All or nothing


Since I started to use artwork to accompany my blogposts, I’ve discovered a real interest in Picasso’s work and his life. I had the privilege on Sunday to go to an art exhibit of his work. What an interesting man. Much of his work I don’t get. But some of it really really speaks to me. I found this picture on Thursday as I faced grief and profound sadness that left me completely depleted of energy and completely without words (something that doesn’t happen very often!). I’ve been wanting to write a few updates since Thursday but when I’ve tried to write, I am just empty – not blocked as in writer’s block, but empty, without words. Today in group I was able to figure out a little of what’s going on.

It’s a bit of a pattern in my life. I dive right into things full speed. I try to tackle everything at once. Though I must say, that life tends to pour when it rains sometimes and the curveballs that are thrown my way are not always of my own starting. Anyways, I realized today that I am kind of an all or nothing kinda gal. I started the trauma therapy program all enthusiasticly and wanting to make the very most of it. I wanted to tackle the really hard and deep stuff right away so that there wasn’t a minute lost. And so I did and each day I would feel drained. I decided that I would bike everywhere and for the past two weeks, I’ve biked 55 kilometers each week – sometimes in the pouring rain and even snow! Then my grandpa got sick (more on that later) and I dealt with that drama. But, as if that’s not enough, I’ve been dealing with many interpersonal relationship blips that probably didn’t all need to be tackled at once but in the past few weeks I felt each were urgent and important. Both my individual therapist in the program and my psychiatrist have talked to me now about pacing myself a bit better. Completely depleted of emotional and physical energy, I have to say that they are probably very wise in this.

So this week, I am being gentle with myself. Honestly, this takes intentionality – today I had a whole bunch of errands and a big to do list planned, and I was so discouraged after completing two that I lacked the energy to do anything else. But here I am, reflecting and resting and giving myself permission to not complete everything I set out to do and to be proud of what I was able to accomplish. The emails in my inbox can wait. The paper I am supposed to write will still be there tomorrow. The phone messages can be returned another day. Today, I am done.

Many people have been asking about my grandfather and I’ve been blessed by so many people who have sent me messages saying that they were praying or have brainstormed with me ideas of what I could do. Since I’m having trouble keeping up with everyone, I thought I would give an update. I am pleased to say that my Grandpa is home from the hospital.

After a lot of thought and talking with others, I mustered up the courage to call Grandpa in the hospital. I was so scared but knew that this was something I had to do. I so desperately did not want to be passive in this as the way things went down with my Grandma hurt so very much and I did not want to repeat this. The call went the best I could have realistically anticipated. I asked him how he was, he asked me how I was. I told him I love him and was thinking about him, he told me he loved me. I asked if I could call him in a few days, and very sadly, he said with a pause “you’d better not”. and then he thanked me for calling. And ended with “goodbye darling”.

Those words – “goodbye darling” – are words that keep going through my mind. Barring a miracle with my immediate family, this probably was the last conversation that I will have with him. One of the things that has been so painful about my grandmother’s passing is that there was no resolution, no reconciliation with her before she departed this world. Anyone who knows me knows that the brokenness in family relationships weighs heavily on me. Even the broken relationship with my dad – I doubt I will ever look to him again as a father figure and I don’t need support from him – but simply the brokenness of this relationship breaks my heart. With grandpa there are so many conversations that I would love to have that realistically I know would never happen. But that conversation with him – as short as it was – has left me feeling like there is some resolution. Also, the fact that he called me “darling” spoke to my heart – at my Grandmother’s funeral, he affirmed that I was one of his grandchildren and that he loves me. And on Thursday he reaffirmed this and it meant the world to me.

Having said this, I am profoundly sad. I said goodbye. How do you put into words the depth of pain in saying goodbye to someone you love dearly?

So back to Picasso. This picture depicts grief to me. Grief and sadness. Grief as a natural course of life as those whom are close to us move beyond this world. Sadness at the loss of relationship. Grief at the injustice of this situation and how the innocent are hurt. Sadness at the reality that in seven years, nothing has changed. Tonight in prayer we sang Brian Doerkson’s song on Psalm 13 (

 How long O Lord, will you forget me?

How long O Lord, will you look the other way?

How long O Lord, must I wrestle with my thoughts?

And every day have such sorrow in my heart?


Look on me and answer, O God my Father

Bring light to my darkness, before this evening falls


But I trust in your unfailing love

Yes, my heart will rejoice

Still I sing of your unfailing love

You have been good

You will be good to me

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