Everyone has moments – weeks, months, seasons – of sadness, fear, grief, anxiety. That’s the human condition, right? And we walk through the darkness, because, really, what choice do we have? I can’t count the number of times in my life where I’ve felt like throwing up my hands, giving up, burrowing under the covers. But then a child needs a glass of milk or help with brushing their teeth, or the work phone rings and I really have to take it, or laundry pile finally threatens to overflow the hamper.
And so I get up and deal with what needs to be done.
But the truth is that slogging through one of these valleys – even when I can see the other side, and know it’s bright – is tough and tiring. Sometimes I feel like screaming up at God, or whatever the greater power out there that I hope I believe in is, “Okay! Enough with the learning! Enough with the tough love!” Sometimes I just want to lie down and coast.
But I can’t. I don’t know if others can; I really don’t. A lot of people look better at dealing with the sine curve of life, at least from where I sit. A lot of people – and I envy them, let me be clear – seem to experience fewer moments of spirit-shaking emotion than I do. A lot of them can describe what Easter means to their children, or admire the clear, extraordinary blue of an April sky, or witness a christening, without bursting into tears. Hell, a lot of people don’t burst into tears every single day.
Somehow that intense emotion, that wound at the very core of my being, is bearable most of the time. Right now, though, it feels like too much. I am bone-tired, my emotions are worn paper-thin, my is patience frayed. I know my life runs close to the surface, that’s not news to me. And this isn’t news, either, this sense of being deep in the weeds and of each step being a struggle. It is so not-new, in fact, that I have a theory as to its cause: I suspect this exhaustion occurs when I’m letting go of something, even though I’m not sure what it is yet. Right now I’m overly aware of the cracks in everything, and I can’t see the light they’re letting in. Many days I feel a tightness in my chest and tears pricking my eyes and a general sense of sorrow that is, for now, as powerful as it is inarticulate.
But the children need their teeth brushed, and the work phone is ringing, and the laundry needs to be done.
What’s my choice, but to get up, to keep going, to begin again?
Get Lindsey's thoughts on mindful living and parenting in your inbox