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Often, it’s
a restless night and bad dreams that tell me I forgot.

Other times
it’s the way I snap and growl at my children in the morning.  It’s not that they’re
worse than normal, but I’m less tolerant, carrying my own internal agitation
which they scrape against like matches, igniting a latent fury.


Before bed
and after TV, my husband takes the dog out into the darkness to pee.  In the dim kitchen I grind coffee beans for
the morning’s brew, adding water and a clean filter to the pot.  Then I open the hutch’s glass cabinet and grab the red bottle.  Opened, little
oval pills scatter across the palm of my hand like seeds. 

For months, maybe
even a year, I cut them precisely with a pill cutter.  Then one day, in a pinch, I realized they
could be broken by hand. 

One and a
half pills daily seems to be enough to do the trick.


Toward the
end of summer, for various reasons, I decided I wanted to cut down to one pill,
decreasing the dose by a third. 

It would be
, I told myself. 

Maybe I’ll
lose weight
, I thought (as though the daily consumption of potato chips
couldn’t possibly be to blame for a recent weight gain). 

I’ve been so
sleepy lately, maybe I’m over-medicated
, I considered.    

psychiatrist, hearing my plan, looked at me with surprise. 

“Usually the dose that works is the dose you
should stay on,” she said.

“Well,” I
said, “I want to try.” 

What I
didn’t say was that I didn’t want to be on medicine, I didn’t want to need it.


I’d done
enough googling to know coming off of antidepressants can be complicated.  I decided to drop the dose by a third every
other day for a while and see what happened. 
One pill one day, one and a half the next, and so on.

The problem
was, I was nearing the one year anniversary of my psychiatric hospitalization

And I was
preaching again for the first time in a year. 

And we were
in the run-up for the annual back-to-school transition which, with four kids in
three different schools, lasts well-over a month. 

transition makes me anxious.

I tried,
though.  I did.

What I found is I was more anxious, more irritable, more snappy.

I was a
worse mother without that little half pill. 
Unreasonably irritable, yelling and stomping rather than “using my
words.”  It reminded me of the months
after the twins were born, when I struggled so with my oldest son.  He would have been better off if I’d had
those pills then. 


“It’s only
been a year,” my counselor says, “give it some time.”

Ah, but
me?  I want to not need.

Only now,
what I want more, is to be a mother who doesn’t scream and shout in rage.  I want to be a little more able to go with
the flow (which is the only way to go anywhere in a family of six).  Maybe if I had more control, more money, less
kids I’d be able to structure my time, my life in a way that kept me from
needing those pills. 

morning, noon and night. 



For now though, when I look at the real choices before me, I pick up that red bottle and break the pills, like pieces of communion bread – grace I need, grace I cannot afford to do without.    


I have a
friend who was wounded deeply by someone she loves.  After years of struggle and heart ache she
considered breaking the relationship and felt God giving her the freedom to do

Then, also, my friend felt God’s invitation,
“Why don’t you try just loving the one who hurt you as God’s broken but beloved

I was
thinking about that today.  

Thinking it’s true, really, of all of us.  

are God’s broken, beloved children.  

it would all go a little better if we thought of ourselves that way, as people
who need.  I am God’s broken, beloved daughter and I will take grace as it comes, however it comes, even if it arrives in a little, red bottle.     

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