued living into the day, I found myself better able to let go of the thoughts which clung to me in the morning, and I allowed myself to believe I was OK.

This battle between calm and chaos continued from that Thursday morning until the following Monday evening.

During those days, I called my counselor so she could reassure me that my thoughts are just thoughts, and my life is not a terrible mess and I am not a terrible person. I ate meals, played games, and laughed with my fiance and some friends. I spent time in my room by myself reading while Bryce and his friends played video games together. Every now and then, Bryce would step away and check on me to see if I was comfortable (mentally and physically), rub my back, talk things out, give me kisses, and try to make me giggle. When our friends returned home, we went on a date in Bridgewater, where we first met. We ate at one of my favorite town restaurants and walked around our old campus hand in hand, nostalgic over our first months and year of dating.

During those days, I also got so overwhelmed that I screamed. I freaked out over jokes that normally made me laugh. I snapped at people for being a little too loud or not giving me enough attention. And at the end of our date, I began to have another meltdown.

In short, life did not stop for my worries, and my worries didn’t stop as the world kept turning.

My greatest fears are about life as I know it crashing around me, but life insists on continuing in spite of my anxieties. I keep thinking that because I’m anxious or worried, something in my life must be terribly wrong. I’m not in good enough physical health. My relationships are becoming toxic or distant. Work is too stressful. I’m not taking care of myself.

But even though these are important factors to consider, more often than not, I am anxious because…well, because I’m anxious. Like my counselor has told me over again, it’s just “that thing” I do.

I’m anxious when I’m on medication and off medication (although I notice a significant difference in how much quieter those thoughts get when I’m on it). I was anxious in school, and I continue to be anxious in the work force. I was an anxious child and am an anxious adult. I was anxious when Bryce and I started dating, I’m anxious as we plan our wedding, and I’m sure I’ll be anxious until the big day finally arrives.

And in all of those worries, life continues to happen.

I just happen to be anxious, so it makes living daily life a bit more difficult. It makes things like mornings and over-stimulation a bit harder to deal with. It also makes going on long runs, practicing daily meditation, and calling my doctor to change my medication more necessary.

One of the hardest parts of this journey is acknowledging and accepting myself as an anxious person without demonizing myself. I’m realizing that no matter what happens, no matter how “high” or “low” a particular season in my life is, I will always be at least somewhat anxious during it, and the anxiety in and of itself is not bad but simply part of who I am.

In every season of my life, I have been a person with anxiety. It’s part of me and always will be, and for that I will always be a little pissed off.

But I can be anxious and plan our wedding and still look forward to the day. I can be anxious and write, and get flustered about how terrible my writing seems, and continue to put one word after another. I can still go to work, daydream, talk to my friends, read books, go nuts over bills, and live my life while “doing this thing I do.”

It won’t be easy. It definitely won’t be perfect.

But day by day, it can be enough.

Whispering, But Still Screaming: Moving Forward in my Journey with Anxiety

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By DRAWART at favim.com

I have been Zoloft free for 4 months, and I live with anxiety everyday.

There are days in which I do well. I am hopeful about the world yet realistic about it. I enjoy conversations with friends and listen as much as I speak. My anxiety is asleep and calm within me. She may have a thought or two every now and then, but she is quickly pacified and acts more giddy than freaked out.

Then there are days in which I fail miserably.

There are days I find myself frustrated over a snide or unnecessary remark, or thinking about the future and any plans I have for it, and my anxiety wakes up. She is scared that there’s been a disruption. Within me, she panics and flips over furniture and breaks things and makes the chaos more difficult, because she’s so scared and doesn’t know what to do to make things better, so she inadvertently makes them so much worse.

She remembers wonderful accomplishments and good days and wants to be content, but she can’t contain the fear and pain inside, and it erupts before I can stop it. She doesn’t mean to cause harm, but she doesn’t know how to deal with everything pent up inside. She has a hard time processing it on her own and needs someone to talk to, but it’s not the right time. People are busy. We are currently in class or at work. Someone else needs me to be there for them, so just wait your turn. What’s she supposed to do?

She knows she should turn to this “God” figure, who’s supposed to always be there for her, but since she got hurt all that time ago, she only looks up at the sky skeptically, wondering if he/she/it/whatever is really doing anything at all. She’s still so tangled up in that old language and old way of seeing things, and anytime others around her use that same old language, she retreats further away. Sometimes, the new stuff she’s learned about grace, unconditional love, and an overall newer worldview can help untangle a knot and give her some steadiness. But there are days when she is in such a frenzy that instead of resting in the release of tension, she tangles everything up all over again. Sometimes, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with her.

I still go to counseling at least twice a month. I am finally able to see my spiritual director on a regular basis, because I’ve calmed my anxiety enough to be able to talk about spiritual matters without her freaking out. I am more attentive to my self-care and am less likely to let my anxiety erupt all over people.

I’ve learned to talk with anxiety better, in both firmer and more gracious ways. I’ve learned to tell her she’s being irrational without demeaning her. I’ve learned to acknowledge her instead of ignore her, which seems to cause a decrease in temper tantrums. I’ve learned to tell her she’s OK even when she doesn’t feel like it, and she’s mostly learned to listen and accept this. I’ve learned to tell her that her thoughts are just thoughts, not real problems or concerns, and she lets them go a little more easily as a result.

I’ve lived with this anxiety for my whole life, and I am only now learning how to deal well with her. A lot of days are still exhausting, but I have to say I’m doing better overall. We have learned to work together instead of against each other, and it is making all the difference. We talk and even listen better than we used to, and we are taking each day one step at a time. I am learning to be fine with her constant presence and the need for more patience.

But it’s still hard. On the days I can control her well, the effort still exhausts me, and this exhaustion in turn affects how well or how poorly I engage my relationships and responsibilities. I have many days in which I know I am doing better, but I don’t have as many days in which I feel I’m doing better.

I still need more patience and more grace, for myself and others, as I continue this journey which I know will never end. I still need help accepting this and not seeing it as either a gift or a burden, but simply something I have. I still need hope that I can live with her and not hate her, even when she suddenly decides to ruin a perfectly good day. I still need hope in the good enough days and the great days, hope to get me through the really rough ones.

I still need hope that I’m doing well enough.

I am a bigot.

I believe that everyone should see a good counselor, because sometimes they tell you things about yourself that you never realized. And most of the time, they’re simultaneously the things you didn’t want to see in yourself yet need to know.

Last Wednesday, I sat across from my counselor Anne as I do twice a month. In the homey comfort of her office, with her comfy couch and peaceful silence, with the space heater turned on to prevent us from freezing, I unpacked the events that had happened in my life between our meetings and turned them over in my hands for her, hoping she could find some hope and growth within their depths. I even brought up the topic of a paper I will be writing in the next month for my Christian Tradition class. I had come across two topics about which I felt pretty excited but was torn over which one to choose. One was about a black female pastor named Jarena Lee, who, in the late 1700s/early 1800s, had a life-altering conversion experience which empowered her to blaze a path to the male-dominated pulpit.

My second choice was John Calvin and how his doctrine of predestination has been used as a source of elitism to control society, in a way that named clear distinctions between those who were “in” and those who were “out”.

If you couldn’t already tell by how I described the topic, this is something I have some strong and conflicted feelings about, and I sensed that I had some deconstructing to do with Anne regarding this.

Here’s the thing: I have wrestled with many ideologies, theologies, doctrines, and other big fancy concepts throughout my faith journey. And in my years of wrestling, I have made peace with, among other things, women in leadership and even the doctrine of predestination. While I have strong convictions that God is all-embracing, all-loving, and all-empowering,  I have come to a tentative state of peace with the fact that opposing doctrines exist in the world, and I have generally tried to look the other way when these arguments come up to “maintain the peace,” so to speak.

Here’s the other thing, though: While I’ve made peace with the doctrine, I have not yet made peace with the people who embrace it. The cold, painful truth is I still hate Calvinists (and others who hold tightly to the doctrine of predestination).

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my favorite qualities about Anne is the way she pushes and challenges me to take an honest yet graceful look at myself instead of patting me on the head and saying “There, there, you poor thing.” So, in traditional Anne-fashion, instead of shaking her head and agreeing that I had every right to hate such backwards people with such an awful theology, she smiled after I made my confession and said, “I see. You’re bigoted towards them.”

Which was not exactly the answer I was expecting to hear.

Of course, this was news to my perfectionist ego, and my mind immediately flipped to defense mode. Who was she to say I was the bigot? I was in seminary. I was learning more about white privilege in two semesters than I had in my entire 23 years of life. I was part of a congregation that did its best to live by its creed, “Everyone means everyone.” I coordinated a mentoring program that worked to build relationships with the “at-risk” kids, the ones everyone else looked at with disdain and suspicion but I looked at with love and hope. Didn’t she realize that these people were the ones who were bigoted against me, against the people they didn’t believe were elect? How dare she lump me in the same category as them? How could she get this twisted?

But then the examples of the times I’ve lumped people into groups of “us” versus “them” computed. When I remembered the times as a child that I stuck with those I called “friends” and avoided those I deemed “not friends,” when I was a part of youth group but still labeled “the Super Christians” and “the backsliders,” when I went to seminary and started labeling those who held my convictions as “the progressives” and “the ones who love everyone” and those who opposed me as “the bigots” and “the ones full of hatred,” my own bigotry reared its ugly head at me.

I knew Anne brought this to my attention for good reasons. But I want to be perfect. And I couldn’t get over the fact that I never will be perfect, because the whole facade of me not being hateful had imploded in her cozy office.

My perfectionist tendencies and the cold, hard truth of my humanity have always been at war. I’ve tried to make myself think better and be better, thinking that if I can just fix myself, I won’t be full of hatred anymore. Then my humanity knocks me down a few pegs when I read another article by John Piper or someone at Bed Bath and Beyond gives me a hard time because their As Seen on TV product didn’t perform as expected. I feel the tension and weariness of battle in my body from trying to be saint over sinner.

Another awesome quality about Anne is that the minute she calls me out on my own shortcomings, she calls out her own. After she reminded me of my bigotry, she followed it up by explaining, “Everyone is a bigot to someone. I have my bigotry, you have yours, everyone else has theirs. But the way to growth is by admitting it.” She told me how she tenses up when people call her to set up appointments but say they need “a Christian counselor.” She knows this about herself, she catches herself doing it, she accepts that she does it. She also accepts that while she can’t fix her attitude, she can control how she responds. And she does her best to choose openness over exclusivity.

So I guess I’m not alone in this battle, and I guess that’s what makes all the difference.

I realized that Anne called me out on my bigotry, not so I could beat myself up about it, or even try to make me “better.” She told me this crucial information about myself, and humanity in general, so I could learn to be gracious, first to myself, and then to others, the ones I love who will inevitably fall off of the pretty little pedestals I built for them, and the ones who outright piss me off. She told me because like me, she is also on a journey, one that involves joy and despair, steps forward and steps backward, one that no one can take alone.

She was reminding me that I need to believe that the God who has grace enough for me and my story has grace enough for the people for whom I don’t show enough grace and their stories.

Maybe if we, hell, maybe if I, truly believed in a God of grace, maybe if we truly accepted this grace, it wouldn’t seem so difficult to give it away.

So I guess since I’m not alone, I’ll continue to unpack this, with Anne, with my friends, with my family, with my professors, with my church, with anyone willing to listen to me yammer on for a few minutes.

But first, I’ll try to show myself a little grace sometime this week, and try to show it to someone else, too. Because Anne has taught me, as have many others who have gone before me, that all I can really do is pray for Grace to inspire me to continue to choose love over fear and hatred, for Grace to continue to catch me when I fall, and for Grace to point out the imago Dei in me and the person in front of me.

Why I Want to Win an Oscar (And How Waking up at 3 AM Helped Me Realize This)

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http://www.tokyotimes.com/2013/oscars-2013

I woke up at 3 AM on Sunday morning and could not get back to sleep.

I was in that half-awake state between dreams and consciousness. Half of my mind was still ringing up customers at Bed Bath & Beyond, and half of my mind was trying to tell Sparky to not purr so loudly in my ear so I could get back to sleep.

I finally came out of limbo, realized I was in bed and not dealing with more impatient customers, and cuddled with my little kitten hoping I would easily drift off to sleep.

It wasn’t that easy.

Maybe it was because I had a Mountain Dew at dinner for the first time in about a week. Maybe it was because my 7 hour work day had left me tense and irritated. I could feel the pain of tension in my lower back and shoulders. My tummy was rumbly. The kitty continued to purr loudly. My room was too hot.

After laying and waiting for sleep for a half hour, I threw off the covers, grabbed my journal, and sat in the living room.

My roommate’s cat, Moose, who I suspect is quite irritated at me for bringing the new addition home, was meowing and begging for someone to play with and scratch her. I absentmindedly threw her little mouse toy around for her to chase, pondering what in the world was keeping me awake at such an hour while sweet Moose relished in my long absent attention.

After Moose had finished playing, I grabbed my pen and journal, and I did something I don’t normally do anymore.

I asked God for help.

I’ve recently written about how I don’t identify God as a man, or as a woman, or as a big guy with white robes and a long beard. I’ve also recently written about how difficult prayer is for me nowadays, and how writing has become my new medium with which I connect with God. So before I asked God for help, I had to figure out what I’d call God, and how I’d communicate best with God.

I didn’t need a parent, friend, or lover. I needed someone to listen to me without judgment, maybe give me some advice, but most importantly, help me work through the knots in my own mind and untangle the problem with my own hands and some proper guidance.

I needed a Counselor.

Oftentimes when I muster up the strength and courage to talk to God, I treat it like a counseling session with Anne. She has the most attentive ear and sincere heart, but she doesn’t act like other female counselors I’ve had in the past, the ones who only say “I’m so sorry that happened to you. It must be awful to be that way,” in the most fake and insincere voices. No, I know she is sympathetic and loving and cares deeply about me and my mental health.

But this woman calls me on my crap. She also helps me figure out what I, not her or the people around me, can do to make living my life a little more bearable.

When I tell her the times I’ve lashed out at people because of my anxiety, she doesn’t pat me on the head and say “It’s ok, Lindsay, you just can’t help it.” She says, “I get that you’re hardwired this way. I get that it sucks. I also get that if you keep doing this and using your anxiety as an excuse, you’re not going to be healthy. And you’ll definitely be lonely. Now let’s talk about ways you can talk yourself down from the ledge and also explain to people how you’re feeling without accusing them of being monsters.”

When I used to talk to God, I assumed He’d either be pissed beyond all reason at me, or He’d pat me on the head and say “Now now, little one. You’re just weird. Carry on.”

At 4 AM on Sunday morning, God and I had a counseling session. Mercifully God doesn’t charge for these sessions, whether they’re an hour or two minutes. My Counselor helped me figure out what’s been on my heart. I wrote down the racing thoughts in my mind, ranging from fears on how our cats would get along to worries about the meaning of life and everything in between.

Which brings me to my dream of wanting to win an Oscar.

Ever since I was in third grade, I have been unreasonably obsessed with watching awards shows. The Emmys. Golden Globes. Academy Awards. Teen Choice Awards. MTV Movie Awards. You get the idea.

I love the glamorous outfits, the shiny statues, the loud applause for the winner, the sometimes ridiculously long acceptance speeches, the glory and status of it all. These people seem so sure of themselves, of their success, so on top of the world. The paparazzi commit invasive crimes to get their photos and personal information. The newspaper headlines proclaim their victories.

They are noticed. They are seen. They are heard. They are powerful.

Their fame and success make them important.

I want that.

I want to prove myself worthy, of being seen and heard and loved. I want to know that my life is important, that I am worth remembering, admiring, and respecting. The privacy invasion aside, I want people to care deeply about what is going on in my life, the ones I love the most, and my hopes and dreams and fears and failures. I want to prove to my naysayers that they are wrong and I am awesome. I want to be validated. I want to know that my life is worth something.

If I have the golden statue celebrating my acting or writing achievements, my life will be worthwhile. If I am invited to talk about my bestselling books on talk shows, my gifts will be important. If I host SNL a record number of times, people will know I am funny and worth seeing and hearing.

I loved doing Theater in college. I loved the thrill of being on stage, my amazing community of thespians, my professor who challenged me with the plays he had me read and the monologues he had me perform. Onstage, I felt special, important, like the whole show would be completely different without me. I loved telling the stories, being part of such wonderful stories with such amazing and talented people.

It is similar to the feeling I get when I’m giving a sermon, or when I get a lot of comments and likes on my blog posts. My words and ideas feel valid, important, listened to. I hold my audience in the palm of my hand, and that power is exhilarating. With every compliment, my life’s significance becomes greater.

I crave the spotlight. And I like to think the spotlight craves me. And when it works both ways, I feel like I own the world.

I like to think I’m not alone in this, that we all have our “golden calves” (or in my case, a golden statue) that we forge in our own minds and hearts and show our worship and devotion, hoping it will give our lives and routines more significance in the eyes of others and ourselves.

And I like to think that while God isn’t exactly pleased with this behavior, as our Creator, it makes sense why we do this to ourselves. I also like to think that while it may piss God off, God loves us enough to let us throw our tantrums, make fools out of ourselves, then pick us up and say, “Alright, you’ve had your fun. Now let me tell you how this really works.”

And then God helps us pick up the idol and maybe, just maybe, convince us to start burning it up, piece by piece, no matter how difficult it is for us, no matter how much we’ve invested in it, and start giving that gold away so someone can have a meal today. Or fashion it into a beautiful necklace to give to someone who’s had a bad day. Or just do something productive with something so beautiful instead of fretting in front of it, asking this lifeless product of our fears and overactive imaginations to give our lives meaning.

I told my Counselor this. I let God know all these and more. I let my Counselor know how badly I wanted to sleep and how badly I wanted to know I would be loved and remembered when I was gone from this world, how badly I wanted the golden statues and halls of fame to prove that to me. The more I talked to my Counselor, the more a new but always present truth started to dawn on me.

I have always been worthy.

I have always been loved. I have always been admired. I have always been respected. I have always been worth remembering. I have always been important.

My life has been solid proof of this. My mom, dad, and family took care of me before I wrote or even spoke my first words. My faith communities lovingly embraced me before and after I embraced them and Jesus, and even in times I wasn’t sure I wanted to embrace either of them. My Creator made me before I could prove that creating me was going to be worth it.

I, along with the rest of the world, was created to reflect the immense love of God. This image makes me worthy today, and it has always marked me as worthy.

I don’t need to make myself worthy. I don’t need to win an Oscar, host Saturday Night Live ten times, or write a record number of bestsellers to be seen, heard, and loved.

I already am, right here, right now, as I am. My life is validated because it’s mine, a gift from the God of Love.

I exist. I am alive. I am worthy. Somehow, these are all related. Somehow, my Counselor was able to crack through my pain and fears and speak some truth to me, even at 4 in the morning with church only hours away.

This is what I like about mine and God’s relationship now. Truth is no longer some abstract thing that drops out of the sky bathed in yellow light, a sudden realization of something I never could have understood without divine intervention.

Now, truth is a change in perspective, the Spirit moving inside me to realize what has always been true. Truth is what the Spirit opens my eyes to see and makes room in my heart to truly understand it.

So I still want to win an Oscar, but every day, I realize my life isn’t dependent on it. I still want to write some of the best books the world has ever known that may make it to the Banned Books list, but my life will still be important if I never end up doing that.

And each day, I keep realizing that I will be remembered because of the love I shared, the compassion I showed, how much of my time and efforts I gave. And if that’s the legacy I leave, I can’t say I’ll be too terribly disappointed.

Because we were made for so much more than golden statues, awards that will fade, and the recognition of those who, like us, will one day return to the dust.

We were made for love. We were made to love. We were made so, so worthy, and so, so loved.

So day by day, I’ll try to let God take me by the hand to my golden statue, and maybe another day, I’ll let God stand by my side as I make a fire. And maybe eventually, I’ll let God hold my hand as I lower the idol into the flame, and perhaps one day still, I’ll get to see the thing that’s held so much of my life burn to molten gold. And then together, we’ll start working through the molten mess to make something beautiful out of it.

I finished reflecting. I said my thanks. I returned to my room and under the covers with Sparky curled up on my chest.

And finally, I had rest.