HOW arvelous it is to lose yourself in a book. To open up the pages and dive into another world, one that steals you away from your troubles, your fretting, your moments of whirling thoughts; even if it’s just for a little while.
To escape is to breathe for a bit. And I love to find that escape in the pages of a book. And then after the book is finished and sitting next to you because you can’t bear to put it back on the shelf again yet, you find it nearly impossible to pick another. Because for me, I almost always find it too difficult to move on from the world I just closed…often times, I need to say my goodbyes before opening a new story.
I finished a book today that’s been on my shelf for nearly two years now, called “Hold Still” by Nina LaCour. It’s about the friendship between two girls, Caitlin and Ingrid…and how Caitlin is picking up the pieces of her life after Ingrid commits suicide right at the end of sophomore year of high school. One day, Caitlin finds that Ingrid had slid her journal underneath Caitlin’s bed before she took her life…and so a journey of healing begins for Caitlin, all during the time that she’s holding onto this last piece of Ingrid that she has left.
This story reached out and grabbed something in me, something I’d pushed aside, and ignored for so long, and I only want to talk about it now because I’m realizing more and more that most of us have felt desperately alone and hopeless at one point or another. But so often, the problem is that we don’t talk about it. Like me. For years, throughout middle school and high school.
I still remember the very first moment I thought to myself, “Is this what depression feels like?”, as I was walking out of the lunch room in the 7th grade. Through the following years, through the making and breaking of friendships, I was a very broken young girl…and I know with all my heart and soul that if not for my great love for my family, and the Lord’s hand being on me always, I would not be here today.
I was always hurting…oftentimes, I didn’t even know what the reason was behind it. Mostly, it all stemmed from a betrayal from my closest friends in freshman year…I had given my complete trust to these girls, and we were thick as thieves. Then one day, we weren’t; I’m sure I’ll never understand teenage girls. And unfortunately, the friendship(s) didn’t end cleanly; It was a mess. And it broke me down to the point that feels like the worst possible place to be when you’re a 15 year old girl.
And it was a very long, rough road getting out of that place. And I never used to believe the phrase “Time heals all wounds”… I still don’t know that I fully believe it. But I do know for a fact that time lessens the pain, and gradually makes it easier to breathe again.
I remember quite vividly how I felt during those years. And so badly, I wish I could now go back in time, give myself a hug, and say…”Hey. It’s going to be okay. I promise. Time passes quicker than you can possibly realize, and before you know it, this will all be a memory. Just keep holding on.”
I guess that’s why I’m posting this now. You see, I never talked about what I now know to have been depression. I still don’t talk about it; Even though there are moments when that time comes up when I’m down, it is in the past. The Lord brought me through that time, and though my journey is far from over, I feel that that awful chapter is finally closed.
But I want YOU to know, that if that girl is you…if you’re hurting and aching and you feel like you just want peace and rest; if you feel as if you don’t have a friend in the world, and the light at the end of the tunnel will never reach you…my dear, you are not alone.
You are loved by the one true God. And even in your greatest darkness, He does not abandon you. And some day you’ll look back and see it clearly…just like I do now.
And how fitting that as I’m finishing this post, Matt Redman’s “Never Once” comes on Pandora.
“Scars and struggles on the way, but with joy our hearts can say, never once did we ever walk alone, never once did you leave us on our own.”
…I’ve never heard this song before. Chills.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for reaching down and reminding us of your never ending faithfulness.
Stay strong, my chickadees, no matter what battle it is that you’re walking through right now.