When the storm breaks, it brings relief. It has been building all day, a heavy drapery of air, something you can’t shrug off your shoulders. Heavy in the lungs.
And then, I drive with Isaac to pick some things up at the garden. We drive the chariot and race the storm, but the sky cracks open as we’re driving and within minutes we are soaked to the skin, water running down our faces, my wool hat sodden and floppy. I give him a plastic bag to put on top of his head and pull my hat down tighter, and we drive slowly, encouraging ourselves. Nearly there, nearly there. And we laugh, because the storm has cut through the pressure like a knife.
I love storms in real life. Back at home Isaac gets into the bucket that we call “the bath” and I take a shower. We get warm and dry. We drink some tea.
I don’t love storms in the world of the mind. I didn’t want to end up in the weeds again, ever again. I didn’t want to end up on the curb; a spot on someone’s shoe. I thought I was healed. I should have known better. This storm doesn’t bring relief. It brings self hatred, a swollen face from crying, a flock of angry impulses banging against my rib cage. I was so sure I was healed, that this wouldn’t happen anymore.
People who know me say healing is a process, that I am improving, that they see change. But I want healing like a lightning strike, a cleaving from one life to the next. I’m tired of fighting my brain. I had hoped that I was different now. Changed forever. I want a chrysalis, I want new life after the fire. I didn’t want to be in the weeds, ever again. I want more than God is giving me, and I’m angry.
It’s heavy in the lungs.
Back to square one, I think, back to the beginning. I have been watching the news too much. (Sorrow, sorrow. Wild winds. Mental illness, they say, and I feel plastered with someone else’s crimes. I have a mental illness. What am I capable of? What is anyone capable of? Triggers everywhere.) I haven’t been careful of eating, my blood sugar is all over the place. Maybe this set me off, maybe that. I’m too needy, I was following a line of stress, dropped like bread crumbs, not careful enough about trails I shouldn’t go down. I didn’t get enough sleep, waking in the wee hours with constriction in my lungs.
Equilibrium. How I want it.
A scented candle. Chopin’s Nocturnes. My clumsy handwritten notes to myself. A hug from Isaac.
Coffee in the morning. Bricks outside my window. A flash of green. Vegetable broth. Sourdough starter.
Does He want me to be this way? Does He want me to be here, in the weeds? If He does, and I am his servant, monk and mystic, utterly devoted, how can I beat at Him with my tiny fists? Can I make a world here? Did He make me this way? Why?
Knitting. A round stone. A perfect word at the right moment. The tiny freckles on my daughter’s face.
I’m sick. I’m sorry, I can’t make it today.
A feather. A tree that is a friend. A good pen.
Is He in the weeds? Can I find Him here? It doesn’t seem like a great place to hang out, to be perfectly honest. I can think of better.
Don’t leave me here.
A glass of water. A poem. Frankincense. A little dog who loves me. Kai offering to lend me his favorite book. Journals and all their possibilities. Maybe some sun, maybe a rainbow. Maybe a day that will be soft on my face. Peppermint soap. A morning of writing.
Gathering again. Back in a place I didn’t want to be. I will wait for healing. I can wait a little longer.