They told me to move out for my mental health. Finding someone you love blue and lifeless in your home does something to you. It changes you. It forces you to see your own mortality. It drives you to quit putting up with the BS all around you. It haunts you. It makes you restless and angry and sad and throws you off kilter. And sometimes it’s the death of your dreams and plans and career. It’s not always the death of a person.
You grieve. You bargain. You laugh. You hide. You face the world head on. You crash and burn. And you keep lifting your head.
Sometimes you fall apart in a heap of tears and wonder if you’ll ever be normal again as the depression envelops you and almost suffocates you in its cocoon.
And then the next tidal wave of death comes and another and another and another until you go numb. And then you shut down and it’s as if you’re living on autopilot and you’re less patient, less understanding, less empathetic because you see through all the pettiness of the values placed on things that truly don’t matter in the large scheme of things.
And sometimes you enter crisis. Midlife crisis. A crisis of faith. A crisis of meaning. Your body betrays you. Your mind betrays you. Your feelings betray you. You open your eyes yet again to the fact that your present reality feels like some alternate reality. One you didn’t ask for. One you didn’t plan for. One you try desperately not to detest or begrudge.
You continue going through the motions, crying, praying, chasing beauty, showing up, doing the hard work, being responsible, temporarily flailing around in whatever addiction soothes you for a moment, back to prayer and cycling back through emotions and thoughts and actions that can be all manner of positive or negative depending on the day or the hour or the minute.
Then – you take a deep breath and remind yourself – this didn’t happen TO you. This is life and it’s hard and it sucks and it’s tragic and it’s beautiful and it’s full of glorious surprises if you’re willing to participate. You gotta participate in the suckiness, so you might as well fully own it. Don’t half ass anything – even your mistakes. But don’t half ass your successes either. Fully own them and don’t apologize for them.
Why, you ask? Because you will love and be loved again. You will dream again. You will fully live again. You will walk through open doors to adventures you never would have had if you hadn’t given a voice to all the suck. You will make a difference again. You will fly. You will smile. You will belly laugh. Your faith will rise again. You will lift your face again.
Meanwhile, you realize that you’ve learned to be kind to yourself. To quit judging yourself so harshly. To care for yourself. To quit being all things to all people. You can only be you and you can only give what you have and sometimes it’s ok to be on the receiving end of the goodness because you finally realize you’ve planted a lot of good seed. It’s hard to not feel guilty when harvest time comes, but you must fully accept it with wide open, grateful arms. And you must remember the seed had to die before it could produce new life.
Harvest time is blessing, but there’s still dirty work to be done to get all the produce from it. It doesn’t just magically fall from where it grew and pack itself neatly in boxes or ziplocks and appear in your freezer or cellar waiting for you to enjoy it.
Harvest time can be back breaking. Long, hot, sweaty days to bring in all the luscious fruit you’ve been so patiently waiting on. This is no hand-me-down wealth. It’s grueling and tedious and can leave you bone weary at the end of the day.
And it’s in the bone weary that you find some sort of reprieve where you take a deep breath, look around, and realize you were sitting among the luscious beauty of the Harvest all along – except now it’s time to be at rest, take a huge bite, close your eyes, smile, and actually savor the fruits of your labor.