It has been a beautiful and a tough year of life. So many wonderful things have happened. I am preparing to marry the most wonderful man on the planet who is more patient than a saint, my sister and her husband had a handsome and healthy little boy, my medical school journey is progressing and has been encouraged by so many, my brother graduated from college with honors, my other sister got an amazing job...
And in the background of it all, my parents officially divorced after more than 30 years of marriage.
Some people don't think divorce affects kids as much when they are adults. Maybe they're right, but I can say it has been the most heartbreaking thing I have had to process so far on this life journey, even beating out the loss of my whole church community a few years ago when my dad had to publicly confess why he was being fired to the congregation he pastored, followed by the foreclosure and loss of the home I grew up in, the one I imagined I would bring my children to when we visited their grandparents.
Some people have wondered why I have been engaged for a whole year without getting married. I guess in the Christian world, that signals a red flag. What people can't see, the behind the scenes stuff, is that for someone already prone to depression, grief has a way of taking me out for quite a while. My fiance has spent many evenings holding me when I couldn't stop crying because of the way my family dynamic has changed, the way so many dreams have changed, including the desire I once had to help my parents in ministry. Now there is nothing to help. Rebuilding a life requires a lot of patience with yourself.
I started going to a professional counselor to help me dig out of the pit of hopelessness, and she is incredible, but that doesn't change the fact that healing takes a whole lot of time and doing pretty much anything, much less planning a wedding or studying for the MCAT, can feel impossible. There was a time when I had to literally make a pact with myself that I would keep living. If you've never dealt with mental illness, this probably seems dramatic, but for those who have, the compassion I have for you is so huge.
The unraveling of my family and the loss of community has caused me to realize just how much my identity has always been wrapped up in what others think of me. Now, slowly, I am working on building my sense of self, developing my own thoughts on things, instead of being a stereotypical co-dependent pastors kid whose job is to make others happy.
I hope that by the end of this 30th year of life I will be in a stronger place, that I will start to notice the beauty all around me again, and that I will start writing again with honest words. I want to live authentically without being a victim, and above all, my hope is to be a friend and warm place to all those who have felt the sting of rejection and being misunderstood.