I have been driving around town crying this morning. Mornings have just become really difficult for me lately. It is when my mind and emotions spin tales I can’t even read, leaving me a soggy mess of emotion. Most of the rest of the day I put them aside, or shove them into boxes of resentment. Even in the mornings I avoid them when possible by doing things like online classes. Distract. Disengage.
Right now, however, it is 10 a.m. and I am sitting in the parking lot at Target trying to pull myself together.
I was thinking this morning about God, and church, and I found what I was longing for was a place where I could collapse in a heap when I was scared, or when my heart was breaking, where there would be someone, or Someone, to catch me and hold me.
My first stop this morning was the hospital to get some blood tests. The hospital is new, built on the site of the old hospital, which was torn down several years ago. It’s set on a tiny mound of a hill, and as I was leaving the parking lot I looked out on the view, and I recognized it as the view I had looked out on from my mother’s hospital room as she lay dying in that old hospital. It will be 12 years ago next week, on October 10th. More tears, and the thought, I miss my mommy. If only she was here I would not feel this way.
But then I realized that wasn’t true. Don’t get me wrong. I love my mother, and I even admire her parenting. I look back on her bravery expressed in her ability to not get involved in my choices, to say very little in situations where I as a mom would be wanting to jump in. But I thought, maybe that is the problem, because if she was here, I would still feel lonely. I never ever knew what was going on with my mom because she never ever said. She was British and held to the stiff upper lip, and kind of encouraged that in me as well. Funny but I’d recently been engaged in an online discussion about whether kids should be left to cry themselves to sleep. I know my mother believed in that because she tried to convince me to do that with my kids. The opposing argument to the let them cry theory is that they learn not to trust that their emotional needs will be met. And I wondered, is that why I am this way?
Because I am never going to find that place where I can collapse and be held, because I am never going to be able to allow myself that vulnerability.
I have got a boatload of hurt here inside me, so deep. I have the worst kind of loss, betrayal, abandonment, grief, fear, all floating in this lonely ocean. And I just don’t know what to do with it, except for this. Write it down. As songwriter Anna Nalick says, “If I get it all down on paper it’s no longer inside of me, threatening the life it belongs to.”
Well maybe it helps a little. My tears are dry now, enough to go into Target anyway.
Just remember, it’s okay to hold your children when they cry. Perhaps they will not end up feeling bone deep lonely, because they will allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to allow others to catch them and hold them when their hearts are broken or they are afraid.