Rarely do we capture the sad moments in pictures. This picture was taken about an hour after an emotional breakdown, but in this moment I was truly happy, truly present and truly free. It seems whenever I have gone through a hard time in my life or sad circumstances there is always moments to find joy, laughter and appreciation for what I do have. And one of the most important things I have is the people around me who support me no matter what and help celebrate joys in life and stand by me through the tougher moments.
I have often thought that we have so many different people in our lives. We have them for a variety of reasons and we help each other in different ways, with unique and individual perspectives. One person we all need in our lives is someone to comfort us in our deepest sorrow but not let us dwell there, and that is what my “little” sister, Crista, does.
This particular time I was visiting her, in her beautiful hometown of Bend Oregon, and we decided to spend the afternoon at a nearby lake. I was going through a very difficult time in my life and we were soaking up the sun on the shore chatting about all things life..the whys, the what ifs, and if only’s, getting deep in our discussions, like we always do. We were laying on our stomachs and my head was buried in my arms as, I was in quiet, obscure tears the whole conversation, surrounded by dozens of other lake goers enjoying their day.
She ever so calmly listened, let me cry, gave me her perspective and words of wisdom. I finally looked up and she gave me the oddest look that was mixture of compassion and laugher. “Aww honey your nose is bleeding.” Having only packed for a quick trip to the lake, she handed me a sock to clean up. She was trying hard not to giggle too much and I was half laughing through my tears, at how pathetic I felt, and probably looked, in that moment. She gave me a hug and actually told me how sorry she felt for me. Gotta love sisters. 🙂
As I got my situation under control she gave me a swat on the butt and said, “Let’s go swim to the dock” pointing to the middle of the lake.
“I don’t feel like it” I replied.
“Come on, let’s go” she said as she stood up.
“Seriously, I don’t want to” I said firmly.
She adjusted her bathing suit and in her hippie, free spirited self, commented on how beautiful our surroundings were and how often am I visiting such a beautiful, serene space on this planet and have a chance to be surrounded by such nature. (She literally says stuff like this). Her positivity was genuine and relentless and she gently brushed off my comments and refusals. I was slightly annoyed in that moment especially as she started to walk away from me towards the water. Deep down I think she knew I would follow. As I looked around I realized I could sit there surrounded by happy strangers with my bloody sock or put one foot in front of the other and move.
I reluctantly followed her to the lake where she was already waist deep in the water. The water was chilly and the shore full of sharp rocks that were jabbing into my feet. This physical discomfort just made me well up with tears more, but ahead of me was my sister coaxing me along. She knew we had already had our heart to heart, acknowledged my pain and sadness, but being the smarty she is, she knew in that moment we could sit there and keep dwelling in my sorrow or change the moment and break out of that pain, even if it was just for a short time.
Once I finally dunked my head underneath the water, I caught up to her and we began doggie paddling our way out to the dock. The water was pretty damn cold and it slightly numbed my body and mental anguish. It actually felt refreshing and by the time we made it to the dock my mood had completely changed. We climbed on the dock and laid down. And it was beautiful! All the blues and greens of the water, sky and trees surrounding us, gave me a sense of appreciation and contentedness. In that moment I was truly peaceful.
And that is what I needed. Crista knew that too. I needed to get away from my all consuming thoughts and sadness and for someone or something to pull me out of that mindset. In the moment, I completely resisted. It was easier to be sad then snap out of my mood to be happy. Anything other than sad was too much effort.
To break through sadness and pain it does take effort, even when we know the outcome can be happiness, it is still extremely difficult. We have moments of hope and light that keep us going forward. And as time goes by, we can uncover more of these moments and feelings and can work through the pain and sadness, coming out stronger on the other side. Crista did not give in to my pity party, but she DID let me have it. She let me feel what I needed to feel, say what I needed to say and she did the same in return. In that moment it was time to move on, even if it was brief.
Our steps backward are as important as our steps forward in life. Sometimes they vary in count and sometimes they are great big steps or small steps in either direction, but ultimately they bring us to where we need to be. Crista gave me a few small step forward that day on the lake and I always keep that in my head when I don’t know what to do or which way to go. Just move forward and find happiness, even for a moment.