It has been a while, so I thought I’d simply catch you up on some goings on.
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world” –CS Lewis
Much of the month of May, I was busy writing an essay about my experience with depression for possible acceptance to a book at Civitas Press. Until I hear yay or nay, I cannot publish it here. But I thought perhaps I’d include a paragraph or two to tantalize you.
By Melody Harrison Hanson
“I will search for my lost ones who strayed away and I will bring them safely home again. I will bandage the injured and strengthen the weak…” (Ezekiel 34:16 – NLT)
This is the story of how I fell into the sinkhole of depression and climbed my way out again. My story began with pride and self-delusion and moved to healing and acceptance—forgiving myself for being less than I imagined. The path of brokenness took me to frightening, even diabolical places, but God found me in the pit of my depression, tenderly loving me as I accepted my raging need for him. Finally, in my forties, after a decade of turmoil, the crooked path led to hope and healing. Writing this, going back and lingering, has been harder than I expected. I offer it here because of what God has done in me.
When I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom, I was unprepared for how unhappy I became. Forever seeing my life in terms of success or failure, I believed that I was failing. What kind of a mother doesn’t love being at home with her children? Over the years we shared long, sun-burnt summer days at the pool and sweaty bike rides but, even as we meandered through the zoo and the farmer’s market, I grew increasingly restless and miserable. If I was truthful, I had been frantic and dissatisfied at work. Leaving was more like running away under the ruse of caring for the kids. For years my job had buoyed me up on the raging ocean of my insecurities and fear of failure. Going home took away that life-preserver. I had never dealt with the need every human being has for purpose and significance. I had no where left to run!
I was at that time incapable of being happy at work or at home, battling the haunting, negative tape loops in my head repeating vicious lies.
I feel unimaginably grateful for so many things today. Even if the essay doesn’t get published in the book, the exercise of going back was terrific—hard and good.
I continue to relish taking photographs for Our Lives Magazine. As I talked with a new acquaintance and took images of him, he spoke of wanting to be a bridge person between the Mormon community and LGBTQ friends. That pretty much sums up why I continue with OL. As a Christ-follower, I hope that we can know one another and treat one another with love and respect. Darren is a photographer as well and he turned my own camera on me. It reminded me of the feeling of always having a camera in your face (unpleasant) but I appreciated that he was able to capture a smile! He said “You’re much nicer than your picture on the website implies.” Thanks Darren!
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” — CS Lewis
A field trip to Old World Wisconsin, was informative and fun!
6th graders have a Middle Ages unit. Lucky for us, Grandma Hanson can sew and she was willing and so able!
My sister and I went to the Milwaukee Art Museum the other day.
Summer officially starts for us in a week. I will have one child in morning summer school, two middleschoolers in Young Shakespeare Player‘s rehearsing all summer for Romeo & Juliet which performs August 11-21. And of course we have an aging college student in the house, whose laissez-faire attitude and bouncing emotions I find irritating, and draining. But each child stretches me. Each one, uniquely challenges my wisdom, sense of humor and grit.
The pool is open and it is finally warm! I know we will spend long hours there, though I am no longer allowed to sun! Squamous cell carcinoma requires me to cover up, lather up and basically consider the sun my enemy. (Secretly, I still love the sun and being sun-kissed, hot and becoming brown and freckly. As long as my sunscreen is strong, I do risk a little.)
I am launching int o the big task of dividing perennials in my garden. (Let me know if you want anything). Not just Hosta and ferns, of which I have a plethora, but lots of other plants. I’m rethinking the front of my yard. Because of a neighboring Black Walnut tree I’m about to give in to the fact that nothing will grow happily and I will move a number of plants and put in something (I don’t know what is resistant to Black Walnut) to cover the ground. I’m also going to plant an herb garden in the sunny blank patch in front.
Gardening and Thinking about Writing.
While I dig in the dirt, I’ve been thinking about whether I’ve got a book in me. The essay was incredibly challenging, fun and a lot of work! I can see now why it sometimes takes years to write a book. I’ve boiled over for years about women in the evangelical church, and wonder… Is there a need for a book to challenge the current situation in the local church? What do women need to hear? What do men need to hear? What hasn’t been said? What needs to be said differently?
The friend that helped me edit my essay says the full story, a memoir, could/should be told, of my fall into the sinkhole of depression. Coming from being a workaholic and the brokenness of my dysfunctional childhood and how the Lord found me in the pit of depression and for the first time I experienced grace and peace, hope. Perhaps there is a book there? I have found, as I tell my story, that many people suffer from depression and feel isolated and alone.
Some images of spring in Wisconsin.
“I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all women, most richly blessed.” (author unknown)
I don’t know about you but I am reveling in my blessings. And because I have to work at it it is sweeter. I am so grateful.