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Years ago, the phrase “even breathing feels alright” from Alexi Murdoch’s song All My Days became a familiar refrain for me as I pondered my “wanderings and wonderings.” Recently, I walked (barely crawled?) through a phase where even breathing felt brutally hard. Everything felt brutally hard.

  • Physically, I felt broken again, as I had a recurrence of a lateral spine shift, which I hadn’t experienced in over a decade. Memories of feeling utterly broken lying on the floor and barely able to function suddenly felt familiar and very real in my present experience.
  • Mentally, the ability to juggle lots of different data and pulling it together, felt impossible. It was if my mind was trudging through mud. Thoughts were jumbled, things that once came quickly slowed to a snails pace, and I was wondering if I was a little (a lot?) crazy. I was having vivid “real life” dreams that made me wonder “did that actually happen?” and I wouldn’t know until I asked someone who was in the dream if it actually happened. I even had some memory blackouts, where I just couldn’t even remember things that definitely did happen.
  • Emotionally, I felt demoralized. The only thing I looked forward to was sleep. Some nights, I could nearly face plant into my bed at 8:30. Then insomnia spit in my face, and said, “wakey, wakey, Bubba, it is times to lay awake for hours on end.” Being awake was hard. Staying asleep was hard. I didn’t help myself by doom scrolling Twitter/X and think this world is just utterly jacked up.
  • Spiritually, I know I’ve been “found,” but wondered if I ever felt more lost, unable to hold tight to promises that God “will never leave you, nor forsake you.” I think I phrased it to one friend that “I am holding on by my pinky nail.”

What did I enjoy? There were some sweet moments with my sons, but they often felt offset by the latest school issue or struggle, which would be accompanied by their latest outburst of angst and rage. Other than some of those sweet moments, I struggled to do just minor daily functions. Nothing felt life giving. I haven’t played guitar in months and have had zero desire, even selling a couple, after looking at the “bottom line.” Writing would require some cohesive thoughts and effort that seemed daunting. I don’t know if this was depression, a “dark night of the soul”, or what it was, but some nights as I began to doze off, I thought “it’s OK if you take me home, Lord…just make sure my boys are alright.”

In every way, I felt broken, and wasn’t sure I could muster up much “want” to keep going. I am in a PTO week in Florida at my parents with my boys. It was so needed. Work notifications are turned off. Doom scrolling hasn’t gotten enough momentum to create doom.

Earlier, I alluded to memories of lying on the floor, feeling broken. Specifically, I flashed back to 2012 when my back was at it’s worst and I felt nearly hopeless. This week, I found myself back on a floor again, doing some very gentle core movements to help with my pain levels. The base of the program is centered around breathing. It is the best it has felt in over two months. The pain is low enough that I don’t feel like all the energy is drained from my body. I am the most hopeful I’ve been that I am finally on the right track.

The boys have been generally great, other than the normal brotherly fighting that never escalated to world war levels. Sawyer even made a specific request that I take him to church. I have met several people from the church before, and it so happens that Mike was preaching (I first met him in Michigan and see him at church most times I am in FL now). He spoke on Psalm 13; a song of lament. Man, over the last year, I have gotten in touch with the concept of lament, even though I would have put it last on things I wanted to go through.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
    light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
    lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
    because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Psalm 13

Mike could have been talking just to me last Sunday. He was throwing darts and hitting bullseyes. I asked if I could share his notes, so here you go. Maybe you’ve felt the ache of “how long?” and wondered when relief or deliverance will come. Maybe getting up off the floor is the best you have today. I don’t know your circumstances, but as alone as I can feel in these “how long?” moments, I’m assuming there is a chance you’ve been there, too. I hope you are encouraged and that “even breathing feels alright” for you.


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