So I last left you in the midst of a little pity party.

It's true; I've got the cold that never ends.  It just comes back again and again.
And, I've added daughter number two to the sick day couch, just when I shipped the first sick daughter back to school.  Because of course.    

We reached our allowable Netflix Internet usage in 3 days.

I added planning my church annual Christmas Concert production to my To Do List.
Because just keep working is my mantra.  And it's not like I can afford to actually go on vacation anyplace anyway.

I sound pretty awful: literally and figuratively.  And guess what?

It got worse.


Where do you do your best thinking?
Mine's in the shower, or bathtub.   And, since I am all stuffed up and feeling lousy, I might as well go in there and have a good deep think and a decongesting.

Not sure that's a word.  Some days I do make this up as I go.

Anyway, so the hot steam is feeling pretty good and sick daughter is happy on the couch, and I am thinking about how lucky we are that at least no one will probably blow us up today with their suicide vest ...... because THAT does happen in this world ya know.

When suddenly I am aware that hot tears are mingling with the hot shower spray running down my face.    I'm not even sure why.   I mean, it's just a cold - I've had colds and sick children and busy life many times over the past 10 years.... get a grip.
But today.....

... I seem to have also broke out in a very bad case of "I can't adult today."


Recall: I just wanted A DAY.
No To Do List.   My Fire.  My book.  My pot of tea.
It all appears to much to ask and I know ... I am running on fumes.   My get and go, got up and went about 4 days ago: yet I just keep going.
Sunday School.  Sparks meeting.  Peanuts Movie with all the kids.  Remembrance Day ceremonies.  BBQ dinner with family because OMG it's so warm out and this is November and we cannot pass this up!
Certainly the sweet angelic sounds of little voices, and the laughter of good friends and family are a tonic to my ill body.   And I have stuck to my workouts because, good lawd I will sweat this cold out of my body if that's what it takes!

This is not me.
And the inevitable crash confirms it.

This is so hard to tell... I feel somewhat disconnected now from the event.   Almost embarrassed.  It's not something that has ever really happened.   It's rather like a dam just opened. The tears just kept coming and even harder.  I don't know why I am crying, and now praying in the shower.    I admit it: I do emote.  It happens.  But this... this was something else.

This wave of incredible sadness just came over me.   Like my very soul was crying out from a disturbance in the Force so great; nothing would ever be the same again.  There would be no light.  No hope.  No peace.  The world would go dark and still.   Because that is the self destruction that humanity brings.

Sounds very dramatic, doesn't it?
You should try it wet and now shivering and your knees buckling.   Like...the hell??!

I don't think I am just over-heated from too hot steam, and I don't think this is about being sick and tired and busy anymore.  How many Tylenol Cold is too many?
Honestly, I just came here to have a nice hot, relaxing shower and now I am feeling so incredibly attacked.

I thought of my friend Sandra So so brave in how she deals and writes about Mental Health issues.   How courageous in her honesty and sharing with others.  Is this what she feels?  Is this the level of pain within her?   She's my damn hero now.
Because... how?
What if what I feel, is only about 20% of what she, and others who struggle with Depression, might feel on any given day?   Shame on me: if Sandra can write, and beautifully so, through her pain, I should be able to at least take a damn shower without drowning.

I got no right.   I am supposed to be filled with Hope!!
Did I not just write about that?
I'm not struggling with anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, or even dodging bullets.

The spirit knows.
You see, most people think that an enemy will come and attack you when you are down, and your defenses are weak.  Makes sense right?
But that's not what we learned from Paris, is it?
No, that enemy came in the midst of LIFE being lived to it's fullest.   In times of celebration and Community thriving.    Like a thief it came and stole all the Joy.

I was rolling along pretty good too.   There is always Hope!
And that's why the Father of Lies dug his heels in even further and said no:  the rope end has come.

And I buckled because I wasn't expecting it.   I refuse to sink - even when sick.
But now feeling so fragile and fraud-like, I looked to the ceiling where steam became water droplets that also clung to their fragile grip.... and I could only gasp:  "God...How?!"

Not why.  HOW.

To be clear - this is not a self pep talk.   I've had those.  They can work great at times.  You pick yourself up, dust off the blues, and off you go.  Live, Laugh, Love. 
Other times I am not only confused, scared, sad....but also wet and shivering on the cold bathroom tile because That Voice.  You know the One.  That says you are Failing.  That you're not enough.  You're a mess and probably unlovable.   And then you take that poison with you when you finally regroup and wipe dry your red-rimmed eyes:  and then you go spew all that toxic mess out of you, because how can you keep that all inside and still Live?  It falls on the people you love the most.  And even if you can manage to keep it inside, you're spreading yourself so thin just to keep all that Ugly contained.  It's a dirty, threadbare blanket that offers no real warmth and doesn't quite cover the whole.  You watch as the ones you live for shrink away from you.  And then you shrink too.  A ball of mess, and doubt and unworthy. 

That's the voice that tears down.   That steals the Joy.  It.Lies.  So it can sneak in and create even more damage, while you are too busy dealing with all those lies it feeds you.  And hell no, I want the voice that Restores and Raises Up.  So I look to that water studded ceiling and as one lands on my forehead I wonder: a blessing?  A benediction?

Are you there God, it's me Leslie?

I can't even pray decently.  When I try to speak, I choke on tears and steam.    All I can say is two words:   Today? How?
  
And all I get back is one word:  Together.

Soooo, like 30% me and 70% you?


You can have 100% me today if you need it.   

A wave of guilt crashes next.   My life is not hard.  I say again, I am not dodging bullets or car bombings here.  The utter nerve in even asking...

My gift.

Wow. You know He is short on words some days, but oh my soul - they are the right ones.  Better yet, I know now where to find the exact ones I need.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  ~ John 14:27
I step out of the shower and put the Father of Lies to my heels.   There's no shivering.  No defeat.   Just simple words that were enough because they spoke Truth into my heart.  I know it is real because I emerge Different.   A change has happened.

I meet my daughter in the hallway and touch my hand to her forehead.  Feel the heat coming like a wave, and pull her close as if I could absorb some of that fever into myself.  Now that strength is renewed, I believe I can.   Love covers like a well made and soft blanket that wraps your heart close along with your body.

"Can we watch a movie mommy?"
"Yes baby."
"You mean... Together?"

My heart constricts and I have to answer around the lump in my throat; "Yes, together."
And just like that: It got so much better.


Friends, I know many of you might not have any Religion, and let me share something surprising:  I am not sure I do either.

But I know I got a Relationship.  Something bigger than myself.  And it's more than Enough.

It's the Together that holds you, lifts you, and some days carries you.  It's the voice that speaks a hard Truth so gently, that when you break it does not leave you alone and shivering; but gathers all those broken bits up and makes them something new.  When the end of the rope arrives, it's the Love Knot that won't let you fall.

Relationship is how we get through this groaning and grief stricken World.  When we feel all those cries of terror and sadness within our very souls and ask ourselves... How?

Whether you believe in God, or Allah, or Buddha, or nothing at all; the answer remains:

Together.