Friday, October 29, 2010

On Happiness and Other Fleeting Feelings

My sister posted a moving blog post today, Being Good Enough: How to Separate Who You Are From What You Do, and it's similar to what I've been thinking lately so I wanted to link to her. It gave me courage to post what I've been thinking lately.

Hey Char, "I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours first/ Let's compare scars, I'll tell you whose is worse/Let's unwrite these pages and replace them with our own words." (source)LOVE you!!

The last five months, since my baby was born, have been months of unparalleled happiness, peace, contentment, and even joy. It's like my life of drab neutrals and spotty dark canvases had turned into Technicolor crosses between Vincent Van Gogh and Mary Cassatt. Being a mom to my four kids was like being Dorothy walking out of that trashed Kansas farmhouse and into Munchkinlad. I didn't know things could be so bright and bouncy and full of life. Sure, the squeaky little voices might get annoying and it's hard not tripping over so many people who are only as tall as your knees, but their vibrancy is astounding.

It took four kids to teach me, but I have finally embraced motherhood. As I hold it close I've discovered how glorious it is. I get what the apostles and prophets talk about it in seeming hyperbolic terms. I get how and why this is God's work and I am crazy-grateful for the opportunity to be part of it. I love it in a fierce and primal way. These children are such gifts and sometimes it almost hurts to be able to bask in their glory. Being a mother is awesome.

As I've come to know these new feelings the closeness I have felt with the Lord has been astonishing. His love for me, His Spirit, has been a bubble around me. It's protected me from sadness and hurt and anger. It's buoyed me up during tempestuous mothering moments that usually sink me. It felt like the Lord was working miracles in my life like He never has before and it made it so I could finally feel comfortable and loved.

And now I feel like that bubble is popping. In small ways (long nights and lack of sleep, forgetting to refill my antidepressant) and in a few spectacular ways (one of my children getting suddenly ill and being hospitalized for two weeks and drama in my extended family) has prodded my happy bubble and it's swelling and turning and I know it's gonna burst.

I'm trying to hold it together but, really, what makes a bubble beautiful is its fragility and fleeting nature. Holding a bubble too tightly, squeezing it, is the thing that is most likely to pop it.

Back when I was in therapy my therapist, Ann, would encourage me to stay in the moment,let the past rest, avoid projecting into the future. I've tried to do that with my happiness--savor it, roll around in it, enjoy it. And I'm trying to be open to what ever is coming next because whatever it is will come and will go and I can't control it. All I can do is experience it. But anything other than the joy I've had feels like failure. Depression feels like failure. I find myself wondering what I've done wrong. Is there some sin that's popping my bubble? Is it my inherently weak and fallen nature that so offends God He can't be with me anymore? Or is it just that cursed opposition in all things coming back to roost? Likely it's some swirling, inconstant, even fleeting, combination of all those things.

But we know that God's love is constant. His desire to bless us is constant. His position as our parent is constant. So maybe even when I am less aware of Him, when my ability to feel Him is diminished, I can remember what His love felt like and it will be okay. I don't have to be anything other than I am for Him to love me.


Dianna said...

This is a powerful post and brought me to tears. I love the bubble analogy. I too often ask myself if there is some sin that is keeping the Spirit from fully enriching my life as in times past. I think it is the question many people ask themselves when they fight the depression monster. Your analysis of the fight with this monster is very insightful and inspiring. Keep it up.

Caitlin Fischetti said...

I often think my depression was because I messed up or made some mistake that kept me from being fully happy. My Bishop once told me my depression was my cross to carry, and that if I endured it well it would shape me to be a tool for the Lord. When I look at it that way, it is a lot more bearable. And those lyrics are beautiful, love that song! You inspire me.