I hadn’t realized there was a crack in my armor until I felt the familiar sting. The words “other women” pierced through the weakened metal and through my chest. I felt the pulse of devastation radiate upward toward my throat and down into the clenching muscles of my stomach. Red hot, it spread like a brush fire until my eyes burned with tears. He was a liar, he was a womanizer and I was not as brave or as indestructible as I had believed myself to be. I am also a liar. I am also hoarding secrets. His indiscretions barrel through my core like an angry locomotive, and in its dusty wake, my own guilt is wiped clean.
The size of the world will grow and shrink according to the eyes that view it. Day after day the weight of the world bears down onto your shoulders, and just holding it up takes everything you’re made of. A good night’s rest does little to revive you. Your spirit begins to crack and you begin to wonder exactly what, if anything, you’re made of. You feel like the sand along the shoreline, beaten endlessly by a careless and brutal ocean. On the worst days the world is closing in, the air is thick and suffocation feels inevitable. You wait for the heaviness to steal your last breath, you exhale, your lungs deflate, and you wait. How many times did you pray for a miracle? Inhale. There it is, your miracle. The chance to breathe another breath, the chance to keep going, is your miracle. While you’re spending your energy angry at a God who would allow you to keep going in spite of your suffering, this miracle is denied to many who desperately beg for it.
Though the world may feel closed in on you, the good news is you aren’t alone in it. How self-absorbed we become in thinking our suffering is so great. We hurt, we cry, we struggle but we get to keep going. And despite the turmoil, the weight of the world doesn’t crush you. The pieces of you that feel broken are in reality, only momentarily dark. That light that once was bright has lost its power, but it remains in place, waiting.
One day the world will open wide again. The air will become thin and fragrant and the birds will once again sing a glorious morning song into your ears. One day the light inside you will be fed again and its warmth will radiate from your eyes. One day the sound of your breathing will be a soothing lullaby as you drift warmly into peaceful slumber. Music will be for you, sunshine will warm your face, your stride will be a dance, and your smile will return. One day.
I told him he was handsome and he told me he wasn’t sure. I told him he was special and he shook his head. His eyes downcast, he thought about my words. I saw the way his eyes rushed around the room, moving like sparks of lightening but seeing nothing. He was deep inside his mind, with my words and his own. Inside his mind our words danced face to face. He said nothing. His eyes returned to me, seeing my face and he shrugged. In his mind the words I gave him were still roaming, in search of a place to sit. When I told him he was very smart, he gave me a list of things he had yet to learn. My words again went into the warehouse of his mind, and found no place to rest. Inside his mind, a game of musical chairs played out. Imagine there are 5 chairs in a small circle within the mind of my seven year old son. Each chair has been claimed. Then, I add a new player. My new player is an expression of positive affirmation. The new player enters the game, and has no seat. The game begins. The music starts and the others get up and circle the seats. The other players are not like the new player. The other players are doubt, fear, worry, disappointment and sadness. When the music stops, my son has to decide who gets a seat, and who does not fit. Time and time again, my words of affirmation are left without a seat, and the game is over. This is what happens in the mind of my child with ADHD. Meanwhile within my chest, my heart breaks again and again for him. They called him defiant, disruptive, unruly, stubborn, and bad and those words each found a seat within him. Ask him what he thinks of himself and those words will parade out of his mouth in a declaration of self-destruction and shame. He did not do this to himself. His mind is a wide open field of discovery, endlessly in search of something new. He is amazing. Facts and numbers enter the stream of his thoughts and return in perfect order. Questions pour out of him and answers absorb back in. He is happy when he is learning, and he is perfect. One day the game of musical chairs will begin to change. One day when the world opens up to allow him the freedom to be himself, he will let go of those hopeless words and mine will sit in their place. He is good, he is smart, he is handsome and he is loved. ADHD is a diagnosis, not a curse. ADHD is a condition not a limitation. Encourage your children, help them to replace the negativity in their minds, with the love and affirmation they truly deserve. Be the voice that speaks louder than the doubt. Be the smile that covers them. The music is playing, change the game.