Some days I just feel crazy.

I haven’t had one of those “I am legitimately losing my mind” kind of days in a while. But today it’s here in full-force. I woke up just sad. I hate days I wake up sad. Because then the whole day feels like a struggle for joy. I suppose it is grace that I’m not waking up sad every day anymore. But when they come, they hit hard. I really did just want to stay in bed all day. And I can’t seem to stop crying. It’s days like today where I feel like I can relate a little to Charlie in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It’s the feeling of everything swirling around, the feeling of being trapped inside your own head and not being able to get out.

There was constant confusion the first few months. And now it’s seldom. But it still throws me every time an “I’m going crazy” day hits. So I guess it’s more than just a sad day.

I’ve been trying to quantify the struggle. Because that’s what I do. I analyze. And I ask God to help me boil it down to the truths He wants me to see. I hardly ever do this, but I’m typing before I’ve fully processed. Usually I write things in a journal first, and then later they get transferred to the blog.

But I don’t know. Today it just seems like I need the act of typing and the clacking of keys to make me feel like I’m accomplishing something.

These deep days are never about one thing. Usually it’s a combination of things that have been building for a while. I’m struggling with being alone. I’m struggling with my new life. I’m struggling with feeling of value to anyone. Then there are some aspects of struggle I just can’t write here. And another thing, I’ve been getting to spend lots of time with people recently. But why do I still feel so lonely? And why is it so hard to preach the gospel to myself today? And all of this makes me feel a little crazy.

There’s been a lot about introversion on Facebook lately, and maybe it’s a bad thing for me. Because now I’m analyzing all these character traits! Which in turn makes me realize I have more introversion in me than I thought. And I think it makes me nervous. It makes me wonder if a result of grief is a fundamental shift in personality. Or if I’ve just never realized there was a label for the desire to have solitude! I think under normal circumstances, I’m somewhere in the middle. It’s like a mean game though… 23 Signs You’re Secretly an Introvert. I’m convinced it was written by someone out there bent on making me even more tied up in my own head. Why the hype all of a sudden? I’ve been content to know that I was introspective, but I think I’ve headed down this nasty spiral today: “Have I always had introverted tendencies? If so, why does this label “introvert” bother me so much? Or are these tendencies just heightened as a result of loss? And if I do have them, I must not be totally introverted because I think I’m going nuts from so much time by myself!” I don’t know the answers. And I know I may not be making much sense.

For example, take crowds. I don’t remember if I used to feel alone in a crowd before losing Jon. I don’t remember it ever being a problem.

I don’t remember if I would have wanted to sit in the corner and observe rather than participate. But I do know that when I had Jon, I could be in a large crowd and be totally ok. Even if I was not by his side, I knew he was there. Like a safe haven. The place where I knew it was ok to be totally me, not wondering how I was perceived.

But now I sometimes feel like I’m going to hyperventilate. Is this introversion or is this just grief? And does it really matter which one it is? Probably not.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is that Jon was really good at getting me to not take life so seriously. He drew the silliness out in me. And I think it makes me sad that I’m not that way anymore. And it makes me miss his goofiness that much more.

I miss that every trip to a grocery store or Walmart was an adventure. I miss him riding down a hill on the shopping cart shouting “I’m the king of the world.”  I miss him dancing in the middle of the aisle every time that stupid Bieber song, “Baby Baby” came on…every time, without fail. I miss him 80s power walking like Richard Simmons so he could be the first one to spot people in their pajamas. I always won that game though, despite his best efforts.

I miss how we would play silly games and people would look at us funny (or sweetly). One day, we were waiting in the self-checkout line and every time I said an adjective Jon exuberantly acted it out– silly, happy…. So then I just started trying to get him to act out ridiculous ones… charming, dashing, terrified, pensive, manly, heroic, shy… I just laughed and laughed. It was our own little game of reverse charades. We noticed the clerk looking at us as if we were nuts. But I just smiled at her and thought, “Let her think we’re nuts. This is what happiness looks like.” He made me not care.

My sister-in-law once said- “Does he do these things all the time?”  And my playful answer was, “Yes. And I just go with it. Life is definitely never boring.”

So all this talk about introversion just makes me wonder if I’ll ever have those times of silliness again.

Maybe this is my skewed, biased view, but Jon had this rare quality about him. I can’t think of one word to describe it, but it seemed like a sense of utter delight with life. Excitement, joy, passion, charisma… He told me once that it was his personal mission to get people with monotonous jobs to smile. You know, checkout clerks, subway attendants, toll collectors…  “Somebody’s got to make their day better.”

I think other aspects of my struggle today comes down to an identity crisis. For one thing, I didn’t realize that no longer teaching Kindergarten would bother me. Even though it was my own choice to not go back. But now everyone’s headed back to school and it does. Perhaps teaching has become an idol. “I am a teacher.” It gave me a definitive identity when God took the rest– wife, encourager, cheerleader, lover, wannabe mother, wannabe pastor’s wife. But even this last week, God reminded me that He wants teacher too. “God can’t I keep just this one? I’m a good teacher. Can’t I keep that? You’ve taken everything else.”  But again God said, “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” He wants even my identity as teacher. He wants my identity to be in Christ. So if He wants these education skills to go dormant, that’s ok. It’s His life. This is the cost of true discipleship. But today the cost weighs heavy.

On the other hand, I’m so thankful for what I get to do now. I’m thankful that I get the privilege of being totally devoted to ministry. And I know I’m following God’s plan. I love getting to talk with people, encourage, and counsel. I love that He is perhaps developing other gifts.

Most days I have such great joy in that. Just not today. Today I feel like shouting and throwing things. Or maybe just doing nothing but lying on the couch. Today I’m wrestling with questions like, “Have I reached that place where I’m expected to be ok? After all, it has been almost 7 months.” and “Is it still ok for me to tell people that I’m struggling? Is it still ok for me to feel crazy?”

As I alluded to earlier, I’ve really enjoyed getting to invest so much time in people. But I feel so drained. Yet I don’t want to be alone. It’s this weird paradox.

Epilogue

So I left my ramblings mid thought, and got to spend the evening with some lovely friends. And it was a good thing too. For I was headed down deep, and I knew it. I’m thankful God gave me grace to know I had to reach out. I can’t expect people to be mind readers. “Do y’all have plans tonight?” This was His love for me when I just couldn’t get enough truth in my heart to stop crying and to distill the crazy thoughts.  And this is why I can’t understand how it’s possible to handle grief without Christ. For I would have drifted more into isolation, and who knows what else today.

I loved just being with them, and seeing the silliness in their own interactions together. I loved seeing their affection for one another. I loved hearing them pray for one another and for me. It was good. And it was really good to share my “pit of introspection” with another human and not just my computer. It was not through words, but my friends reminded me why Christ made believers a body. We need each other. I’m thinking of Galatians 6 that says “Bear one another’s burdens.” That verse is referring to a crushing load that’s too heavy for one person. Sometimes the best way to preach the gospel is just to do life together. Today I needed someone to bear my crushing load with me. We had some spiritual conversation tonight, but more than that I got to see the corporate quality of the gospel played out. This is the church. Jesus purchased for Himself a people; peculiar, holy, blameless. This is the kingdom of God. To be a burden bearer is to imitate Jesus, who went so far as to bear the full burden of sin.

I thought about going back and editing what I wrote earlier today. But then I thought better of it. I can be honest here. I have to be. Or I will help perpetuate the myth that Christians are shiny people with all their stuff together. Because it really is ok for me still to struggle even if Christian culture sometimes, sadly portrays otherwise.

When a sheep is broken, the shepherd doesn’t just say, “Just get up and walk sheep.” Rather, He carries it. I’m thankful to be in a local church that carries broken sheep. Even this one.

And I still say

“I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who’s broken
The one who’s torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I’ll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I’ll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who’s all I need

You’re enough for me.”

Though You Slay Me (Shane & Shane, With John Piper)

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4 thoughts on “Some days I just feel crazy.

  1. I just wanted to say that I knew John just a little bit in college. I believe we took a class together in college. But, I have been following your blog, and I am so glad you didn’t edit this one. I love the rawness and the true struggle. Brought tears to my eyes this morning. God has shown you such immense grace and I just don’t know how you exude it so well in this time of extreme darkness. But you do. And God is using you in amazing ways. Don’t stop.

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    1. Becca, thank you so much. Thank you for taking time to encourage! Your comments are extremely meaningful. I get really nervous when I’m that honest with people. You’re right, God’s grace really is astonishing. How marvelously He draws me back from the low places. Left to myself, I’d never leave the pit. He’s teaching me that it’s ok to be weak because He’s big enough to handle it. I think I’m learning a lot about what depending on Him means. He really does give grace — And it’s only Him that causes others to see it too! Thanks again!

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