Have you ever had someone say something that stays with you longer and deeper than you thought it would?
I have these moments in my life where time seems to stand still and I take a deep breath and say to myself, "Oh boy. That's going to bury itself pretty deep into your snowflake sensitive heart. Get ready." It can be an image I see in the news, a sappy commercial or guttural stories about real life.
Several months ago I was watching a Brene Brown talk. If you haven't heard of her, please look her up. She's a sassy Texan social worker who studies humanity and vulnerability and in a nutshell has tips on being less of a turd to others in a humorous, real way.
In her talk, she mentioned a couple she was counseling who had recently lost their very young son. They said they told him over and over again to stop slamming the back screen door, and it was so annoying that he always forgot. After his tragic death, they would take turns and sit at the screen door and slam it over and over and over again just to feel his presence.
Seriously, just typing that is making me sob right now yet again.
I keep replaying a mental image of exhausted, grieving parents sitting in silence, staring at the floor while they reach for the slamming door to push it back out to make it slam again, as they savor the sound that brings them closer to their deceased son.
This image keeps resurfacing with me because yes, I'm ridiculously sensitive, but more importantly to keep me in check. Rather than turn away from horrific images like this, I am trying to let them in to force me to slow down and take life in and live each day a little deeper.
Each day of being a mom, stepmom, wife, coworker, and human in general presents me with challenges and plenty of reasons to complain and choose negativity for how life doesn't always neatly line up with the narrative I have crafted in my brain where everyone praises me for every thing I do and tells me how pretty, smart and funny I am. Hey, if I'm going to create a fabulous story in my brain, why not go big, right?
The reality is, people are annoying. You are. I am. That's like the number one ingredient of being a human. We can choose to get hung up on our differences or realize these are the things that make us us.
As I type this, my kids are in the other room playing video games while we're all at home on a sick day. If they were gone tomorrow, you'd better believe I'd be playing that wretched video game theme music of ding! ding! ding! sounds over and over to make them feel close.
Our annoying traits are our unique stamps on life. The way my kids can't turn off a bedroom light; the way my husband can't use correct grammar; the way I snobbishly correct his grammar--these are all things that we can choose to fight or shake hands with and know we're all annoying and need each other.
That's not to say we shouldn't tell our kids to stop slamming the door or turn off the dang lights for the ten millionth time, but this new year the only resolution I have is truly to have more patience and tolerance for the imperfect life that is before me because I am beyond grateful for it and the people who share it with me and put up with me.
(I've got some work to do, seeing as I just shouted to the other room, "Cecelia, quit chomping your food with your mouth open! You're not a farm animal." Baby steps, eh?)
If I can do that, each day will be a bit deeper and full of a bit more love instead of frustration and judgment, and a year of days like that might make me a bit less annoying myself and easier to love.