This week I was given a gift. It came from an obvious place, but is nonetheless precious. You see, the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling a bit down. Not seriously depressed, just blah. I guess if I were writing a country song I’d say I’ve had the blues. Perhaps my mood mirrors the drizzly, dreary weather we’ve had. Maybe it’s the anxiety I feel waiting to hear if my daughter gets a job offer she’s waiting on. Who knows? The gift came from the person who knows me best and has traveled a long way with me.
My husband is not a very verbally expressive person, particularly when it comes to discussing “feelings.” But there he sat with me last Sunday evening, on our sofa, as I cried without any reason. And since patience is one of his super powers, he just sat quietly, didn’t try to fix anything or figure anything out for me.
“Sounds like you need a break,” he said. “You’ve worked so hard for so long and keep everything together. It’s okay for you to take some time off.” Now this may sound like he was giving me some sort of permission. But actually, he was encouraging me to give myself permission. He knows how hard I push myself and the guilt I feel when I fall short of my own expectations. He also knows that as a small business owner I often work without the rewards and support he enjoys at his large company. And while I prefer to work for myself, it’s often a bit lonely and can be isolating for an extrovert.
That night I slept well and when I woke on Monday morning, lo and behold, the sun was blazing! After my morning run and some breakfast, I worked in my vegetable garden for a couple of hours and then proceeded to knock off some chores, had a business meeting, walked the dog and made a nice dinner for us. All the while, I felt lighter, sunnier, more relaxed than I have in weeks. And when I got up on Tuesday, I felt even better. And even though the dreary weather has returned, this has been a good week.
I realized by Wednesday that my dear husband had, in fact, given a gift. He gave me the gift of forgiveness and acceptance. That is, the room and encouragement for me to forgive and accept myself. As I’ve written before, being the responsible one who always has it all together can take a toll. And without even realizing it, I’d started to buckle under the weight of all that responsibility. I’d run out of emotional fuel and needed to replenish my tank. Thank god he who is not always very perceptive or communicative found those things at just the right time when I needed him. And thank god I was able to hear and absorb his message.
We’ve been married a very long time and have grown up together. People often ask us to share our secret for a long marriage. If there is a secret, I’m sure I don’t know it. I do believe we are a good match. But the rest is for another day. I will end with something my dad used to say to my mom. He’d look at her lovingly, with a huge smile and say, “Sweetie, you’re the greatest.”
What’s a gift you’ve been given recently?