"Great!" I'd reply with a grin when asked how I was. I accepted the hugs - lingering for a second longer than I normally would out of a place of pure-and-present love and gratitude for the people with whom I work.
"It was good - really good," I answered questions about my treatment. "I am on a new medication - Zoloft - the seems to be working well. But I feel more centered and accepting of myself. Appreciative of myself in this moment.
"One of the lessons that struck me was that depression is for the past - sadness, regret, longing, pain - and anxiety is of the future - uncertainty, fear, stress and dread. But we are in the present - in this moment - the one right now - and I'm OK. I'm actually great. I'm enjoying talking to you. The way the sun dances sparkles off the snow. The sounds of voices on the phone uttering impressive words. The pattern of the watercolor yarn as I crochet to keep myself present and focused on the teleconference. The scent of my Twisted Peppermint lotion or the Fresh Laundry perfume I spritzed this morning. Right now, we're all OK."
I talked about past-present-future a lot, offering that bit of wisdom rather than asking if someone wanted to pray with me. Crochet. Sit down, close our eyes and fully experience a Wintergreen LifeSaver.
Instead, I fully engaged in each meeting. I made brief entries into my To Do Excel sheet (another coping strategy) and felt centered and strong.
"How perfect!" I called out, smiling widely as I strode down the hallway of the hospital - a hallway I'd walked at least twice daily for the past two weeks. I'd returned today on lunch hour, hoping to speak to one of my fellow patients and finding her directly in my path as I moved toward the Partial Hospitalization Unit, only about halfway through my planned journey. "I was coming to find you!"
I approached the woman - my friend - and blinked back tears as I thought of what she wrote in my good-bye journal.
You are a powerful woman of God. And while I know you came here to receive help, I feel you were sent on a mission to help us. To brighten rooms even before you entered them. To listen, love and pray.I cried over her words Friday night. I pondered them more on Saturday - after the gym and during my 90 minute massage. I let my thoughts drift and invited God to speak. I often don't hear Him in those times, mind eager to cling to distractions. But that day, I waited. And I heard.
So today, I tucked cash between the pages of my favorite devotional. Wrote inside the cover of how much God loved her - how strongly I felt that - and how much He wanted her to be healthy and what great plans He had for her.
So I set the book gently on the meal tray she carried, patted the cover of the much-loved book I've used for years and met her eyes as we prayed, wept and embraced. The peace I feel when doing God's work - set out for me - is profound.
And - for today - for right now - I feel worthy of His love and trust. I feel capable of pouring out love and light. Of doing work and being engaged with this world.
Oh, and I revised my affirmation a bit. I am loved and worthy. Now. Then. When.
Present. Past. Future in the positive sense. I feel as though I'm walking with God - happily, fully myself and feeling great.