A Conversation by the Lake
I sat on the edge of the shore fighting back tears asking myself, “Why am I so upset about this?” I could feel myself about to spin out. About to just let the disappointments and frustrations of the day take me for a ride that I knew would be difficult to come back from.
“But I was trying so hard,” I emotionally argued with myself. “I was trying to be positive and have a good attitude but it feels like everything is stacked against me.”
“Everything?” The more sensible me asked incredulously.
“Well, not EVERYTHING, I guess. But really a lot. And I was already at low emotional reserves. And you know how hard this day of all days is. Really? Couldn’t I just get a break TODAY?”
I was hoping sensible me would just hand irrational me a free ticket to the emotional railroad and tell me to ride it. But sensible me knew that would not really help me feel better or salvage what was left of the day.
“Yes, it is a lot. It really is. And you have every right to be worn out today. And frustrated and disappointed too. But there is more than that.” How is it that reason is always so comforting to me?
“Sigh. I know. There are good things. There are really incredible things. This place is beautiful and the people I am with are wonderful.” Less rational me usually gives up pretty quickly but this time even I was surprised at how quickly she relinquished the fight.
“But there’s something else?” Sensible me often knows when there is a little more digging to do.
“Yes.” My lip quivered again and I could feel hot tears starting to sting my eyes again.
“What is it?” Sensible me gently asked. So gently that is surprised me. “What do you need right now?”
“I need to feel like all my hard work is worth it. I need to feel like all the energy I am putting into healing and hoping is paying off somehow. You know how hard I am trying to live hopefully. You know how intentional I am about creating new positive memories on days that carry heavy memories. It’s been two and a half years! I have now had as many anniversaries without him as with him. I would really hope that I am past the point that a stupid clogged toilet would send me into an emotional tailspin.” I think I wailed this little speech.
Sensible me nodded. “Yes, you are healing and yes, you are intentional about it. And also, life is just shitty sometimes (in this case literally) and you are handling it the best you can. Life is ugly and beautiful and annoying and satisfying and surprising in good ways and bad and you want to live all of it. You know you do. And you know the only truly tragic thing about today is if you let all these mounting disappointments hijack any of the potentially good things the rest of this day might bring.”
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I was right. (Or at least part of me was right while the other part of me was still trying to decide if pouting like a petulant teenager was allowed.)
“And I’m sad. There I said it.”
“Yes, you are sad. And that’s ok and honestly to be expected. Your ache is a long one to heal and today is just harder than most days.”
“Yes, I know.” I said and start to feel a teeny-tiny bit better.
“Just don’t blame what is happening right now on a deeper ache. Respect the deeper pain for what it is and care for it appropriately. You know it is not about the clogged toilets or too many trips to find the right plumbing tools or missed kayak rides. You know it is about a deep grief that you are still processing. It takes time and you are working hard at it.”
I nod and brush off any lingering tears from the tops of my cheeks. I just needed to be reminded it is a process and what happens today is only a small part of it.
“And who knows what else might happen today to lessen the grief and further the healing and hope if you stay open to it? Never let a day be ruined to possibility.”
I reached for my phone to finish dealing with the rental owner/plumber/maintenance company and the clogged toilet. And told myself that I would come back some other time to kayak.