The Jewelry Box

A mini-chapter. This chapter will be more meaningful if you have read my depression story.

I didn't feel like shopping, but that was understandable. It hadn't been that long since the break-up. But for my health, I was going to do a few things a day that I didn't feel like doing. If I pretended that I wanted to shop, that I wanted to exercise, that I wanted to be around people, surely the rest of me would eventually follow suit.

And so I went in the store. And it hurt. It was a furniture and home decor store. I hadn't ever paid attention to home decor until the last few months when I was planning on moving out of my parents' home and into an apartment with my soon-to-be-new husband. Likely for the first few years of our marriage there would be a lot of second-hand furniture given to us by family, but I planned on inserting a few new things here and there. The rugs on display, however, reminded me how mine had been pulled out from underneath me the day I decided to call it all off. I wasn't second-guessing my decision, but still couldn't deny how painful it still was. Incredible how everything had changed. I had traded major life-steps for baby ones. Get up, walk, eat, shower. I had traded plans for the future for a blank slate.

There is nothing wrong with baby steps, I told myself. There is nothing wrong with a blank slate either. I was just a little unnerved by how very blank it was.

And then I found myself standing in front of it. It completely struck my fancy. It was a lovely girls jewelry box. A little juvenile for me, yes, but not for my daughter. I didn't know who she was yet, but yes, today I think I will stake a claim in my future. Someday I am going to have a daughter and she will have this jewelry box. 

This was probably one of the most definite decisions I had made since calling off the wedding, and I liked it. I marched up to the register with it under my arm and for the first time in several days I was trying to suppress a smile.


That infamous Sunday night, after meeting with the police and being reunited with my family, my parents introduced the next item on the agenda. "Where is your medication?"

I obediently led them to the trunk of my car. Popping it open, my backpack was right where I left it, the backpack I hadn't gone after because I knew my car was being watched by my dad and the police in the church parking lot. We located my cell phone with dozens of missed calls before locating my medication.

Before slamming the trunk shut, I noticed the jewelry box. Still in the bag, still in the trunk from the day I bought it several weeks before. It had been sliding around back there ever since. It was like a slap in the face, as if today could have been any more humiliating. A daughter?!! You thought you were going to have a daughter???!! You'll be lucky if you're not institutionalized for the rest of your life!!!!

I hadn't written in my journal for months, but that night I stopped in and penned, "I have reached one of the deepest darkest points of my life, let's hope it goes up from here." A sick version of a laugh escaped my insides as I thought about just how much I did not believe those last seven words.


Walking past her room, I stopped. It was clear that little girl was distressed. She sat in front of a tiny trinket box. "I can't fit all the jewelry Aunt Chels gave me in here."

My mind and heart lit up. "I have an idea," I told her, and sprinted toward the basement stairs. This was erratic behavior for her mom, so she followed close behind. 

Many times over the years I had considered throwing it away. It was split in the corners from being thrown around in the back of my trunk. But now that I had a chance to really look it over, it wasn't bad. Luckily I had also fully embraced the shabby-chic look. We could just call it a jewelry box with distressed edges.

And its day had arrived.

We filled all the drawers and pockets with hand-me down necklaces and bracelets with room to spare. Little girl was thrilled with the new addition to her room.

And it's been there ever since.

How to Save a Life

Where did I go wrong?
I lost a friend....
I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life.
(The Fray, "How to Save a Life")

The weight of the world was on this kid's shoulders and it was crushing him.
 We sat and discussed how a severely depressed mind functions, or how it doesn't function. He was as frustrated as I have ever seen another human being. Frankly, I don't think he really cared to discuss the particulars. None of it was an acceptable reason to have lost her.

He was right. 

He would have done anything to save her had he known had he known how. She was not his only friend suffering from depression. How many more of his friendships were like ticking time bombs that would leave him devastated and helpless?  It was terrifying to him and I could feel it. I could see it.

With a prayer in my heart, I offered the best piece shred of light I had in stock.

How do you save a life?

The hard truth is that your are not guaranteed a happy rescue. We don't know why some people return from that dark abyss and some do not. It is not like pulling someone who is drowning out of a swimming pool. In that situation, everything depends almost entirely on the rescuer's strength alone. Depression requires heroic strength from the one who is drowning. Sometimes they are able to find it. Sometimes, for reasons we don't completely understand, they don't. And that is out of your control.  

So live close to God. Live close to the One who sees all and knows all.  Live your life in a way so that if God taps you on the shoulder to send you in for help, you will be ready. You won't have to worry about saying or doing "the one right thing" that could make all the difference. He's sending you in because He knows you will.