My husband doesn’t know this yet, but I picked up our favorite food for dinner tonight, just in case it was our last meal together. I wanted him to have one last happy memory of me. I held it together all through dinner because I wanted it to be a nice meal, just in case it was our last one. He asked me about my day and I told a lot of lies and kept a lot in my head, because I knew he had a good day and I wanted to focus on the good things, just in case it was our last conversation. When he hugged me before he left for work, I tried to hold on a second longer, just in case that would be the last time he would ever hug me. I tried to remember the way he smelled, the look in his eyes, and the smile on his face.
It has been almost a decade since I actually did something to hurt myself, but I think about it a lot. The urge to drive my car into a tree was so strong today that I had to pull my car over and talk myself down. It came out of nowhere – that little voice in my head that tells me I’m not enough and the world would be better if I wasn’t here. I know it isn’t true and I can rationalize it now, but that is the really awful part about having these thoughts. They come without warning and sometimes they are stronger and louder than the voice of reason.
After my husband left, I started panicking, so I did what most women do to calm down – I got in a nice hot bath with a bath bomb. My pets all crowded around the outside of the bathtub to guard me. I thought a lot about them and how they wouldn’t understand what happened to me if I wasn’t there anymore. My cat mourned the loss of our dog when he passed. It made me sad to think about him wandering around our house looking for me. I thought about our new dog that we rescued – how she wouldn’t understand that the nice lady who brought her out of an abusive home and gave her a nice house and lots of love wouldn’t be coming home to give her treats anymore. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving these guys tonight.
I dragged my butt out of the tub and got dressed for church. It’s Ash Wednesday and I always enjoyed going to this sermon, so I thought maybe that would help me. We have a new pastor. His sermons are short and to the point, but he has a way of speaking that makes you think about what he said hours after you leave the parking lot to go about your day. He said something tonight that stuck with me. He said that he hopes those of us that are coming into Lent and seeing a deserted place, a wilderness, that we would find the beauty in this life and build our relationship with God.
I thought a lot about that. Right now, my mind is a wilderness. My mind is being tempted to do something terrible to me. I’m stuck in there, alone with my thoughts, and it isn’t a good place to be right now. Just like the wilderness probably wasn’t the best place for Jesus to be. But because of the trials He faced, he saw the glory of God.
This sounds insane. This might even sound insensitive. This might offend people. But for Lent, I’m giving up on giving up. I’m done trying to stop myself from dying when I should be working on living the best life I can. So the next time my brain tries to make my day hell, I’m going to do everything in my power to make it the best day I can. I’m going to go out of my way to help other people. I’m going to try replacing my negative thoughts with more positive ones. I want to get out of this wilderness and find beauty in this life.
Wish me luck.