Thursday, March 31, 2016

Oops - I Hit the Easter Bunny.

Last week I mentioned that I was going to blog about getting rid of 50 things before I turn 50. I'm still working away at my list and I will write more about that soon. It's a very interesting process! But something happened on Sunday that caused me to take a rabbit trail this week and I decided to write about my experience.

This past Easter Sunday I hit a rabbit when I was on my way to the gym for a workout before heading to the church to finalize everything for our special Easter services. Some people said I hit the Easter bunny. I don't know for sure, but if you didn't get any candy, it could be my fault. Sorry.

I love to workout on Sunday mornings for two reasons:

a) The gym is EMPTY!  I have it all to myself.
b) It energizes me for the rehearsals and services that lay ahead.

It was still dark and before I could blink, the rabbit darted toward my van. I just kept going. No swerving, no ducking and no crying. Though I did gasp.

It darted back to the side of the road and then back out again. THUMP.  No more Easter bunny.

Instantly, my mind flashed back to an episode I had many years ago where I had a different encounter with a rabbit and was in such a bad state I just wanted to die.

That day, my heart was pounding because I swerved to miss the rabbit and almost hit a semi head on. The bigger problem was that I didn't care if I died. In fact, I secretly wished that I would. I was struggling with severe depression.

I remember thinking to myself, "if I don't swerve, I will hit the rabbit. But if I do swerve, my life could be over."  In a split second I had a decision to make. My life or the rabbit.

I love animals and I go into great emotional distress if I hit one on the road so I usually swerve like crazy to miss! But when I realized that I actually didn't care if the semi hit me and ended my life, I knew that the depression had plunged to an alarming depth. I had become so hopeless that death seemed like the only relief in sight.

Then, logic kicked in and I swerved to miss the bunny AND the truck.

Though I certainly don't relish killing the rabbit this past Sunday, I want to celebrate an obvious sign of progress in my life.  I chose my safety and life over the bunny's this time. I love my life now. I feel so different on the inside, it's as if I'm a different person. It didn't happen overnight, but I appreciate all that I've learned in the process.

Are there days when I still get down? Absolutely! But it's very different than depression. Because of that alarming experience years ago, (and other similar experiences) I paid attention to the warning signs.  I began taking some serious steps to get help and I'm so glad I did.

Here are some tips I learned along the way:

1) Listen to your family.

If they keep telling you that you need help, they are probably right. They know you and love you. Don't write them off.

2) Go get help. Professional help.

Call a friend (if you have to) and ask them to go with you to see a counselor.

3) Pay attention to the advice of the counselor.

Counseling only does good if you listen and apply their recommendations. And give it time!

4) Pray a lot!

Even when you feel like no one is listening. Keep praying, seeking and asking. God is working in ways you can't even imagine and He is working for your good.  It might take a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it.

I remember wishing I could just take a pill and feel better, or better yet, have God zap me and instantly be better.  There are times when He does a miracle and I've experienced some of those times, but for the most part, it seems like we have to walk the hard road and dig deep. But we can come out of the pit with new awareness and tools that help us start walking in healing and wholeness.
It's a lot like training the physical body. You have to keep working at it. You can't expect significant changes overnight.

Yep - I hit the Easter bunny. And though I mourn his loss, I celebrate my own life and healing. On Sunday I sang a solo with the choir :

"It's still the cross
 it's still the blood of Calvary that cleanses sin 
and sets the captive free"

by Mike Harland, Luke Garrett, Buddy Mullins, and Niles Borop

....and I sang it from the bottom of my heart.

He still sets the captives free and I'm one of those that has lived to tell it.