One morning you awaken and all is right with the world. You have a lovely date night planned, a dinner scheduled and even your best skirt fluffed. The skies are blue, you had a good, sweaty run and you’re feeling strong and optimistic.
You then have an innocent enough conversation with someone about friends. The sort of conversation that was meant to be encouraging – go out and make more friends! Live social and be happy! You’re a wonderful couple, so go out there and be wonderful!
And the next thing you know, you’re eating cookies by the handful and crying over soggy grahams because you can’t keep the thoughts out of your head. They’ve been piling higher and higher with every action generating another log that sends you from a low simmer to a full boil: I need friends. Why don’t I have any? What’s wrong with me? Why aren’t we socializing? I am a failure! We’re a failure!
Frog, meet rapid boil.
The gradual poking of the burning embers meant that by the time I was full tilt depressed, it was too late. All that I could do was break down. Every single thought was feeding the fire that was keeping the water hot. I let them boil me.
And that’s the key word: Let.
I let them pile high – just waiting to be lit by a small flame. I didn’t stop the words inside and so they lit the next thought and the next. Everything I looked at, everything I did, fed the words, fed the pyre.
And for that, I am sorry. I’m not sorry we don’t go out every night and party. I’m not sorry that our small group of friends isn’t larger. And I’m certainly not sorry for loving my hubby enough that I want to spend every minute I have with him.
But the sadness served a purpose beyond wet t-shirt sleeves and red eyes. By letting it all seep out, I gave myself the time to heal.
The fire might have scorched me and left me raspy and spent, but now I can see what’s really there. I can see how much the few friends I do have mean to me. That quantity is of course not king over quality. That even if all we had were each other, we are happy.
Sadness isn’t the end. It isn’t where we stop. It creates a pause, a time-out, where we can take that big, shaky breath and breathe.
We tip that pot, stamp out the flame and stand again.
And just a bit wiser than before. 🙂