Day 1,564,872 of The Deployment Chronicles:
I have finally hit “the wall.”
If you know me well, you know that I am most certainly not a crier. It is not really my thing. I just never picked up the habit. Being a military spouse is a tough gig, and I know many women shed tears often. Tears are offered up during moving season, when saying good bye, at homecomings, and in moments of isolation. I have managed to brave them all without a drop.
Somehow, in my own head, I have (wrongly) decided that entertaining emotions and tears was a form of showing weakness. I say all of that to say that if I am crying, something has gone terribly wrong.
Well, this Sunday, the flood gates tore open and I couldn’t fight it. I dragged myself to church, knowing that I needed to be in worship-despite the stress and frustrations of this season.
Have you ever felt the sensation of your emotions rising up, to the extent that they were lurking right below the surface of your skin? I could feel the sensitivity in my bones.
Since this deployment, I had shoved all of my stress, fears, and heartache in to a back-corridor closet in my mind so that I could soldier on. I may have also thrown one or two bags of my kids’ emotional baggage in there as well. As I walked into the sanctuary, I knew that one word or one look would break the door right of the hinges and all of my mess would come spilling out onto the floor.
I sat down in my usual spot and began to emotionally prepare myself to talk to people. I had mentally rehearsed the response to “How are you?” and “How are the kids?” I had automatic answers for the well-meaning person asking “Do you need anything?” I was ready, or so I thought. This wonderful lady that shares our seat row smiled at me and said “How are you holding up.” I tried to answer. I fumbled over the phrase. “I’m fine.” Suddenly, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. My face was flush and my nose began to turn pink. I grasped for any excuse. “I’m just tired.” I said. “It really hasn’t been that bad.” But I know that my unstoppable squalling (in public!) told a different story.
I quietly cried for the entire service.
I used up a whole box of the complementary tissues hidden under the seats. I couldn’t get my face to quit leaking! It was hilariously awful. The truth is that I miss my best friend. I want to call him every time one of the kids says something funny or when I get good news. Nights are the worst. I’m also deathly homesick and longing for our family in Biloxi. I’m tired of carrying the weight of all of it, not to mention my sweet preteen daughter has lost her mind and the other three kiddos seem to have staff meetings in the morning to schedule their meltdown in tandem.
I have arrived at the conclusion that I may need a good cry every once in a while. Albeit, I would rather not have my cry fest in public place again. Perhaps I will put in on the schedule… Maybe that is a little controlling. I’m doing my best to learn this balance of rest and work. I am learning that I have to carry these things to God and to quit trying to catch and hold everything on my own.
Here’s the truth. God is waiting for me to bring these things to Him, to rest in His peace, and to allow His people to walk alongside me. I don’t have to carry all of this alone and neither do you. I'm going to commit to being vulnerable and honest with the people who truly want to know what's happening instead of pushing through these feelings alone. Maybe we could do that together.