Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Worthiness Wednesday #63 Make space for love
On Sunday evening, I opened my in-box to discover this email from Liz Lamoreux:
As dusk settles here in the Pacific Northwest, I am thinking about these words:
Sometimes you find yourself in a moment of darkness. You might be surprised to find yourself there. You might recognize it as someplace you've been before. You might be seeing a bit of light. You might be considering pitching a tent in the darkness even though you wish for another way. You might be visiting for just a few seconds. And, you might just be sitting in a doctor's waiting room knowing you are probably okay but feeling alone and a little scared.
At the exact moment that I read these words, I was in the emergency room. On my own. Knowing that I probably was OK but feeling a little alone and a little scared.
It had been a trying 24 hours. My little 'un had a fever and nasty cough. I'd had an acute and severe headache, acute and severe pressure behind my eye, a stomach upset, crazy scary head-spin, then had woken to discover that all the blood vessels in my eye had burst.
It was a Sunday. My parents and my sister were on the other side of the world, preparing for my grandfather's funeral. And some douchebag had let down two tyres on both of our cars, for the second time in four months.
It's fair to say that everyone in our house was feeling vulnerable, disempowered and afraid.
My husband had to stay home with my little 'un. There was no way we were taking her to sit in a room full of sick people for an indeterminate period of time, especially in her condition. I called my bff. She didn't answer, so I left a message. I called my brother-in-law. I knew that if I asked him for help, he would say yes unreservedly. But I also knew he had many sporting commitments on weekends and may not available. But I rang him anyway. He answered. He said yes unreservedly. He drove me to the ER in the grey rainy Sunday evening, in congested lurchy traffic. He offered to wait with me, and also to bring me home.
I declined, checked myself in, waited. Picked up my phone and opened my email in-box.
I read Liz's words. She continued:
Earlier this week, I found myself sitting in a waiting room feeling a bit scared and a lot weary. A friend texted me asking when my appointment was, and I responded. "I'm here. Waiting." She texted me back, "Squeezing your hand from across the miles."
And suddenly I wasn't alone in the darkness, I was just sitting and waiting with the love of my friend surrounding me, within me.
Sometimes the simple act of saying how you feel to someone else creates the space for them to say exactly what you need to hear. It creates space for those who love you to say, "You are not alone." It creates the space for love.
My phone rang. It was my bff. She had received my message and was beside herself with worry. She offered to come and wait with me.
I paused. Usually, this pause would be filled with stoicism. A polite decline. A dismissal of my fears as irrational and a protest that I would be OK.
And, in that space that Liz had created, I knew that while I would in all likelihood be OK, I did not feel OK. I was alone and I was afraid and I was missing my family.
I said yes.
She came, she sat with me, she took me home. When I got home, my husband looked haggard with worry. My little 'un was chipper despite her fever. We were all OK. We are all OK. I am fine, although my eye still looks red and quite frightening. My little 'un's virus is slowly abating. We're in the process of replacing our tyres, and considering what to do about that intense annoyance.
I can't say that I would ask for a Sunday like this one to come around again any time soon. But the gifts of the experience are so obvious that they hardly need to be spelt out here.
This week, I invite you to sink in to a situation that has you feeling sad, alone, afraid. Consider the pause that hangs in the air between the offer of help and the polite decline. Could it be that stoicism will see you miss out on something really beautiful? Is being seen to "be strong" or "have it all together" really more important than witnessing and receiving the love that your dear ones really have for you? Could it be that you won't even feel indebted to these loved ones for their acts of kindness, just incredibly loved and even more loving in return?
You deserve to fill the space in that pause with an unreserved yes. And you are most certainly worthy of feeling that love.
PS Liz's words appeared in her twice-monthly newsletter entitled Field Notes: Adventures in Creative Self Care. If you're not signed up, you really should be.