She stood at the stove making dinner and I wanted to wrap my arms around her waist, kiss her neck and tell her I love her. But anger got the better of me so the last words I spoke to my wife were angry.
On the drive to the airport I felt the anger in my chest, bubbling up through my neck and into my locked jaw. I had reason to be annoyed, to disagree maybe, but not to be angry – not like this.
I don’t get angry often. What’s my problem? Gosh, it hasn’t been since…
On stage at the Together For Adoption conference I got nervous. I got nervous ever time I introduced another speaker, every time I sang. Even talking to people in the lobby in between sessions was difficult.
So many fleeting – thankfully fleeting! – moments of anxiety, like every nerve in my body was busily buzzing, like my body was clenched and wouldn’t relax.
I don’t get nervous. I haven’t been anxious since…
Then on from Atlanta to Nashville for a quick few hours of sleep. Then on a plane bound for Denver.
Lots of caffeine later…I sat in the green room back stage at WaterStone Community Church in Littleton, Colorado in silence. Usually, I hang out with people before a concert. I wanted to Sunday night, but I was empty.
Just before going on stage I felt it wrap around me. Depression, like syrup poured into the gears of my brain. I felt once again like I had a toddler strapped to each leg. I had to force my eyebrows up and down, will my hands to move when I spoke, bend my face into a smile – I pretended to be human.
But I’m not a good actor. Jokes were so dry they were unrecognizable at times. I stumbled over words and over the edge of the rug beneath my feet every time I walked to and from the piano.
It was mild. Thank God it was mild. I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t faithless. I didn’t feel abandoned by God. Just so slow.
I was the perfect place for my brain to break. The people at Waterstone Community Church are some of the most joyful and most encouraging that I’ve met on the road. This church of about 800 sponsors 508 kids. (Well, now they sponsor 520!) And their compassion isn’t limited to children living in poverty. I received it too.
Though I never said from stage what was going on in my brain (I was naive enough at the time to think I was faking it pretty well) they sensed it. The pastor, Andy, asked if they could pray with me. With his hand on my shoulder and every head in the audience bowed, he asked God for strength. And God answered. The next morning there was no slowness, no anxiety and only anger at myself.
Because I know better. I know better than to go on so little sleep for so many days, to put so much junk into my body, to ignore anger and anxiety that have no cause – the first signs of depression for me. I’ll do better. But I need your help.
I’m home for most of today and then I’ll board another plane this evening bound for Pennsylvania. I’m still struggling a bit for words. This post has taken me forever to write. Pray me there and back? Pray the words out of my mouth and into hearts that are fertile soil? Pray for my wife and kids who miss me right now? Pray for rest when I return?
After Pennsylvania I have two weeks off. Two weeks of making better choices, dating my wife, playing with my kids and working from home. I can’t wait.
What can we pray for you?