Did you ever play Mario Kart on a Nintendo 64? Remember how coconuts would bash into your little go-kart when you got too far off course? That’s been my analogy for God’s role in my life: he’ll let me stray only so far from my path before he starts to tap, tap, tap me back towards it. Well, sometimes it’s a gentle tap and others it’s more…insistent. And sometimes, if you’re a particularly bad driver (I was), you get so far from the roadway that a stork or something picks you up and delivers you back to the track. During the eight months I struggled with PPD, I desperately needed something to come along and give me a boost back. I know I’m back where I need to be because things just start to work.
Like when I changed majors, broke up with my high school boyfriend, and transferred schools my freshman year of college. Without getting into details, I was not only a multi-level mess but about a thousand miles from God’s plans for me. I’ve already written about meeting my future husband that first day at my new dorm, which was especially for transfer students—but that’s what I’m talking about. I went from bashing into the iceberg walls and spinning out to gliding smoothly on the roadway. There were a few key people and events, seemingly random, without which I wouldn’t have had the courage or the motivation to correct my path. God’s little coconuts.
That’s a rather long introduction (two of my weaknesses, according to Dry Mama—“hella long” and “shitty intro” being her most frequent critiques), but whatever. I’ve had that coconut imagery in my head for years now, and it’s stayed fairly consistent even as my faith matures and evolves. (Also, Dry Mama won’t have time to edit this before I post it, so ya’ll get the long version this week. Leave a comment if you make it to the end so I can prove to her some people can read more than 300 words at a time.)
This Tuesday marks one month since I “launched” this blog—that is, let other people know that it exists. My student teaching supervisor used to tell us the more we step outside our comfort zone, the bigger it becomes. Sharing my experiences with PPD, in such an honest way, was terrifying—but I’ve become much more ugly-honest in other parts of my life as well. I’ll share more about that itself in a future post, but suffice it to say I finally just posted my blog to Facebook and then released my anxieties to God.
The next morning I drove about forty-five minutes out of town for our Fall Regional and I couldn’t get the song “This Little Light of Mine” out of my head. I have no idea why it was there—I hadn’t heard it in awhile and it definitely wasn’t on America’s Top 40. I teach at a Catholic school, so our in-service days typically begin with Mass. When Father began reading the Gospel, I almost fell over—it was the story about not hiding a lamp under a rock but letting its light shine. If that wasn’t odd enough, when I told The Engineer about it later that night, he asked, “Wasn’t that the reading at our wedding?” I had to look it up, but he was right.
Writing has been a passion of mine since I was little, but I have never had a way to share it with others that felt meaningful. Using these personal narratives to open conversations about mental health, to increase awareness of PPD in my little corner of the Internet, and to find healing has been one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. That day I experienced the opposite of the little coconuts—more like the speed boosters in Diddy Kong Racing (I’m not sure why my faith analogies keep returning to N64—my sister and I honestly had three games we rarely played. We’ll have to see how God connects to Star Fox—any ideas?) I feel confident that I’m not only back on the track, but right where God intends for me to be. Hopefully I won’t feel those little coconuts for awhile (or need the little stork thing), but I trust they’ll be there when I need them.
How do you know when you’re on the right track? Have you ever felt those little taps nudging back to where you belong? Did you read this far (cough, cough Dry Mama!!)?