Oh, last week was such a hard week. Everything went wrong; I was overwhelmed and found lack of harmony at every turn. Ugh! I wanted a ticket to La-La-Land where everybody gets along and life runs smoothly all the time.
When I get stressed I try to maintain a positive attitude. But when the hard times keep coming and positive thinking starts to look like a band-aid over a tumor, I allow myself to surrender. I give myself permission to think what I think – and feel what I feel – as completely as possible, no matter how ugly or unwanted it is. I measure my mental health by the time this takes. Can I move through feelings in a day that used to take a week? Can I allow in a week what used to take a month?
I find a kind of beauty in suffering that goes straight to the heart, because pain pulls away pretense and takes us to the raw truth of our being.
I received a letter last week from a woman in Kansas who had traveled to a graduation and returned to find that her horse of twenty-six years had died in her absence. He had a heart attack and was buried by the time she returned.
“I needed to find closure, and found it difficult as I was not able to see him one last time before he passed, so I have been walking around the barn to find his smell, to smell him one last time. There was nothing there, and then today my son said he cut some of his mane and tail for me and put it on a shelf in the barn. I found it and stuck my nose deep into the mane. It smelled just like my horse, the horse smell that is calming, peaceful and safe. I cried again, it was helpful to smell him one last time, now I have closure, now I can begin to heal.”
How beautiful is that? The communion of spirits and depth of love in her honest pain is profound.
Today I find myself embracing the dark and the light in equal measure. I sit with my feet propped up on a ledge at the library, where I gaze out at sunshine, pink dogwood blossoms, water lilies and a long legged crane. A little girl in a blue dress is crouching near the ducks and walking as if she were one of them. They allow her to mingle only inches away until she tries to place her hand on their backs for a soft feathered embrace.
A little girl with golden hair, duck-walking with her animal friends, that’s enough to make my week.