It’s been sometime since I’ve connected with a Daily Prompt, so as I often do, in a mood this evening where I wanted to write but I hadn’t got a clue where to start or indeed what to write, I consulted the daily prompt expecting to ignore it as I have done so many times before. But this one, titled Exhale with the prompt: “Tell us about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong — and then, suddenly, you knew it would be alright.”

So okay a bell started to ring in my head and I quickly flicked through my archive of posts to find one I wrote back on Sunday 10th March 2013, this was one of the most painful posts I have written.  I’ve written many times about the pain of my memories of who I was, what I had become and the struggle to get away from all of that. But this post was different I didn’t recall a painful moment of a point in my life when all was dark, it recalled the pain of earlier that very day, a day when for a while it all went dark again. A day more than any, other since I met with Gareth on 19th March 2012, that I wanted to run away from it all, but not even just run away, but end it all again, a day where I was messed up and lost myself.

It went back to Friday 1st March, when in the middle of my morning walk, I sat at the edge of the very lake that I capture the majority of sunrises, that morning at shortly before 7am my phone rang, my Mum in all her broken words told me my Nan had died, that morning I froze, my world went numb, I got up, turned to walk home and broke down into tears.

That day I was supposed to be looking after my daughter who was off school, Victoria said she would rearrange things, but I pulled it together and took Eve in town for coffee. I didn’t want to stay at home when I was such a mess, I had the day off work anyway, so as Church was preparing to host a leadership conference the next day, we headed there to help out in any way possible, I just had to keep going. Some people there had seen my sad news on Twitter, others didn’t have a clue until they found out days later, regardless I did my best to stay busy, do what ever I was asked, but in my quiet times alone I would break down into silent tears.

The next day I stayed busy and focused until lunch, when I found myself alone and curled up in a ball in the AV booth, crying again. That time James came from somewhere and sat with me for a while, to this day I don’t know if he just found me there or was called by someone else, but he had the desired effect, he got me back on my feet and I carried on.

The next few days were hard, I had so much guilt about my Nan, my Mum had been asking me to go see her for years, I hadn’t, I always had an excuse, too busy, most of the time too busy doing nothing, hiding from the world behind curtains and drowning in a bottle, this made my angry, but with no one other than myself. That week I started to have panic attacks, up until that point in my life I hadn’t had anything like that, but they started to build in strength until one nearly took me off my feet on Saturday 9th March, I really was struggling to breathe, it felt like my chest was going to explode.

So the next morning I got up, a little late, tired and worn, not in a good place at all, then I walked to the lake. It was freezing, but usually that didn’t matter, I would sit there any weather and just enjoy the peace I found there, but this morning, I just couldn’t find that peace, this morning the darkness rose again and subdued me, I really wasn’t in a good place at all, I fell back into my own mind and it was ugly, very ugly.

As I sat there down at the water’s edge, I began to sink back into feelings I hadn’t had since Mothers Day last year, on that day I had stood facing the mirror, penknife at my wrist convincing myself I was useless, I was a waste and my family, my own kids would be better off without me, I was desperate, but I couldn’t do it, I tried, I wanted to, but I just couldn’t move that knife any closer and just one thought changed everything, “it was better that me kids live with what I was, than the memory of what they were going to come home to find”.

That morning my hatred for myself began to rise again and I felt alone. Then I had another desperate thought, just stand up, take whatever I had in my pockets, namely my phone and my iPod, the two things I never went anywhere without, then just walk, not onwards along the track, but out into the middle of the lake. At that point I was actually convinced that if I had just walked out there, then no one would miss me, for the first time in almost a year I felt completely lost and completely alone.

I got up and walked home, I went straight into the bath, I really didn’t want anyone to see me, I just laid there a while, trying to get my head straight for Church, but it wasn’t working. I felt such a mess, I really didn’t want to see anyone, more importantly I didn’t want them to see me like this.

My feelings were such, that everyone at Everyday Champions Church had done so much to change my life, to help me along the way and put everything back together, that letting them see me in such a mess, was an insult to them and everything they had done for me, I just simply felt like I was letting them down, big time!

I managed to convince myself not to go to Church, I was on the rota for AV, but there was no way I was I the right frame of mind for that, for the first time since I walked into Church on 1st April 2012, I didn’t want to go, not one bit.

I don’t know how, but I got myself ready for Church and set off. But every time I reached a corner, I just wanted to keep walking, I still didn’t want to go there, I still wanted to just keep walking on, I don’t know where, I wasn’t thinking that straight, I just didn’t want to go to Church, but I still found myself walking there, until I finally got to the door.

But there the tides began to change, as I reached the door I met with Paul and Jo Tilley, they knew about my Nan dying the week before, they knew I was struggling, but it was obvious that something wasn’t right, Paul asked how I was and I broke down, I told him everything that had gone on that morning, the dark thoughts and the feeling I just wanted to walk away from it all, how I felt I was letting everyone down and how low I was.

One thing I had learnt through everything over the previous year, was to be honest with my feelings, that morning it was more important than ever. Paul insisted I join his family for lunch after Church, I initially declined, it was Mothers Day and I didn’t want to intrude, but he insisted, he gave me no choice.

Over the course of that morning’s service things changed, I was excused from AV, Gareth’s service was great and to be honest everything I needed to hear. Afterwards I went back with Paul and his family, they made me feel so welcome and part of their family as well as the Church family.

By the time I had left their house and got home later that afternoon, I was different person, all the dark feelings, the self hatred and self doubt had disappeared, I was focused again and feeling positive.

Two days later we buried my Nan, although the service was hard on me, it finally brought closure and peace.

But that day, that Sunday, I had that moment, everything was going dark again, I wanted to run from the light, but the closer I got to it the stronger I got. I realised the one place I really didn’t want to be, was the one place in the world I needed to be…. Church!

Paul, Jo and their kids really showed me that day what it meant to be part of a Church family, that it didn’t matter what I carried through the doors of Church, it didn’t matter how broken or low I felt, I was part of a family now. That day everything changed in an instant.

For a few hours that morning everything began to unravel, all the hard work that both I and my friends had put in was eroding, but in just a handful of moments, with some kind words and actions, things changed, my world went from despair back to hope.

I still have the odd day when I struggle, but not many, but thankfully I don’t have days like this any more, this I hope was a one off, one that I won’t have to go through again.  I know that on this journey there will be ups and downs, but I keep moving forward, keep progressing thanks to grace of God and the support of the fantastic people at Everyday Champions Church.

I was in the process of looking for another video by Luminate to accompany this post, but I spotted this one and the lyrics fitted so much better, so I went with it.

You’re best friends with the word regret
You’re afraid that your life’s been wasted
So why hope if it’s only gonna let you down?

You don’t think people really change
You’re a mess and you’ll always be the same
And you doubt if you’ll ever get it turned around

So you’ve been running, searching for something
But you’re looking in a place you don’t belong
But it’s never too late, you can’t outrun grace
No, mercy doesn’t care what you’ve done

So come home
So come home

You can try to fix your broken empire
Put bricks on a cracked foundation
But you’ll be building castles on the sand

There’s power in the blood of Jesus
Your father’s screaming just come home
And he’s reaching out His hands

I know you been running, searching for something
But you’re looking in a place you don’t belong
Well, it’s never too late, you can’t outrun grace
No, mercy doesn’t care what you’ve done

So come home
So come home

From the shadows, from the wrong roads
From the darkness, from the unknown
To redemption, something beautiful
To a new love, to a new home

I know you been running, searching for something
But you’re looking in a place you don’t belong
And it’s never too late, you can’t outrun grace
No, mercy doesn’t care what you’ve done

So come home
So come home

2 thoughts on “Exhale

  1. Pingback: The Gremmie’s Lament | Rob's Surf Report

  2. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Exhale | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss

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