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Black Monday

It seemed a day like any other. Sunday had gone well at church, Monday morning had arrived, and it was off to a pre-planned day of fun at Knott’s Berry Farm with the kids and another family.

We had a great day at the park. The kids had a blast, the rides were fantastic, all seemed to be in place. Friday and Saturday’s emotional episodes were in the past. I had no idea what to make of them, and at best, I ought to make nothing of them at all. It must be the expected gamut of emotions upon sabbatical re-entry.

We ended the day with our traditional dinner stop at the famous fried chicken place. However, our youngest wasn’t feeling well and we were all paying for it. We took our food to go and made an early exit. It wasn’t long before both kids were sleeping soundly and Colleen and I were reveling in the joy of the day’s events.

Somewhere along the way, I remember Colleen asking me where yesterday’s message came from at church. I wondered aloud why she was asking and she responded with, “It just didn’t sound or seem like you.”

That’s when my world went black. A rise of emotion within me went wild as we drove along the freeway. In a feeling that I can only describe as “having been found out”, I poured out my heart to Colleen.

I told her what had happened on Friday and Saturday. I shared about my fear of not knowing what was happening to me and what I was feeling. I couldn’t stop crying. My heart raced. A couple of times, I felt like I was going to hyperventilate.

She asked if she should drive, to which I may have said, “now you’re going to take that away from me too? I guess I AM going crazy.” It was the closest I had ever felt to someone else’s description of crazy. I felt like I was losing it.

In truth, in many ways, I was losing it. I was losing grasp of what I thought I had a good grip on rather than a grip that was unhealthy. I was being stripped of my veneer, my mask, if you will. Who I really was was now being revealed, and I didn’t like it.

When we arrived home, we put the boys to bed, but my sister-in-law was still up. I was still an emotional wreck with no real explanations I could understand. I shared what I could understand by that point. Up until now, it was this:

I went away for a month exhausted, knowing I needed to get back to the feet of Jesus for me and Him. That was achieved in good and strong course. However, now I am back with the Church, and I feel like I have nothing to give. My well is dry. Me and Jesus are doing good, but I just don’t feel like I have anything left to say. For a pastor who normally has messages planned out six to nine months in advance, it was a scary place to be.

Having had contact with a couple of friends over the years who had gone through emotional crises, I felt the Lord beginning to direct that I was to take an extended “modified sabbatical”. One in which I would be at church week to week, but not necessarily speaking every week. Somehow, I needed to invest my days in finding the right help for whatever this quandary was that I was in.

© 2008 Paul D. Kuzma