It’s a stunning Sunday morning in Colorado. I have a roast ready to be slapped in the crock pot, bread dough ready to bake, lettuce rinsing in the strainer, and am juicing a bundle of lemons for lemonade. The next thing I know, I’m sitting on the kitchen floor sobbing all the way to the obnoxious cry.
It all started so innocently. I bumped a lemon. Just accidentally rolled a lemon across the counter. As I went to grab the lemon, I snagged the roast still in its butcher paper and flung it across the kitchen island with extraordinary force. Before the roast had bounced the first time, my very picky, docile, 13 pound dog, Murphy, is transformed into a carnivorous wolf.
I try to step between the bloody cow butt and the Shih Tzu turned meat-seeking missile, and learn that cow’s blood between linoleum and bare feet is quite slippery. On my way down to meet the kitchen floor, I instinctively grab…at anything. I didn’t have enough time to think through the fact that two cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice in a glass measuring cup might not counterbalance my weight enough to keep me upright. So, the lemon juice went down with me.
I’m sitting in my pajamas on the kitchen floor covered in raw roast and lemon juice watching the dog lick blood spatters off the chrome leg of the kitchen table. In that same moment I realize, through the oven door window, my bread is on fire. It had risen so much it has rolled off the edge of the pan on to the heating unit. Consequently, a fire of wheat and yeast has commenced.
Welcome, crying jag. It’s the kind of cry that is dreadful, slobbery, and from some deep, hidden place. The kind of cry that’s been hanging out, unexpressed, in my gut. I can’t seem to stop it. The hurt rolls over me again and again like something that’s needed exhumed for a very long time.
As my pajamas continue to absorb the mess and the fire begins to burn itself out, I take a long, deep breath and am aware that the emotions I’m feeling are entirely disproportionate to the situation. Obviously, this situation is unfortunate in my already overly scheduled day, but it’s more amusing than painful.
What is really going on here? I’m aware that what I’m feeling does not match the situation. I’m aware that my emotions are inconsistent with the circumstance.
I have a couple options, 1) shame myself for having emotions equivalent to a five year old who didn’t get her nap or 2) be gently inquisitive as to the real issue being stirred in my heart. I’ve done the shaming thing many, many times, and it only serves to shove down any truth that might want to make its way to the surface.
So, what’s really going on here? Another long, deep breath. I ask myself, my heart, my pain…what is this really about? From the most protect place in my soul I sense a quiet phrase “you can be sad and safe”.
The ugly cry starts again, and my heart hurts. Even Murphy is looking at me with concern now.
I can be sad and safe. An amazing therapist taught me this phrase long ago, but I hadn’t thought of it in years.
There is a great difference between feeling sad and unsafe and feeling sad. When sad is allowed and welcomed, it heals, clarifies, and cleanses. When sad is shamed and disregarded, it festers, pollutes and infects.
What’s true is that I’m feeling intensely sad today. And, although I’d forgotten, I’m safe now to be as sad as I need to be, as long as I need to be.
Sad about all the precious parts of me that were stolen as a little girl because of the depravity of others.
Sad about the ways I’ve treated myself in an effort to cover up what was taken.
Sad about the unmet needs and desires that must be acknowledged and grieved.
Sad that in my very not-alone life, I sometimes still feel alone in the pain of it.
So, I’ll be honest with myself about the sadness I feel. And, I’ll nuture myself in ways that heal. I’ll move forward healthier, more purposeful, and joyful knowing I am growing. …at least a little.
The roast, lemons, and fiery bread dough have been cleaned up. In the process my heart found a much needed release valve for some long held hurt and pain.
Next time you find yourself on the messy kitchen floor of life, and your emotional response is disproportionate to the situation; you might ask yourself what’s really going on. Gather some compassion and breathe. You might be surprised what healing you find there.
You can feel sad and be safe. Even when your pajamas are covered in blood and lemons.