climbing out of the pit

April 11, 2013

I’m crawling out of a pit of self-pity this morning. I dug my own way in the last days, telling myself all the things that are wrong, that are hard, that are missing. Telling myself it won’t change, it won’t work out, I don’t deserve it to.

And I don’t know quite when I decided to pick up the spade and toss that first clump of mud aside, but the hole got deeper quicker than I ever expected it to and before long I was realising that I didn’t really want to be down there, but the sides had got too steep, the mud too sticky, the patch of sky above me just a small disk of blue seemingly very far away.

Yesterday was my birthday.

Is there any other day on the calendar that brings the same fear bubbling to the surface? Because here is another number added to the tally, and I’m marking all the ways in which I’m not what I wanted to be when I made it here. I’m looking around and seeing the lack, instead of the abundance.

I’m seeing my struggle with work. I’m missing the friends who are far away. I’m congratulating my mama-friend on her new baby born on my birthday and feeling the emptiness of my own arms. I’m looking at facebook comments pouring in and instead of seeing blessing, I grumble that half of them haven’t been in touch in years anyway.

Sometimes, you dig yourself so deep, you can only see walls of mud.

Today, I’m crawling my way out again. Self-pity is the ugliest of vices and I don’t want to dwell here. There’s so much to be thankful for if I have eyes to see.

I’m pulling out all my best tactics this morning. I’m calling friends to hang out. I’m planning to go to that contemplative prayer evening later today. I’m playing songs over and over that call me out, call me upwards. I’m writing. I’m apologising. I’m reading through all those dozens of facebook messages and remembering each face, remembering how blessed I have been by the people in my life. I’m looking back at the last year and choosing to see the abundance that was mine, rather than the loss.

And I’m whispering softly to myself the words of the poet who came before me, whose life surely gave him reason to self-pity, and who nonetheless chose to say, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.”

Self-pity doesn’t work. And it’s a lonely pit to sit in. So this morning I’m climbing out towards the light, reaching upwards and out of this hole I’ve dug, emerging blinking into the day again.


Imperfect Prose on thursdaysI’m linking up with Emily Wierenga’s blog this morning, her weekly “Imperfect Prose” where she invites us to blog about redemption.

Photo source: Pinterest

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  • Happy Birthday, Fiona. Our birthdays are only days apart. As I was reading this, I thought over and over of Psalm 40. It’s my favorite. May God bless and just SHOWER you with blessings and keep.

    • fionalynne

      Brandee, thank you for reminding me of that Psalm. It is a beautiful one and a helpful one this week. x

  • Oh Fiona, I just want to send you hugs, strength, support. I know very well what you are talking about, because I know how easy it is to spiral down if for one second you dare listen and wallow and feed the negativity. Like a dark hole attracts matter, it sucks you and sinks you right in. That is why I can’t allow those thoughts. And of course they come. Sometimes all you need is a good cry. Maybe have a bad day. It’s fine. Just make sure you don’t stay there. Just make sure you get out of there after you’ve let those feelings out.

    My birthday last year was kind of awful, I really did not feel like celebrating. I turned 32 and it felt like I was doomed because I was always taught that you *should* have had your first child by that age, or else it becomes harder to conceive. (I guess that’s just a lie, or rather, a statistic, which does not say anything in our particular situation, because we started trying when I was 30, and it was (is) still hard.) But at the time it felt like, “I reached 32. It means it will never happen”.

    I have 4 candles lit by the windowsill and one of them is for you. I really wish all the things you want soon come to you. Let’s trust and hope together… regardless of the path that lies in front of us, we can walk together and get there.

    Fiona you are such an inspiration, and you can’t imagine how much your words have meant for me (and I am sure, for many others) in difficult moments.

    Take care. (And go get some ice-cream. Or cake. Or both!)

    • fionalynne

      “Like a dark hole attracts matter”… oh it made me smile that you turned to science to illustrate your point! Thank you for your encouragement. It is a dangerous spiral to get into but how attractive it can feel sometimes.
      I think getting rid of those “shoulds” in our life has to be one of the keys to our being happier with the passing years. Less should, and more embracing life for what it is.
      Thankful for you, friend.

  • Happy (belated) birthday! I’ve been having similar feelings lately, mostly because of the absolutely terrible socio-economic-politic situation around here. Every day we hear bad news. Every day someone tells us that we’re going to have to flee the country and go elsewhere, where we have more opportunities. It’s terrifying.
    It was also a dear friend of mine’s birthday yesterday. She’s been having some troubles of her own lately as well, but like we told her, that shouldn’t stop you from celebrating. Even in the midst of problems, life is mostly good.

    • fionalynne

      I can only imagine how hard it must be to stay positive when the society you live in is suffering so much. I feel for you all. You’re always welcome to flee to Luxembourg! But yes, even in the midst of all that, there is so much worth celebrating.

  • Birthdays can be hard (I had a difficult one myself recently), because they are a kind of stock-taking time, and that can lead to self-reflection both good and bad, and yet we are expected to be totally ‘up’ about such things. I am glad you are feeling the will to climb upwards, but hope you don’t beat yourself up too much about falling down once in a while. You are only human, and as you so eloquently put it, there are lessons in the falling too.

    In any case, belated birthday wishes! May the coming year bring you much love and laughter.

    • fionalynne

      Thank you, Sadie. I appreciate your encouragement.

  • Happy (belated) birthday, Fiona. Thank you for writing this, I resonated with it so deeply.

  • Oh the spiral of self pity and sadness. It’s never a good place to be but it sounds like you have some great mechanisms for pulling yourself out. People who make you happy are always good to have around at those time, as well as some quiet moments with things that make me happy (a fancy coffee, or a good cup of tea, a great book or tv show).

  • Lara

    I was staring at the blank comment space for 15min having no clue what to say.. starting a phrase and deleting it right after, trying to figure out something not very lame to comfort you with..Life just sucks sometimes..
    i wish you courage and patience.. You are young, when I was your age now I wasn’t even married yet, and stumbling in a job I didn’t want to get up in the morning to go to.. I’m still struggling till now on other levels but hope and love keeps me going on
    you have a wonderful husband, loyal friends everywhere (even if they’re not often in touch, most of the times the frequency of the contact does not reflect how much a person thinks of you, i.e every time I bite in a tasty cookie or a yummy cake I think of you, baking always reminds me of you!) and all the time in the world to work on and get what your heart aches for.. (btw my mother in law had a child every 7 years πŸ˜› and she got married very young, 3 of my friends had miscarriages before their first child.. there are no rules)
    and there’s a secret.. when your fist child will be old enough to start to be independent and you realize he’s more interested in his/her friends than in his/her parents, you’ll be thankful for the man you have married and with whom you are deeply in love because he’s the one who’ll be staying and holding your hand the longest πŸ™‚
    Lots of love to you.


    • fionalynne

      Sweet Lara, thank you for being here and your encouragement. I miss you and your dear family. You certainly found a man worth holding on to! Hope and Love are things worth clinging to, and they keep me going too. Much love to you x

  • I’ve been feeling the blues lately too, maybe also brought on by my upcoming birthday and career and expat thoughts similar to yours. Of course the grey, grey weather isn’t helping! Anyway, to beat it, I’ve started having doughnuts for breakfast. Healthy ones… I made a huge batch on the weekend and will do so again this weekend. And, well, I think, things can’t be that bad – I had a doughnut for breakfast, after all!

    • fionalynne

      Gosh I love this so much! Food is so central to our lives and what better way to start the day than with a food certain to make you happy. But “healthy ones”? I’m sceptical. Maybe you can send me the recipe? x

      • fionalynne

        Just found the recipe on your website!

        • I’m making a batch right now! πŸ™‚

  • Hi Fionna,
    First of all I wish you a belated Happy Birthday. Don’t be too harsh on your self… I think self pity and procrastination are needed sometimes. If we were always happy and satisfied with the lives we have, would we question ourselves, would we put things in perspective? From my point of view, what is important is that those times do not last too long and that they don’t hurt and left you bad… You are a fantastic person, all of you shine through your blog. I wish you a wonderful weekend and may be the sun will be out to call you louder!
    Take Care

  • i agree, self-pity is a hole. a dark one.
    thank you for sharing so openly about your struggle here. your honesty is like holding a hand out to others, all of us, i think – who know the mudslide.
    beautiful post of simple faith and scales falling off the eyes.

  • i agree with kelli, fiona. your honesty is such a blessing to all of us, because we’ve all been there. may you know how our father delights in you, friend. happy birthday!

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