Did you ever hear something come out of someone’s mouth that rang so true that it slowed time, just a little? It could be truth, or wisdom, or encouragement, but when it hits you, you know it’s something you needed like a missing puzzle piece in the very depths of you and the only response is recognition.
A few days ago in the grocery store, I was grumpy-shopping, and there was a man restocking ground turkey into the meat case. A co-worker passed him and asked how he was feeling and he laughed and said, ‘not great’ but he kept smiling. The man turned to me and explained he had had a knee surgery about a month before and had blown the knee out just that past weekend. There had been four or six surgeries on that knee, he explained, and probably the next step was a replacement. I said it must be so painful and hard to stand and work on it and he said, yeah, it was no picnic, but what can you do? Then he turned to me with a literal twinkle in his eye and said,
“Into every life, a little rain must fall.”
He was a working man, and the flowery phrase caught me off guard, maybe, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. A little rain, he said. And the words plunged deep, past my self-centeredness, past my woe-is-me, and into the part that knows wisdom when it’s spoken. Every life has pain. Rain makes things grow. This is how it is supposed to work. We can keep our twinkle even in the midst. And I got it, at least for the moment.
Last night I was watching ‘Super Soul Sunday’, an old one with Brene Brown. I’ve read Dr. Brown’s books and watched her record-breaking TED talk, and I’m super familiar with her research and philosophy on shame, courage, and vulnerability. Until last night, though, I’ve never heard her speak about the stories we tell ourselves when we’re hurt, but when I heard this, well, she can say it far better than I…
You can always rely on Oprah for a word, right?
This morning, I had breakfast with my Dad and we were talking about my blog. I can always count on him and a priest friend, Fr. Joe, to read just about every entry, which is so kind. If you had two faithful readers to your blog, you couldn’t ask for nicer ones, really. Anyway, my Dad was saying that he noticed I’ve been hard on myself lately in a few blog entries and he said his reaction to that is always the same. He can’t read it. When I’m beating myself up on the page, he closes it down right there. My Dad said I was one of the nicest people in the world and he can’t read words that say otherwise, not even if they’re written by me. Maybe especially not then.
I am not sure my Dad knew how much I needed to hear that.
I am hard on myself and I’m hard on some other people, too, and maybe all of it is unnecessary. I felt such freedom in those words that I teared up a little at the table, which is also unnecessary, especially when there are beautiful blackberry compote, waffles, good coffee, honey roasted carrots and well, life, just waiting to be enjoyed.
Like the song says, a single word can make the heart open. I’ve received a few words over the last week that when you boil them down, are all about acceptance. Acceptance of my circumstances, my story, and myself. What a good word. filled with fresh air and peace. I pray to God it sticks, Amen.
Thank you, Dad. I love you!
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