Stories that Matter

Here We Go Again…

“How are you?”

Lately, when I’m asked this question, I want to roll my eyes and mutter, how much time do you have? I think if I really answered the question honestly, they’d never ask again. But I slap on a smile and say, “Just fine, how are you?” Because that’s how you answer that question. It’s how I’ve always answered it and no doubt how I will continue to answer it.

Shields up.

Getting real in person has never been my forte. Funny that, because I have no problem spilling blood on the page. It’s easier somehow, to rant or wail or simply voice something so heavy you don’t dare say it loud incase someone actually hears you…I can shoot off on Facebook or Twitter in my usual passive aggressive style and people think it’s kind of funny. Sometimes they don’t. But by then it’s too late. My faulty filter strikes again.

I’m looking forward to seeing the back end of a year that’s possibly been one of the most difficult times I’ve had to walk through. Emotionally, spiritually, for a myriad of reasons. Oh, no, you wouldn’t know it. Well, some will. I have my confidants and thank God for them too because they talk me off the ledges and call me out on the crazy. But then there’ve been times when there is simply nothing to say. And I’m right back down in that pit again.

It doesn’t really matter who or what shoved me down there. What matters is I went. I gave in and quit fighting and said to hell with it, I can’t do this anymore. And the fall didn’t hurt one bit. I didn’t curl up my nose at the dank, musty smell or squint through the darkness. I swallowed acrid air and settled in on hard cold ground and thought, I deserve this. This is where I should be.

The problem with pits is once you’re in them, you forget how to get out. And so you get comfortable. And pretty soon nothing makes sense and all you can hear is your own voice whispering loser, loser, loser.

Know what I mean? Ever felt like a complete waste of space? Thought everyone would be much better off without you because all you do is cause grief and pain and conflict? Yeah. That’s pretty much what being in the pit feels like. It doesn’t matter if it’s dark, because you can’t see through the tears anyway.


But pretty soon, you just get tired. You miss life the way it used to be. You miss the good. The laughter. The peace. You want to break the chains. You want out but you don’t know how to get there. Sometimes you don’t even know how to take that first step.

For me, it happens like a push. I make that final mistake, the decision that just wrecks it all, and suddenly the lights come on. And then comes the guilt, the shame, the mortification and the God, no, not again, can’t you just fix me already

Sure. I guess He can. But I have to want Him to. I have to decide to let Him. And then I have to work with Him and not against Him.

I have to get out of the pit.

Because the view from the mountaintop is pretty sweet. I’ve seen it. I remember it. Today, the vision is hazy, but I know it’s there. And I know I’ll get there again. SoI’m going to fight my battles, stand up to my demons and tell them to go back where they came from. I don’t feel strong enough. Not right now. In this moment.

But I will be.

Because I’m not doing this again. Somehow, I have to find the courage to believe that I am worth more than this.

And that’s hard. You know?

But maybe my sharing, bleeding a little on the page, is that first step. Maybe you’re there too, scrabbling in damp dirt and darkness, wondering how to get out.


Maybe you need a hand to pull you up. I know I do. I just have to ask.

Maybe we need to find that courage. To hold on to that faith. To feel a little grace and know that somehow, we’re gonna make it.

Maybe we can make that climb together. Because I think it’s time.

Don’t you?




  1. Jennifer Zarifeh Major on November 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I’m here with you, and when you’re ready, I’ve got some rope.

    • Cathy West on November 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      How about a magical staircase made of ice? Like on Frozen. Then we can go build a snowman. 🙂

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser on November 24, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Hello Cathy,

    I think I can relate to what you are saying, because I am here again for the first time.

    Please allow me to explain. A medical issue (pain-induced shock) a few days go has resulted in the loss of significant short and medium term memory. My wife (whom for a time I did not recognize) has taught me to use email and the Internet, and I am using the contents of my “inbox” to try to create hooks by which I can climb back into the present. For me, it feels like late 1990.

    Thus, my presence here – I saw the entry in my “inbox”, and did a “search” – I have been here before, and the context is vaguely recognizable, like something from a dream long ago.

    They say it will come back, probably quite quickly, and without my noticing the transition. I certainly hope this is true, because I am caught out of time, in a very confusing world, hearing the recent voices of friends long become dust.

    That said, I would like to offer my hand to help. Your writing is so heartfelt, and what you are saying is so honest. You are not a waste of space. You have called to me on a morning when I needed a friendly voice, even though it’s a familiar one gone suddenly unfamiliar. You have made a difference to me today, and, from what I see, in the past.

    I hope you will excuse the formality of tone. Thinking and writing are terribly tiring just now. I am told I write a “blog”,and fortunately it seems to have been written in advance, so that I can either recover,or adjust. I am told I have written books, as well. It is lost for now.

    I will now try to “post” this. I hope it works.

    • Cathy West on November 24, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      Andrew, wow. Yes, I know your struggles and boy, do I feel like crying for you right now. But I also know from what you write and your interactions on the web, that you don’t want people to do that. So I walk alongside you, hold you up in prayer and pray for God to bring back the memories. I know you have some sweet ones. For today, I’m glad I was able to share my heart and have it resonate with you. Keeping the faith with you my friend.

  3. Michael on November 25, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Hi Cathy,

    I wondered who I heard scraping along in the dark – for I am there too. It is said that misery loves company, but I would much prefer to be on the mountain. I’ve been on the mountain before and my own foolishness stumbled me into this pit. “O for grace that wilt not let me go.” I need a little grace, and the chance to laugh and smile again.

    Thank you for this post today – it hit me right between the eyes and right in the heart.

    • Cathy West on November 25, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      Thanks for reading, and resonating. We will get there. 🙂

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