I can count on one hand the times I have said “I need help”, “I am in a dark place”, “Can I come cry on your shoulder?”, but life delivered consecutive crushing blows one week. The hits kept coming until I buckled under the weight of the burden.
My husband was seriously injured (health) and would not be able to work for several months (money)
My nephew was born and promptly taken to NICU for breathing trouble (health)
My brand new car was backed into (more money)
So I phoned a friend and asked if she was available to talk while I did a little crying. She, of course, said yes.
I drove to her house and we sat in her barn. I marveled at the beauty of nature before us, surrounded by fields, trees, and a slowly sinking sun. It was absolutely divine. Without waiting to sit down I launched into what had been happening in my little corner of the world.
The biggest blow was my husband’s injury for several reasons. I had accidentally caused the injury and although he was not blaming me, I was definitely holding myself accountable.
His right knee was “blown”. His ACL was no longer attached, the Meniscus was torn and the MCL badly bruised. Apparently, this was just an extension of our level of dedication. We don’t half-ass anything around here, not even our injuries.
Unable to walk or bear any weight simple daily tasks had become nearly insurmountable. He could use crutches for short distances, but stairs required the sit-and-skootch technique. With no toilets on the main floor using the bathroom or showering had become a painful and exhausting superhuman feat.
He was also unable to drive meaning I was required for every appointment, his, the kids, and of course,
my own. All errands, child taxiing, and responsibilities outside the house now firmly sat on my shoulders along with maintaining my full-time job. How was I going to balance work, providing care, and motherhood?
There was also the part where my self-employed husband would not be able to contribute financially for the next several months reducing our income to 50%. While we have worked hard to live below our means and to build a savings, that is still a serious blow. There would be nothing extra. Nothing.
The tears fell and I didn’t try to stop them. My mind was full and I needed the release. After a few moments, she also began to cry. While she is one of the most caring friends I have ever had the privilege of knowing, I knew all of those tears weren’t for me. My friend was in pain and because of my own pain I had not even recognized it.
Why do we try so hard to pretend like everything is okay when it’s not? Even with our dear friends?
“It is easy to see the faults of others, but difficult to see one’s own faults. One shows the faults of others like chaff winnowed in the wind, but one conceals one’s own faults as a cunning gambler conceals his dice.” ~Buddha
Pride? Was it as simple as not wanting to feel humiliated or is it something more? Maybe a fear of trusting others with our weaknesses? Whatever the reason, we do it all the time and I may be one of the guiltiest of all.
Taking off my mask and sharing my worries with a friend helped lift the burden. It was freeing to let someone else know how I felt. All the ugly, embarrassing, scary feelings were free from my brain. They didn’t even spontaneously combust when I spoke them.
Although I left with all the same troubles, I gained support. Now I had a friend who would check-in with me, who genuinely cared and who was also rooting for me.
In Hallelujah Anyway, Ann Lamott wrote, “Carl Jung said that most painful issues can’t be solved-they can only be outgrown, but that takes time and deep work. Nothing in our culture allows us to do that anymore: Don’t sit with pain! Go to eBay, the gym, Facebook, Zoologies. Outside the world is in such a frenzy, megabyte-driven, alien, dehumanizing.”
It’s true there is no time to think about and work out our feelings. There’s barely enough time for homework, dinner, and a few minutes of conversation each night. Each day is crammed to the brim of duties and obligations while each night is a race until we finally collapse into bed for a few hours. Then the cycle repeats itself.
Our feelings are pushed down, tamped beneath so that we carry on at work and home. Grieving the loss of family has even been marginalized. We need TIME.
We can’t wait around for our culture to change and for society to give us the green light.
Call your friend and go cry in her barn today!
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