Last night I sat with 7 people who suffer from mental disorders. They were broken, questioning, and hurt. Some were hopeful, some were not. Some were just plain depressed.
This morning I got up and took a shower. I got ready to go, and felt really off. I felt hopeless. I felt gassed. I felt like the things that keep me going on a day to day basis were just missing in my life. It was almost as if I had been drained by last nights class, enough so that I had lost myself.
This morning I took some time to think through what was going on with me. I took time to think about the emotions I was feeling, and why I was feeling them. I came to the understanding that I felt in some ways like I had nothing to contribute. Like I had nothing to give. Like there was no point.
It scared me.
So I started looking back at who I actually am, and something came up that has not come up in years. I am a dandelion.
In college, I was asked by a professor to write a story about who I saw myself to be. I had to personify something that represented me, and explain why. Some people chose space ships because of their potential, but I chose a weed.
I have no affinity toward dandelions. I think they muck up my grass like everyone else. However, dandelions are resilient little things. I have tried to pull many a dandelion, and watched it regrow in a matter of weeks. I have tried to poison them only to see them brown on one side and continue to grow. I have even killed them, only to have them release hundreds of little seeds all over my yard before they died completely.
In my life, I have had the opportunity to grow quickly. That means life stunk sometimes growing up. I had to opportunity to to walk through trauma, through bipolar disorder, through family members having cancer, through friends passing, through hopeless days and nights.
I am still here.
Like the dandelion of years ago, I needed a reminder that I am not the most attractive, not the fastest, and not the best at pretty much anything. However, I keep coming back.
This morning I had lost hope because my life could not really make a difference, could it? Of course it can, and it does. Everyday, people I come in contact with are hopefully better off for having met me. My job now, with My Quiet Cave, is to bring light into dark places, and help people know that there is hope. That means my life matters dearly. My job is to help people experience freedom and hope for often the first time in years. That matters dearly too. My job is to help people experience that life and joy and love are all possible to every person. That matters dearly as well.
My life does not have meaning because of my story. My life had meaning because before there was a My Quiet Cave, and before there was my current story, classes, mentoring programs and the like, I did not give up. And you do not have to either.
Some days it feels like there is no hope. Some days it feels like tomorrow is just another day and it is not going to make a difference. But just make it through today. Maybe tomorrow is the same, make it through tomorrow. No matter the number of days or the depth of the hopelessness, you matter. I matter. And as beloved children of a God who cares immensely for us, we have the privilege, at some point, of sharing the hope that got us through with those who need it desperately. And you can make it through too. I’m not the only dandelion!