Monday, May 10, 2010

The Elephant in the Room - reflections from Hannah

[Weather: The rain has begun to fall several times a week in small amounts. The weather today is 91 degrees F, with a humidity of 89%.]I have an elephant. I carry it with me everywhere I go. The weight of my elephant is immense, it’s almost unbearable at times, and yet I can’t put it down. It’s huge and it’s amazing to me how it can go everywhere I go. But what is even more stunning is how nobody seems to notice it. Every day, I go to school and I expect someone to comment on it, to talk about it or ask me about it. When the weight gets heavy, I wait for someone to notice the pain this elephant is inflicting, but they usually don’t. They avoid the topic, when all I want to do is talk about it. I don’t want their sympathy, because the thing is, I don’t need sympathy. It won’t help me. All I want is for someone to acknowledge my burden, to talk to me as an equal, not as someone who is so crippled by this weight and pain that I need what sympathy they can offer. I don’t want their sympathy- though there is a time and place for it- but I also don’t want them to avoid the issue entirely. People walk by it every day, avoiding it or maybe so consumed with their own issues and lives that they fail to notice it. Maybe they have forgotten that it’s even in the room. I don’t want my elephant to be all people think about. I just don’t want it to be ignored.

Grief is crippling. Not entirely in the physical sense, but very much in the emotional and psychological sense. The elephant is just as much that of the mind as that of the body. It is the burden of everyone, and everyone has their own elephants; be they tremendously big or very small, our elephants are key parts of our lives. They shape us and help us grow, and if the weight of the elephant doesn’t kill those on whom it inflicts pain, it certainly makes them stronger.

My elephant has become a part of my life. I don’t think that I’ll ever get rid of it. It will always be present in my life, no matter how old I get, or where I live, or who I marry. But after time, it will get smaller. The weight will decrease and become less crushing. It will help shape me and will integrate itself into my lifestyle. It will become my pet instead of my burden. But until then, I must press on. The weight feels unbearable right now, but in time, it will lessen. Day by day, the weight will slowly decrease. In the meantime I will focus on the goal- that is God and all He has to offer. He sometimes feels distant, sometimes His voice isn’t as loud, but I can’t wait to see what His plans are for me, and how He will use this elephant to make me into a child of God and a servant of others.

A brief ‘us’ update. School continues to be a challenge, as all high schools are, but now with an added burden. Each day is hard to face and each night I fall in to bed completely exhausted. Depression is present, and though its strength comes and goes, it is always there. I’m having some anxiety when it comes to school and when I think about the work I have to do. My mom has been amazing, though she would never say so. I admire her strength and her abilities more than ever, as she takes up the challenges of each day with grace and a certain strength that blows my mind. There are people supporting her who I deeply appreciate- they have given her great peace of mind and have helped her work through many a problem, such as lack of sleep, how to deal with the stress that Noah and I are experiencing, and finding time to grieve in days that are so hectic. Noah is doing similar to how I am- sad, grieving, still in shock and very stressed. We’re all holding up as good as can be expected. Which is not that great, but we don’t really expect much else.