momentary vs. lasting

I want to numb the pain. I want to follow suit with everybody around me and do something morally irresponsible just to distract me from the turmoil that’s going on inside me.

I want to.

But I can’t.

Because I have rigid morals, and I can’t not toe the line. It’s obedience for the sake of obedience, for the sake of not doing anything wrong. It’s perfectionism.

I vaguely remember that at one time these morals I’ve formed meant something to me. I’ve made the behavioral choices that I have because of one really big factor: I have been loved perfectly by the Father, and my heartfelt response is to follow the guidelines He’s set before me.

I vaguely remember all that. But I don’t feel it tonight.

Tonight I remember just enough of high school youth group to know that this is wanting to ‘treat the symptom instead of the cause.’ Tonight I am processing just enough to know that dumb decisions now can mean hefty consequences later. Tonight I am present just enough to know that tired, emotional thinking is not rational thinking.

I could easily drop out of school right now. This very instant. I am more than ready to gather the few belongings I consider most precious, climb into my car, and start driving West until I have to pull over somewhere to sleep. Then I’ll sleep just long enough to find the stamina to keep driving, and carry on that way until I’m home. I could. Right now.

I could easily get drunk right now. Sloppy, pass-out drunk. From everything I’ve heard, it’s a great way to get out of your head. And if I get drunk enough, then it’s not me making whatever dumb decision comes next: it’s the alcohol, so I can blame that and ignore the fact that I’m still the one in charge of whether I’m drinking or not. I could. Right now.

I could easily take everything out on someone right now. Friends are passing anyway; why not just pick a friendship to end abruptly in order to purge myself of some of the ick I feel? There are plenty of nasty, hateful things that have fluttered through my head in the 19 years I’ve been around, so it’s just a matter of reaching deep inside, retrieving them, and phrasing them so they’re most effective at tearing apart the heart of whomever I’m targeting. I could. Right now.

There are plenty of other options. None of them wise. None of them leading to abundant life.

Because the temporary relief that this world offers is a cheap knock-off of life. (Aka ‘Melissa: remember how we both know that you know this, so don’t go do something we’ll regret later!)

Right now it hurts inside, and I can’t see God’s bigger plan from where I’m standing, and that kind of sucks. But I know that I know it’s still there, and I know that I know why I’m trusting in it.

I could whisper my fears and my doubts and my hurts to the one who designed my heart. I could trust the truths that I’ve stored away for moments like this and remember that however dark the night may seem, joy comes with the morning.

That’s what I choose.

Right now.

Because numbing the pain won’t fix anything.

And I know the one who will fix everything in its time.

– Melissa
“When My Heart Is Torn” by Phil Wickham


Medicine (the good kind)

I don’t remember when Gracie started calling Smarties ‘medicine’.

Maybe it wasn’t her at all. Maybe it was Abbie.

I don’t know. They probably know, but I don’t.

What I can tell you is that we sisters love us some Smarties. (To the point where Gracie got about a million rolls for Christmas this year, because that’s all anybody gave her because it’s kind of all she talks about sometimes.)

I think it’s appropriate: calling those little rolls of sugar ‘medicine.’

Because medicine isn’t solely a pharmaceutical thing. Not in my mind.

If it is, then laughter can’t be the best medicine, and we all know that it is, so…

Anyway, I bought medicine—Smarties—today, and I’ve added them to my backpack stash of everything-anybody-could-ever-need. So now I can offer friends a pick-me-up on hard days (and just eat a shot of sugar whenever I feel like it.)

Speaking of hard days, I feel like I’ve been having a lot of those lately. Which is a bummer, because I think we can all agree that it’s no fun to feel miserable.

Maybe that’s why my latest saying (probably paraphrased from somebody wise I’ve heard speak at some point or another) is this:

It’s okay to not feel okay, but it’s not okay to stay there forever.

Bad days happen (bad months, even) and I don’t expect myself—I don’t expect you—to act like everything is rainbows and sunshine when in reality there’s a downpour going on and you’re not sure whether or not the house is going to flood. But eventually the rain will stop, and it’s okay to emerge from survival mode and learn to live among the flowers again.

I guess I’m saying this: I don’t want to mope.

I don’t want to let the hard moments overshadow the awesome splendor of everything else (which is a mistake I’ve been prone to making.)

I don’t want to be hunkered down so deep that I miss the call of ‘all clear.’

Yesterday was really hard, and I could go into details, like what were the catalysts or what my introspection has discovered as a possible root cause or what my friends did that helped or didn’t, but that’s not what I’m wanting to say.

Yesterday was hard, and today wasn’t.

Today I laughed more during work than I usually do, and that’s saying something because work is one of my happy places right now.

Today I got my first sun of the season and turned my shoulders and the back of my neck pink because the weather was awesome and there was good, muscle-burning work to be done to care for my horse.

Today I drove through the dark with the windows down and the music WAY too loud because I decided that I wanted Sonic at 10pm, and I sang too loud all the way there and back.

Today I went shopping with my favorite partner-in-crime and bought brownie mix and medicine and Easter Lilies.

Yesterday was hard, today wasn’t, and tomorrow is an unknown.

I’m celebrating today, because today I was given more lung-fulls of air than I can count and more smiles than I can remember.

And I’m telling you this so that maybe we can both remember two things:

#1: Medicine sometimes looks like Smarties.


#2: There are good days. There are good moments.

No matter what your tomorrow looks like (no matter what mine looks like, for that matter), remember who’s in control, and remember that the sky can and will clear.

– Melissa
One of Those Days by Chris Rice