“I’m pretty sure this is one of my best gifts ever,” I told my husband as we laid peacefully in my hammock I received for Mother’s Day the previous year.
Not ten minutes later we heard a snapping sound and Jason and I found ourselves flat on our backs on the ground. Luckily, we walked away relatively unscathed, except for our heads feeling a little rattled.
That night, after the lights were turned off, I couldn’t help giggling repeatedly at the thought of our experience. It was just so shocking, especially after my initial comment.
Fast forward about two weeks. The hammock was rehung with new and improved cord and clamps. Jason and I decided to try it out once again. I felt just a wee bit skeptical after the previous catastrophe, but the evening was perfect for relaxing.
You can probably guess where this is going. Not five minutes into our brief siesta, boom, there we lay flat on the ground again, this time falling from a slightly higher distance and feeling even more scrambled in the head. A choice word escaped my lips. Sadly, I cannot even say it snuck out without thought. In reality, I had already had a minute or two to process the situation and I very deliberately let it fly. This was just getting ridiculous.
My fall struck a nerve. I sat down on the bench on the deck and had a good cry. Jason was probably more than a bit baffled by my overreaction. After inquiring why I was completely losing it (my words not his), I informed him that some days I just get worn out from trying to be positive.
“So don’t,” he replied.
And there’s the rub. I could quit. Throw in the towel. Give into my desire to wallow in the negative. But where would that get me?? Unbearable to live with. No fun to be around. Constantly depressed. Overall a bitter and unhappy person.
So, in my mind, there is no alternative to finding joy in the mess, but there is a small caveat. I must allow myself to be sad sometimes, and acknowledge that at times life does indeed stink…sometimes a lot, and some of us face way more difficulties than others.
Recently, I took my boys to see Inside Out. I was probably more excited than them to go see it. The movie did not disappoint. I shed a few tears…quite a few at one point. During one scene I was engulfed with the realization that I try too hard to avoid sadness. However, sadness is a necessary part of us. Through sadness we can find healing. This emotion is our brain’s way of coping with the negative in our lives.
I’ve lived long enough to know this truth, however I think it is one I have somewhat forgotten. I try so hard to see the bright side that I often don’t let myself go through the grieving process in a healthy way.
If you are experiencing a difficult time right now, I encourage you to dig for the joy, but not before recognizing and mourning over your trials. Emotional pain is profoundly real, and it isn’t wrong to be mad, sad, or fearful, we just don’t want to stay there permanently.
So, will I get back in the hammock? Yes, once I am convinced it is indeed safe. Anyone out there a knot tying expert?