The Sacrament of Love
Awhile back, my 16-year-old sunk herself bone deep in despair.
The piercingly lonely I-loath-myself kind of despair.
I came and I went from her room, picking my way around crumpled biology notes and piles of blue jeans, offering every technique I could think of: have a protein shake, take a nap, hug the dogs, watch one of those “It Gets Better” videos, how do you know everyone else has such an easy time with biology, those are just thoughts…
She was having none of it.
I came and I went, and she sunk deeper, clutching her teddy bear, mascara tears running down her beautiful face.
Here’s the nub of it: my girl’s suffering was killing me. I wanted to fix it. But the more I tried to fix it, the more I convinced her there was something wrong with her.
Oh darling, such a classic mistake. Big hugs to myself.
I’d love to tell you I remembered right then and there that fixing doesn’t work, but no. I came and I went a few more times, and only when things got ugly between us, did I remember: stop.
Stop fixing. Stop moving, Stop resisting the hurt.
Open to what is here, just as it is, right now.
Without the “If we had not got a divorce” and “If she had gone to a Waldorf high school” and blah blah blah.
Stop. Open. Drop the story. Breathe. No forcing, no holding back.
So we sat, amid the biology notes and gum wrappers and Victoria Secret push-up bras, and I opened to my despair and grief.
Without liking it, without making the screaming desire to fix the wrong, without denying the part of me that was pissed at her for not being more resilient, without hating the part of me that had thought that.
Breathing and hugging and it sucked but it sucked honestly, directly, without any secret “get over it” taint. Something shifted, we talked, and then turned out the light and slept curled together, a dog on each side.
So it goes with our relationship with ourselves – when we stop fixing, stop going in and out of the room, stop giving ourselves endless advice to change – that’s when the sacrament of love dissolves our hearts, and we touch the peace and self-acceptance we were yearning for.
So next time you find yourself in a similar moment, coming and going and fussing with yourself, won’t you remember (faster than I) to stop and open to whatever is present? Including your desire to not stop and open!
~ Jennifer Louden