When A Bad Week Brings Out Your Worst Self

by - April 10, 2016

"You doing any better?" he asked.

I finished doing up the last button on my winter coat {Did you get that? Winter coat? It's April!} and cinched the belt tight at my waist. I tried to smile. I tried to give a nice 'it's all good' but all I could muster was a grimace and a weak shake of my head. "I'm miserable!"

"How do you deal with it?"

"What? A crap week?"

He nodded.

"I cry," I said. "Sometimes you just need a good sob session."

He couldn't relate. {Crying's not for everyone.}

dare the boldness of joy

"I yelled at my kids," I admitted—more bad week confessions. "Like really yelled."

"Really? What did they do?"

"They didn't know what to do."

Because I don't yell. Yes, sometimes I raise my voice. I do get angry. But real yelling is very rare and this was a pop-a-vein-in-my-forehead-while-we-were-parked-at-a-gas-pump yell. They weren't even being bad. They were being silly. And. I. Could. Not. Take. It. Sometimes you just can't. And sometimes it all boils over and the moment it happens you feel like a worm but all you can do is hope they still love you tomorrow.

We drove home in silence after that. Me gripping the wheel too tightly and all three of them afraid to look directly at me just in case one glimpse turned them into pillars of salt.

They got themselves ready for bed. I didn't have to ask them to do it. 

"I'm sorry," I said to Noa as I tucked her blankets up around her neck. "I love you to the moon and back."

"Love you too," she said, quick to forgive and forget.

"Why can't I have a story?" Liam asked.

"Because it's past bedtime and I'm grumpy."

He wrapped his arms around me and dug his chin into my shoulder, trying to pull me back into his bunk. "Why don't you ever sleep here?" he asked.

I unwound his arms and kissed his face. "I love you," I said.

"Love you too."

Zander found me in the kitchen, filling the kettle, holding it together. Barely. "Make sure you get a good rest tonight," he said and he folded those long teenage arms around me and said a million things without saying one thing.

"I will," I promised. "Goodnight. I love you."

"Love you too."

And tears leaked down my face as I waited for the whistle of the kettle and in that moment I knew how lucky I was and how nothing was better than those 'I love you's' because in them was a world of forgiveness and grace that I didn't deserve but that was freely given and OH...the humbling power of that!

It would be great, wouldn't it, to always be our best selves? But there are moments it's just not in us to give. There are times when we worry we have no goodness left. There are days when we've been mined to the core and we are but a shell of who we want to be.

On the Saturday of Easter weekend, I became ill. Weakness. Headache. Fever. By Monday I had lost my voice and it remained M.I.A. until Thursday. I spent a weekend at a Writer's Conference instead of letting myself rest and mend. By the next Monday my illness was reduced to a cough and leaky sinuses and I had a dentist appointment to fix an old filling. Of course, something went wrong with the "fixing" and I found myself with a terrible toothache lasting from Monday night until Wednesday afternoon when they could fit me in to fix the fixing. So yeah, by Wednesday night I was dangling by my fingernails and all it took was one giggle too loud for me to blow my top.

Not my proudest moment.

It wasn't really until this past Friday that I felt the walls of misery begin to crumble and a bit of my old joy leaking through the cracks.

Hallelujah! Glory Be! 

Because thirteen days of misery is Not Okay!!!

I am a happy person. I have a knack for finding the bright side BUT even happy people fall down.

The real test is in how you get back up. Sometimes it takes a few days of crawling on your knees but the point is that you do find your feet again—eventually.

"There's a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

Leonard Cohen said that but I claim it as my own truth. He also said, "dare the boldness of joy" which is possibly my favourite thing anybody has ever said; in fact, if I ever got a tattoo, that's what it would say:

Dare The Boldness Of Joy

Because this world is rich with misery. It's up to each one of us to farm our own gold and mine glimpses in those around us. Joy is reciprocal and available to anyone open to receive it. So today I choose joy. Even though the sky is grey and more snow is coming and I can't seem to keep the fire hot enough and somehow I always miss at least one cobweb and our well pump is acting up and the cat keeps getting fatter instead of catching the mice in our ceiling...I choose joy. I choose to dare its boldness. Because I can't sustain myself any other way.

What are you choosing today?

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  1. And you did an amazing job picking songs AND leading worship practice AND leading worship This morning AND doing it well. AND with a smile. You are a a great person.

    1. Aw, you're sweet to say that. But it was a team effort for sure! It's helpful to be surrounded by people you enjoy :)

  2. Choose joy. Such a beautiful choice to live out with intention.

    So glad you are feeling back to your usual cheery self again.

  3. Lovely post (AND great photo selection). Really helped me today.

    1. Thanks so much, Rosie! Cheers to choosing joy. Every day!!!

  4. Some days the world does every thing it can to stomp on your happy. Ive found that after crawling on my knees for a while, bandaids with happy faces drawn on them helps.

    1. Somehow I missed this comment. Bad me! BUT oh, happy band aids...I LOVE that!!!!


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