The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

I'm Nothing if Not Predictable

I started writing this blog 3 years ago, in June of 2011, about one year after my first Rachel's Vineyard retreat.  Coincidence?  Probably not.  I am a creature of habit even though I fancy myself spontaneous and unpredictable.  I'm still trying to figure out if the fact that I have major depressive episodes that are cyclical in nature - if the depression fell into step with my own personal time clock or if my personal time clock has been set to the meter of my depressive episodes.  One thing is for certain - there is a definite ebb and flow to what I'm feeling or going through at any particular time.

I can go along for a while, feeling pretty good and on an even keel and then, seemingly out of nowhere, everything is out of focus and I'm grasping at nothing, let alone a straw.  We've had a busy two months in my "real" life, well this blog is my real life too, perhaps I should say my "offline" life.  We've had major life changes, health scares, and general upheaval.  It feels as though my life looks like when you peek through a kaleidoscope. It can be very pretty, but you don't know where to look, it's all disjointed and fractured, but there is beauty in the mess.  My problem is not always seeing past the mess.  I tend to look at the all the fragments and feel frustrated at the lack of order and then I chuck the whole kaleidoscope as completely not worth it. 

In real life, when I don't have one thing to focus on, when too many things are pulling me in too many directions, I can't deal with it.  I opt for nothing and retreat, predictably, quietly into my own head and begin not to care about any of it, whether it's pretty or not.  That's kind of where I am now.  I'm retreating.  The good thing about predictability is I know what comes next if I don't stop it.  Not that that realization is enough to stop it sometimes, but I'm aware of it. 

With all that life has handed us lately, both good and bad, I'm completely and utterly overwhelmed and second guessing every decision I've made in the last 12 years or so. 

What would be laughable if it weren't so damn sad is the fact that I know what I must focus on to make my life okay again.  The trouble lies in trying to find that focus and have it be part of my real life, my offline life and my online life, just part of me, always.

When I go back and re-read some of my posts - especially those soon after my retreats when I'm basking in His mercy, love, and light - I wonder why I ever leave those spaces in time.  I suppose life gets in the way.  I suppose I haven't truly surrendered all to Him.  I have a weak faith or a timid one.  It's easy for me to write on this blog and gush about the love from Him that I allow myself to feel, but ask me about it in real life or ask me to actually speak about it, I'm mute.  The last 4 years of my life I've learned more about my faith and what I believe and my Church than ever before, but get me in a room of people and I won't say a word about it.  Just the other evening I was out for some dinner and cocktails and the gossip inevitably begins.  One woman starts talking about so-and-so (who of course is not at the dinner to defend herself) and how this person is all "gung ho with her prolife crap..."  I sat there in silence, not agreeing, but not speaking up either.  I didn't way a word.  What a coward.  So, I return home and start to question if I really believe anything I say I believe.  How can I if I'm too afraid to talk about it or even mention it.   It was much easier to be outspoken about what I believed when what I believed didn't need defending. 

I think sometimes I'm afraid to even talk to myself about it.  I'm afraid to talk to my husband about it.  I feel guilty admitting sometimes that I have such trouble focusing and I need some help and the first help I need to get is His. When do I do well with life?  When I make time for Him.  And usually that involves some smells and bells for me because trying to focus in my own mind is a losing battle.  But it's still difficult for me to just say that I need some time to pray and then go to adoration or wherever is conducive for me to do that.  Maybe because I'm not even sure what I do would be considered prayer at all.  It would be even worse and more guilt inducing to say, "honey, I need some time to go sit in a chapel and, oh I don't know, sit there and do nothing because I don't know how to pray, I think."  When everyone I know is so busy with this and that and the other thing it sounds shallow to just sit and do nothing in a chapel somewhere because I believe that He is really there.  I only feel justified in doing those things when I'm at the end of my rope for whatever reason - so I begin to wonder if I'm creating the frayed rope to begin with. 


Well, I've stopped and started this blog post ten times over.  I'm not even sure what I'm writing about, if anything.  I'm not sure what I need right now.  And if I did know, I'm not sure I'd ask for it.  Kind of goes back to the "fine" answer whenever anyone asks how you are doing.  When you most definitely aren't fine and you just want someone to recognize it without your having to admit it and hug you, hold your hand, dry your tears.  I'm not sure if I'm just looking for trouble.  I'm not sure if I'm making trouble just to have a reason to run away.  I'm not sure if I'm just being dramatic because things begin to feel good and I can't handle good anymore.  It's been so long since good or happy has been part of my repertoire that I don't know what to do with it when I have it, let alone feel it.  

I'm not sure how much of all of this is being post abortive or just being me in general.  I'm not sure how much of it is just general malaise or something more that I'm not willing to admit defeat over.  My heart is just aching lately, a dull, physical ache.  I'm overwhelmed and quite tearful and not the kind of tearful over the Hallmark commercial on TV.  The only thing worse than crying and the deep, dull, ache that I sometimes or always feel, is trying to hide that I feel it at all.  The energy it takes to choke it all down where no one knows it's there doesn't leave much for life in general. 

I hate that everything I just typed would make a perfect anti-depressant commercial, just pick one.  I hate the 20 seconds of side effects that are listed at the end of the commercials.

I hate that I am this way.  I hate that all the healing and growing and work I've done in the last four years isn't enough.  I wonder if anything will be enough.


  1. Perfect love casteth out all fear.

    I'd also remind you of whoever it was (St Francis of Assisi?) who said

    "Bear witness to Christ every day. If necessary, use words"

    There's no point martyring yourself if people have already made their minds up to the contrary. Live it, do it gently and with love and in an effort to do good.

    I'd like to refer you to the whole of 1 Peter 4. It fits with what you're going through at the moment. Please read it. And hang in there.

  2. All I can say is, run to the chapel. Just get there. He is waiting for you there and you don't need any justification to be there. I get that it can be difficult to swing sometimes, but He is waiting for you. We have this crazy idea that sitting still means that we are doing nothing, when in fact being still in His presence may be one of the greatest things we could ever do.

  3. Daily Mass keeps me sane. I feel it in my bones when I don't get there regularly. And it is always so hard to come down off a "God-high" from a retreat. It's why we are encouraged to go on retreat at least once a year. It is food for our journey and is necessary.

    "Prayer is nothing other than becoming a longing for God" ~ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI I think your desire to sit with Him, to be near Him, is a beautiful prayer.

    I will pray that you are able to find more chapel time, to just sit and be with Him.

  4. I second Catholic Mutt. Even if it doesn't seem that chapel time and the sacraments do anything, they often help in quieter ways. Going through a dry spell, you might not feel anything good from it, but afterwards, looking back, you realize God used it to help keep you going.

    Talking gets a little easier as you do some of it. But starting with something you're only a little uncomfortable with (like this blog) is better than forcing yourself to speak when you're really nervous/scared.

  5. Thank you all for your encouragement, prayers, and support. I realize that the summer months are difficult in a lot of ways because I'm basically the cruise director of this little ship and am constantly running my charges from one activity to another - doesn't leave a lot of time for anything else.