Disclaimer: I had the hardest time figuring out what I wanted to share this week. It’s not that I didn’t have any ideas, it’s that I couldn’t pick one… I didn’t have any overwhelming inspiration or focus on one topic over another. With less than one hour until posting time, I’m gonna try to pull my jumbled thoughts together. Sorry if I’m unpoetically all over the place today.
| Put it to Good Use |
My mother passed away January 26, 2010. It was sudden…she was not sick…we had no warning. I started my day as normal and ended that day without her. Losing my mother was THEE worst thing that has ever happened to me. Though this post isn’t about the day my mommy died, it is inspired by her absence.
Things to know about Christina Diane Williams Rouson…
- She loved to cook and feed people. If you left her house hungry, that was your fault.
- She was the hostess with the mostest. Almost every major holiday was celebrated in the Rouson home.
- She could decorate a house for Christmas…. And please know there was decór everywhere including but not limited to the bathrooms!
- She had a way of making all who crossed her threshold feel like family, like they were one of us…like they belonged.
My mom was that chick, yo! 😍
Since she has passed, the holidays haven’t been quite the same. There aren’t big dinners with our cousins from near and far. There is no “home” that has halls decked with holly. The smell of her famous mac IN cheese isn’t overtaking you at the front door. Everything is different. Pop has since remarried and each of my siblings are married with kids of their own. And then there is me — unmarried with no children, searching for another single (non cupcaking) peer that won’t be busy with their family. If not that, I am tagging along with family feeling as if I’m 5th wheeling it. In years past, I’d spend the holidays with my ex’s family, but last holiday was the first as a single woman. I had IHOP for dinner and watched TV with my friend, Kiara. Funny how the absence of my mom sometimes makes me feel like I don’t belong anywhere.
My fight with depression begins around the middle of October and lasts well into February. That time span covers Thanksgiving, Christmas, the anniversary of my mother’s passing, and Valentine’s Day — all of the holidays that remind me that I am painstakingly alone. It is in that time that I revert within myself, pull down the shades, settle into darkness, and cry until I feel empty. It happens yearly like clockwork. Grief and depression drop in to pay a visit and by they time they leave, I am empty and exhausted from the fight.
The enemy is strategic, and we [believers] are sporadic.]
-Pastor Cedric Rouson
There are quite a few examples in the Bible that show us that the devil is methodical and strategic, and his principalities (workers of evil) are regimented. Ephesians 6:11 is tells us to “put on the full amour of God so that we can stand against the wiles (schemes, plans) of the enemy.” My pastor stood in church after a life changing sermon and said the quote above. Then he noted that many of us are attacked with depression most during the holidays, and he encouraged us to be strategic with our fight this year. Listening to him, I felt as if he was talking directly to me. Too many holidays (not just limited to the end of the year) have been a blur because I overlooked any fun or good in them so that I could nurse my grief. So with his words, I decided that THIS YEAR I would be strategic with my fight and my feelings. After a few days of rehearsing that thought, I got and epiphany….
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Hebrews 16:16 [English Standard Version]
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
It would be all to easy for me to repeat my normal pattern. If I am honest, I am quite comfortable with the pattern, and I was prepared to jump right into my feelings head first. Though grief is painful, it has been my best and most faithful friend in times past. (I tell of this in my blog Just Let It Go…) Furthermore, I feel as if I have very little to offer to anyone during the holidays beyond a plastered smile and a blanket, “I’m fine.” Then God showed me that I did have something to share…my thankfulness. Before I knew it, a full plan for 30 Days of Thankful came together in less than 10 minutes. Within a few hours, I had all of the elements in place, and within a week, I began this initiative. As the clock counted down to November 1st, I doubted that anyone would join me in posting for 30 Days of Thankful. My fear was for nothing. Yesterday, my phone binged and buzzed all day alerting me of all of my friends and those I’d never met who were sharing what they were grateful for!
Choosing to be happy has truly been a sacrifice for me. There have been so many moments where I wanted to roll up in the fetal position and cry a river because I miss my mom and for a litany of other reasons, but I made the choice to be happy. Even in a time where I’m usually surrounded by darkness, I am choosing to be a light. I am choosing to do good and share what I have, no matter how little or much that may be.
The purpose of 30 Days of Thankful:
- To spread joy by focusing more on what we are thankful for opposed to what we want to complain about.
- To strategically combat depression and grief. I found something positive to invest my emotions in so that my emotions won’t overtake me.
What I have discovered:
- I have found joy in helping others.
- I have found that others are helping me.
I know your story maybe different from mine. Maybe you haven’t lost a loved one and the holidays treat you just fine. Maybe there is something else that you’ve endured that has the potential to stifle you and keep you from helping others. Maybe you aren’t as whole as you think you should be and maybe you feel as if you don’t have much to offer anyone. Do it anyway! “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have.” It may not be much, but my idea to 30 Days of Thankful has sparked at least 20-30 people to start focusing on what they are grateful for. You may just have even more to offer. So today I encourage you (and me) to not be held back by the hardships but to take what should be halting you and put it to good use… Be a light!
I hope this helps.
For more information about my 30 Days of Thankful initiative, please click the flyer above or click on the “Be A Light” Tab above.