I can pinpoint the moment it started. It was about a week ago. I was talking to a friend, and talking about something heavy that I carry around with me. And suddenly it hit me. I may NEVER be healed from this. I may never get away from this. And it took all my breath away. With deep breaths I walked away from the conversation, but I carried it around with me the rest of the day. The weight of this realization becoming heavy and heavier. Feeling so defeated I didn’t even realize a cloud came to rest upon my head, draping over my shoulders, it’s shadow hanging over me until much later. It’s lingered since.

Since that moment I have been trying really hard just to pretend it’s not there. I eat balanced meals. I exercise daily. I get dressed. I drink lots of water. I take my medicine. I say my prayers. I do all the things. I’ve always had to deal with anxiety, but this is different. This is a different sort of cloud. Anxiety is like little lightening bolts that zap and extend, with rapid rain storms that come and go. But this is different. This is constant. It makes me feel tired. It makes me feel really sad. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t know how to. Quite a few years ago I had a dark season and I know how dark, the dark can be. This isn’t it.

It’s just grey. Maybe because I’m so tired of battling things I don’t understand. My husband of course has seen the cloud resting over me. He watches as it comes and goes, and how I watch “Shark Tank” because it makes me less sad. I know because he’s told me he’s worried about me. He really loves me, but he can’t make it go away.

I talk to people, and I don’t tell them what’s going on. I don’t really see the point. Because no one can change this. I can’t change this. I’ve asked for God for years to change this.

And now I just feel defeated.

I’ve always been someone who shares my life openly. But I don’t want to share this. Not again.

Some of it is because I’ve shared this before, and people like to be experts and tell me what I need. But no one listens. I don’t even think they think I try. I don’t think they know how long I’ve been trying.

For an eternal optimist, for a solver, for a worker, this may be the hardest part.

There are layers to storms I’ve found. Some stick with us for years, most days there are always clouds in the sky, maybe they don’t hang as low as this one but they are there.

For years I longed to belong. I always felt this overwhelming feeling that I was on the outside. Of even family. Of groups of friends. I longed for connection. I hate feeling isolated. Abhor being left out. Eventually I found trusted close people I could be completely and totally myself with. It’s not a big group. Connection means something to me. But I found in the last year that some of my relationships were me extending and reaching, and bending. I stopped trying so hard in certain relationships and you know what happened? The other side never bent or reached, they didn’t even notice I was gone. Did I over think our friendship? Was I not worthy? Did I do something wrong? I grieve for the friendships I lost, and the people who didn’t even notice I was gone. I still love them. The sky began to become overcast.

And then Covid hit. It has been the best of times. And the most isolating of times. So many good things have come out of it. I won’t lie and say I have not cherished some of the lessons I’ve learned. But recently the loneliness has begun to get to me. And I just can’t reconcile how little people think of each other and science, and the call we have to protect the vulnerable. Then May happened. The social justice issues. The protests. The horrible riots. I’ve worked so hard to listen to every side of every issue. I’ve went above and beyond to research issues. I’ve been so disheartened with the lack of empathy on all sides. The sky got darker and the clouds became more dense. I’ve seen people I loved, and people my kids have cared about wish harm on my family, including children of my friends. I’ve never seen my husband so discouraged from doing the job he was meant to do. I’ve seen family write hurtful things. I’ve read the most hateful things. But I’ve also see the other side. There is real prejudice in the world, we cannot pretend that it doesn’t happen, and we have to protect each other. If we have not been on the receiving side of prejudice, we need to learn to listen and hear. The rain began, because people are hurting. On both sides. AND Oh the politics! Oh my goodness. The meanness. The ugliness. I am so over it. People do not change from being shamed. They don’t change from being yelled or outsmarted or being gas-lit on social media. NOTHING written on social media will change someone else’s mind. And the news has lost sight of news, it’s just click bait. And we, the fish, bite, without knowing it will harm us. It will kill us. Our words and lack of empathy will kill us. We have to stop hurting each other. A storm isn’t brewing, it’s already pouring down and we have lost sight of our humanity.

Gosh, maybe that’s why I’m so tired. Just writing that was exhausting.

And parenting. I never knew how often I’d cry until I become a parent. And…teenagers. I lose sleep over their emotional health. I am constantly worried about if I’m saying too much or too little. I long for when they wanted to be around me still. I was so spoiled when Jonah was home, because he was so happy to see me. I’m constantly trying to be better. They hate being isolated, but we are trying so hard to be safe. When I try too hard, I say the wrong thing. And most of the time I’m failing. And I’m trying. And I spend a lot of time with a broken heart. And if you’re reading this, and you are thinking you’ve never had this issue…Whatever. Rain, Rain, Blah, Blah, Blah.

And then this new cloud. This lingering cloud. Maybe we’re all just dealing with a lot. A lot of heavy, dense clouds. Maybe it’s the weather outside, and the lack of sunshine that’s bringing this all on. Or maybe it’s that I can’t solve the world’s problems. I can only pray and love better. I can’t make people want to be a part of my life. I can just love the people who show up, and be a good friend to them.

But this latest cloud, I’m gonna keep trying to get rid of it. I don’t see any answers for it yet. I’ve got keep trying. There are so many things in my life I’ve overcome. I don’t know that I can overcome this. But I can try. I’ll keep trying to outrun the clouds. And I hope eventually God will meet me halfway on this.

We all long to belong. To be loved. To be noticed. To be heard. To be protected. To be appreciated.

We all long to feel peace. To find shelter in the worst storms.

The clouds can’t stay forever. But sometimes it’s a good reminder that people carry heavy things we don’t know about. Fight storms we can’t see. We all could use a little extra love.

My favorite Saint, St. Therese of Lisieux said “Above the clouds, the sky is always blue.”

I’ll keep looking for blue sky and sunshine. I know it’s there. Seeing it will be a victory in this recent season of defeat.

Praying for you and any clouds you carry. Please pray for me too.

You are so loved.