On the scale of my emotional tide, my mood ranges anywhere between 6 feet underground to hovering just below cloud nine. My husband's emotional tide has a smaller range. He fluctuates between firmly planted on the ground to half a centimeter above or below. This difference used to be the thing that frustrated me most in our relationship. Now I cleave to his sturdiness.
When Ryan and I were dating we would argue every so often. I can remember going into my parents' bedroom late at night after these fights in a flurry of emotion complaining that he doesn't care, he doesn't show passion about this or that, ug, ug, ug. And, with compassion, and probably some sense of relief, my parents' reply would echo, "he is a good balance for you." And I'd leave their room uging that they hadn't jumped on the sinking ship with me. Of course I was over the whole thing by breakfast because that how my moody self rolls.
One of the most gigantic blessings in my life to date, besides turning 32, is the balance that Ryan brings to my heart. His groundedness has taught me that unbridled passion is futile and misleading but that yoked passion directs your life.
I had a bad few days recently that put me in a disheartening funk. I felt the tide of the funk growing in me for a few days but it all came to a head on Saturday morning. I woke up mad. At everything. I didn't want to be mad, but I also didn't want to NOT be mad. I didn't want to take it out on Ryan, but I did. I didn't want that feeling of isolation to invade and gain sudden control over every thought, but it did. And I certainly didn't want to deal with the underlying cause of the frump because I wanted to settle, even just for a little bit, into my selfishness and insecurity. I believe we have an enemy who prowls and preys on our weaknesses and once I had given mine leeway, the enemy jumped on it and told me lies about who I am. I felt defeated and lost. I felt hopeless and grumpy.
So I left. I didn't go far, just outside to our porch swing and I took with me a book I could get lost in. I left my husband inside with a house full of hungry, tired kids which, in our home, is taboo. Never leave a comrade to tackle the dailies by him or her self on a Saturday. Saturdays are for corporate parenting. Our porch swing sits just outside an entire wall of windows and can be seen directly from all the living spaces in the house. Me sitting there in his plain sight was the fatal wound of whatever was left of our already volatile relationship and I knew it when I sat down. And that is the wicked consequence of selfishness.
After three hours of isolation and tears and reading I was through. So I got up from the porch swing and went into my bedroom. Moving from isolation to isolation. Not a profound act, I know, but sometimes in order to get out of a funk you just have to move and, in this case, a lateral move was enough to begin to synchronize my thoughts and my heart with what I know to be true of life and love.
In those moments of empty longing, I journaled. I took out my journal and I wrote down the thoughts of my fragmented heart as if writing to a friend who was sitting beside me.
And then I stood up with resolve, feeling heard and partially comforted.
Eventually that night I apologized to Ryan for my stink and questioned if that day had changed his love for me. He accepted my apology and then iced the forgiveness cake by adding, "it is impossible not to love you". And I realized that at the core of my funk was a searching me, looking to be loved just as I am. Sad, useless, or otherwise I wanted a hug and a locking-of-eyes moment where it didn't matter what I am because who I am was enough.
One of my favorite church songs right now says,
"Take me as you find me, all my fears and failures. Come fill my life again. I give my life to follow, everything I believe in. Now I surrender." The next day was Sunday and we sang this song at church. Its words resounded in my heart, reminding me that I have already found the full measure of love that I crave.
Dear Me, surrender today to the One who knows the deepest places of your soul, however much laden with funk and grime. Because He loves you right there.