On letting the rain wake me up and reaching out for help . . .
Today, I feel completely drenched, waterlogged. I feel like someone should take the shoulders of my sweater and clothespin me to a sunny line in a summery backyard, so that I can dry out and warm up.
I’m tired of tears, and today, I’m tired of rain. Today, the rain feels oppressive. Watching it brings to mind one of Jack Handey’s brilliant Deep Thoughts: “If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is ‘God is crying.’ And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is ‘probably because of something you did.’” And right now, I will say melodramatically, it feels that personal. Like I must’ve done something to offend the sky god to unleash such a downpour.
And if I’ve learned anything thus far in my thirty-six-year, four-month, and two-week existence, I’ve learned that such intense feeling can be not only a royal pain in the ass, but also a blatant bull-horn-in-the-ear kind of wake-up call, an invitation to be present, and perhaps, if I turn up the heat and towel myself off to get calm and clear enough, a full-frontal, Joseph-Campbell-style, epic call to adventure.
Oh my, that even sounds better. Sobbing and sniffling in the wet pit of despair doesn’t sound nearly as fun as making myself the heroine of a grand adventure. So let’s do that.
And so if we do that, where do we find our heroine today? Well, we find our heroine ready to meet her guide. If she’s got to traverse the seven layers of hell, she might as well have a beautiful tour guide, right? Or at least a wise and kind one who will meet with her once a week for an hour. So our heroine is in the process of bravely sending out emails to potential guides in the hopes of finding a good fit. And she didn’t get to this place easily.
Despite the fact that I’ve gone through enormous loss and change in the last eight months—moving across the country, facing the end of a marriage en route, starting over in a new city, losing a job, starting a business, diving headfirst into a writing career—I’ve clung to the idea that I should be able to navigate it all by my own power. And I will give myself credit—I’ve done a good job getting this far. I’ve downward-doggedly done yoga, I’ve written out my pain, I’ve ritualized letting go, I’ve talked it all to death and cried it all to death with some of the most amazingly supportive people I’m blessed to call friends, I’ve gotten acupuncture, I’ve been to a naturopath. And now here I am, nine months after what I see as the biggest loss–the relationship–, still listening to the nasty and judgmental part of myself throwing taunts like poison darts, things I’d never say to anyone else but somehow let me say to myself, things like, “Surely, you’re evolved enough that you can see the greater good here and be moving forward” and the simple, yet effective zinger, “Shouldn’t you be over this by now?”
Up until this point, I’ve often been responding to the bullying by stepping to: Well yes, you’re right, I should be over this. I’m on the job right now. No worries. I am moving on, you betcha.
But this week, in response to the zinger taunt, all I’ve had left is a very weak, very tired, head-hung-low: Maybe, but I’m not.
And in this moment, feeling like the seed that’s been drenched and flushed up out of the soil and now lying on top of it, weak, exposed, not even down in a safe place where it can grow roots, I’ve found the strength to realize I could use a little help to get planted again. A little help, as in counseling.
I have to admit I struggle to admit that, in part because I’ve long held the belief that all that I need is within me. And if that’s true, then why would I need to go to someone else for counseling? I’ve studied pastoral counseling and learned all kinds of tools of self-care. I’ve supported numerous people on their journeys. I’ve even reluctantly taken myself to counselors in the past. So by now, shouldn’t I just be able to take care of myself? Seriously.
But now, in this vulnerable moment, I’m remembering another deep belief of mine, which is that we are all connected, that we are all one. So the magic in this moment is coupling those beliefs and realizing that all that I need is within me and that at this moment in March of 2010, another part of me, in the form of a counselor, might have a better view of what I might need to heal.
Honestly, working out this juxtaposition is making my head explode just a teensy bit. Thus, I’m not sure I’m articulating my realization clearly, but I’m doing my best and hoping, as I always do, that through my words, I might create a little sanctuary, a little balm for you, too.
As far as balms are concerned, I say that one at work here is the reminder that it’s okay to ask for help because we are all in this together. If you agree, maybe there’s someone you can think of to remind today. Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s me. Let’s all be guides for each other—what do you say?
And speaking of guidance, it feels appropriate to wrap this up with some final wisdom for all those of us feeling waterlogged, some sage advice in the form of another Deep Thought. Here goes: “If you ever feel like you’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown, just follow these rules: first, calm down; second, come over and wash my car; third, shine all my shoes. There, isn’t that better?”
Maybe this is Jack Handey’s way of reminding us that we’re all in this together. Or maybe it’s his way of offering one of those wake-up calls I mentioned, which, I think it important to note, come not only with tears, but also sometimes with laughter.
Thank you so much for reading. You might notice that I don’t have a space for comments, but I’m certainly open to conversation about what’s written here. If you’re so inspired, feel free to start a conversation with me via the contact form on the homepage of this site.