“Sometimes you have to say it like you’re not coming back,
and most likely won’t be invited.”
One of the twin beds was soft, the other was sheetrock firm; I bounced as I sat on it. The soft bed had a nice mushy pillow, like the one at home. It would do.
It was unusually chilly for July; a welcome change in Oklahoma, where temperatures soar into triple digits. I sat down, covered my legs with my hoodie, and adjusted the lamp next to my soft bed and leaned back against the mushy pillow.
Surveying my little nest, I thought about what brought me back to the Forest of Peace, this spiritual sanctuary. An enormous sigh of relief started at the tip of my toes and rattled all the way up my spine, pouring out of my body spontaneously as a knowing grin found its way to my face.
Here in this sacred place lush with vegetation, rocky hiking trails, blue sky, and a few other quiet souls, I knew I could begin to heal, and remember who I was. It was the eighteenth month of a journey through loss, grief, and gut-wrenching anxiety; I was finally feeling alive again.
Crisis is a tough land to navigate. We make our way through it at our own pace and in our own way. I retreat to solitude, go within, to grasp what has happened and determine how I feel. So, I was there in that quiet place to feel it all and discern the path ahead.
For the most part, I believe grateful people are joyful people. But even those who practice gratefulness can be profoundly sad, anxious, scattered, and slip into crazyland for a while. How do you crawl out of the chasm, recover from the belly flop your life has become, from eating chocolate chip cookie dough from the bowl and chasing it with wine from a sippy cup?
I try not to dissolve into that whiny-ass, self-absorbed navel-gazer, but sometimes I do let her out of the closet. Life is precarious. I see news clips and read stories on social media of families devastated by the lousy behavior of others. All the craziness! I do think folks are less sane these days.
With a degree in crazy, granted by the college of Poor Choices and Associations, I know crazy. There is that delightful kind of crazy when one is crazy fun on the surface but grounded beneath. Then we have the other type, those who have learned to “act” whole, but are extremely unstable at their core, who drain you of vitality, peace, and hope, whose intent is questionable. This is physically and spiritually exhausting.
The afore rant is another reason I chose the solitude of the monastery back in July 2015. I was clearly not working and playing well with others at the time. Calm down girl, it’s just a blog. Get back to gratitude.
Focused attention on gratitude does nudge you out of emotional fatigue. Jesus was most likely emotionally fatigued but gave thanks at every turn. Think of the craziness that surrounded his life! He had a unique gift of sanity despite his circumstances. He had to choose to be grounded, and so do we.
He reminded us to draw a line in the sand, decide who we are. No, life is not generally black and white, and the ability to compromise is a skill that serves us well; often negotiation is necessary. Having said that, we should also stand on principle; some circumstances are black and white.
Sometimes crazy is a choice. We can turn that corner into emotional instability and helplessness, knowingly not take responsibility for our own actions. We claim we “had a tough childhood,” or we “don’t handle stress well,” or “no one understands us.” Hell, we don’t understand ourselves. No need to take up permanent residence in crazyland, just vacation there a while. Remember, there is an edge you may fall over if you stay too long!
I know vitriol needs to be drizzled with a little honey to be palatable, but occasionally I am out of sweet.
More and more I see our lines in the sand blurring. Any betrayal committed is okay? Everything is okay? Folks, everything is not okay! It is not okay to assure someone who has done something morally reprehensible that their behavior was fine. When we screw up let’s take responsibility for our lousy inexcusable actions, pick ourselves up and learn something!
Yes, it is hard to stay in a quiet place long enough to confront our demons, harder still to listen to our inner guidance and commit to making grounded, respectful choices.
The immaturity ship has sailed. . . . time to make tough decisions, and say what really needs to be said. Whether or not we are ever invited back.
“once I gave up the hunt for villains, I had little recourse but to take responsibility for my choices …Needless to say, this is far less satisfying than nailing villains. It also turned out to be more healing in the end.” ― Barbara Brown Taylor