The spoken word does not come easily to me. My thoughts and ideas become jumbled and knotted, and I have found silence to be not only a friend — but an enemy as feelings rage inside. Only in written form do my sentiments begin to take form, my mind easing notions through my fingers on the keyboard as I untangle the knots – knit, knit, purling the strands into something that actually makes sense.
Often in times of depression and stress, my emotions become twisted and wound so tightly that my heart hides beneath a tight snarled ball of messy, complicated disorder. It is during these times that I hide beneath my silence. The world won’t see the crashing waves and unsettled energy within. There is an ocean of tears hiding there.
Last week, my mood heavy, I sat between my grandchildren watching the newest version of every little girl’s fairytale, Cinderella. Like the age old story, there were mice and pumpkins and glass slippers. But in this adaptation, Ella in all of her innocent charm, kept her spirit up by the reminder her mother left her. “Have Courage and Be Kind.”
These four little words stuck with me. This advice resounded in my heart, and as I drove the eight hour trip home with a raging migraine, I repeated, “Be strong, be kind. Be strong, be kind.”
I am not strong. My strength has leaked out little by little over the years. The idea suddenly came to me — strength is not necessarily courage. Courage is getting up in the morning when hiding beneath the covers seems the sensible thing to do. Courage is going to the grocery store and forcing a smile when that ocean rages underneath. Courage is just living life with all its fears and confusion. Courage is finding joy in the ordinary.
I have heard the two things we need most — but do the least — during times of depression are prayer and exercise. I find myself praying and eating chocolate. Too unsettled to sit and write.
My prayers were answered with a call from my daughter. She is strong and deliberate, and she does not hide beneath her words. She helped me unscramble my feelings so I might see the reality of the situation. Through her courage, I was able to see past feelings of guilt, (why do we insist on taking the weight of the world on our shoulders) and shrug away some of the heaviness holding me down.
She pointed out that I might be praying for the wrong thing, and she was right. How often do we pray for every one else, but forget to pray for ourselves…Being kind means being kind to ourselves, too.
She also told me to try to unwind and do something I really enjoy. So, in the wee hours of the morning, I am sitting with a warm mug of my favorite Harney and Sons “Paris” tea, inhaling the mild floral scent. I am watching the brilliance of the rising sun. I am knit, knit, purling my woes away as I tap away on my keyboard, weaving my words into something I can understand. I find comfort in my husband, my family, my dog. And I am smiling. I intend on going on a nice long ride on my pink bike today, and I will soak up the warm autumn sun before curling up with a good book, some lovely yarn and needles…and some more chocolate. Thank you, daughter mine!