There are some days when you just want to fold into yourself. When little challenges feel like enormous boulders blocking your path. And even though the intelligent part of yourself knows that there is an easy answer, that it isn’t actually too hard, it feels like it would take the strength of ten giants to complete your task and you have nothing. You have gritty eyes and a drooping head and the sound of whimpering and wailing is just a breath away. Your arms won’t lift and your whole skeleton rounds so your shoulders turn in and your head falls to your chest. All you can do is kneel and wait.
Today was one of those days. Brought on by what? Who knows. Poor sleep, a loud alarm, hunger, a long day. I seemed to pull myself through the mud in the air and bring myself to the moment I was looking forward to. Lunch and maybe a nap. I sat down in my car in the rain, turned the key and my car wouldn’t start. I had one of those moments when I was just so tired and hungry and cranky already that I couldn’t think of what to do. I sat there in the driver’s seat, listening to the rain for a full 10 minutes. I tried the key again and again, but it wouldn’t turn over. And I felt utterly defeated.
Have I had car problems before? Sure. In fact, not too long ago I wrote this post about driving down the road with my husband and having the car stall completely going 55 miles per hour. That was as big of a deal, there was no one around to help us then. And here I was in the packed parking lot of the school, feeling like I was the only one on the planet. Devastated. Parents and children walked by in their raincoats, piled into their cars, and I just sat there behind the wheel. Telling myself that no one wanted to help me.
Finally, I pulled myself together and called my husband. He couldn’t do much to help, but he lifted me up and recommended that I call the car shop. And, as if I needed someone to tell me what to do, I called them. And they were awesome. They said they’d send somebody over. So I got out of the car and lifted the hood of the car. And a split second later a super nice parent said, “Do you need a jump?” And I said, “Yeah!” He pulled his car around, I called to cancel the tow truck and in about 5 minutes flat my devastating scenario came to an end. My car was running, I had met a nice person, and I was sitting back in my car behind the wheel, free to go wherever I wanted. I took the car to get the battery checked and ultimately replaced and then headed home.
Sitting here, writing this down, it amazes me how sensitive and fragile we can feel at times. And the only difference between this dead battery and the last time it happened is the story I was telling myself about my situation. Here, today, it was the end of the world. I was all alone, no one wanted to help me. We have only one car, so there was nothing my husband could do. It was raining and cold and I was done as opposed to the last time when I had a great time, enjoyed the situation and took everything in stride.
Is there a lesson in this? Probably. I could have taken several deep breaths, changed my story, and pulled myself together to ask for help. I have to admit that a small part of me was swept away by my story, the intoxication of being in distress, of being helpless and wanting to just lay down on the pavement and bang my fists in the puddles. I’ve had practice now, I can look at myself in those situations and see that it is a fleeting moment, a temporary situation, but there was a time that this could have engulfed me completely, possibly for days. Here, sitting on my couch, typing these words, I am still exhausted, my eyes tired from the tears, but I had the sense to ask my husband to take care of me when I got home. I told him I was not making dinner and that he was in charge and I didn’t care if it was take out. I sat on the couch with my dogs and snuggled them and we watched an episode of Star Trek, Deep Space Nine. Now, I’m writing this for you, and I’m releasing the tension in my shoulders, neck, and back. I’m letting go of the story that I had a horrible day. I’m taking the time to breathe deep and smile and stretch and appreciate the breathtaking amount of good fortune that I do have.
So, thank you for listening. And thank you for this blogging challenge that made me write when all I wanted to do was go to bed.