I am in a very weird place at the moment. The simplest explanation is that I am just exhausted; physically, mentally, spiritually. I want a nap. About 30 hours should do it, I think. HAHA. Yeah. Anyway, there’s that. I am tired and overwhelmed and let’s face it, I am probably not the world’s greatest friend to begin with, but when I am tired and overly hurt-y about everything, I am an even worse friend. I retreat, and then I wonder why I am wallowing all by my lonesome. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s delightful, except not really.
Fortunately I have a small group of folks who always poke into my bubble of burnout and remind me that they’re around and I’m okay. I’ve noticed that all of these people are non-local, though, which is possibly because of my Pavlovian response to email/texting even when I am rarely leaving the house or answering the phone, or maybe because I am easier to deal with from far away and in small doses. (I suspect the latter.) Locally, I don’t see a lot of folks when I’m struggling, which is surprisingly easy to do when you work from home.
This week I met a friend for coffee, though, because she was about to leave town for a bit, and blowing her off would’ve meant not seeing her for quite a while. Plus, she was recently diagnosed with cancer, and what sort of asshole would I be if I was all, Yeah, I know you’ve got this whole cancer thing going on, but I’m too busy despairing over the lint in my navel to see you? (Answer: The extremely asshole-ish kind of asshole.)
So we met up for coffee. As is often the case, once I get myself out of the house and into the company of someone I love, I feel better. Of course. (Not that it helps me to remember that, the next time. I am apparently a very slow learner.) This friend of mine is larger than life—always a ready smile, always a great story to tell, always ready to take on whatever’s next. It is next to impossible not to feel energized in her presence. My inability to cope with smaller problems in light of the way she’s take-no-prisoners-ing her way through this health crisis would be embarrassing if she was not also so very gracious and kind in response to my half-answers and attempts to pretend I’m doing better than I am.
It was just plain nice to see her, is what I’m saying.
About halfway through our coffee she said, “Oh! I brought something for you!” And she took out a large ring and pressed it into my hands. “We have a tradition in our family, when loved ones part,” she said. She went on to explain that by leaving a ring behind, or sending the leaving person off with a ring, it would maintain a connection even from a distance.
“Plus,” she continued, “you’re going to wear this while I’m gone and put all of your nice, clean, no-cancer energy into it for me. Then when you give it back it’s a healing thing.”
I slipped the ring onto my finger and admired it, while she explained that it had been her original wedding ring (“What a hippie I used to be,” she added). I feebly protested that she should have her daughter keep it for her this week, but she waved her hand and said no, it was my turn to do this for her. I agreed, of course.
It looks to me like a dove flying through stormy skies, over water; difficult conditions, poor visibility, and nowhere to land. I think that must be exhausting, too, except that a bird can do something I’ve yet to master: it can open its wings and—by being still—continue to stay aloft.
So I’m wearing it this week, while my friend spreads her wings out of town, and I am supposed to be magically filling the ring with good juju. I feel somewhat ill-equipped to do that, but then I find myself mesmerized by every swirl, every crack, every imperfection that still, somehow, perfectly depicts flight… and I think that maybe, just trusting I can keep going may be enough, right now.
Happy Love Thursday, everyone. (And to the ring’s owner: Have a wonderful trip, my friend. Thank you for your faith in me.)
That is such a wonderful thing to do… am sending positive thoughts across the sea right now to help you fill it up!
EEEEK! Mir you’re such a *real* friend. Someone who when she’s feeling all gross and non shaved legs, you rally and meet up with me. (okay her, but you know where I’m going with this) Here’s sending California sunshine & non cancer thoughts to the ring. And prayers and thoughts for your friend while she travels.
That is just such a lovely lovely thing to do. I just know that each time you look down at your hand you will fill it up for her.
I love that it was her original hippy wedding ring. It’s gorgeous! And so are you. And so is she. Notice how she is FORCING you to think happy thoughts and be all positive for the next week. When you pretend to be happy, often times you end up that way out of sheer osmosis. What a great friend she is!
What a lovely thing to do for your friend. I think you have amazing resources of love that will do wonders for her.
I love all of your love Thursday posts, of course. But this one was quite simply a beautiful piece of writing.
I love the idea of filling something with good juju. And I love that, by asking you to help her in this way, she’s giving you some good juju, too.
Feel better. (Also? Those of us who are far away would prefer larger doses of you, but will take what we can get!)
Lovely. What a great idea-fill it up with your good, fighting spirit and pass it back to her. Sending lots of good mojo your way and good thoughts to your friend.
I love what getsheila said – your friend is forcing you to be happy – like she just knew you needed help with that, even if you hadn’t reached out for it. I love this idea and the spiritual quality of friendships. I, too, have a hard time keeping up with friends sometimes, especially the local ones. This is a good reminder that we’re all still there for each other, even if we only get to high-five in passing sometimes.
It probably doesn’t help that your local friends are of the same, navel-gazing, let me wallow in my misery sort, huh? I went out to lunch with a friend last week and was amazed by how much better I felt just voicing my worries/concerns, etc. I should probably do that more often, huh? Apparently I’m not a fast learner either.
Here’s to brighter days. For you and your friend.
I think it’s a common affliction, the navel-gazing.
All good juju to you and your friend.
So beautifully written.
Can we just make EVERY day Thursday?
My gracious… that ring is beautiful!
Not just to look at, but the symbolism….
Please post a virtual Kleenex box on your Thursday posts from now on please :D
Awesome! Love. This. Post.
I. Love. The. Ring. Idea!
Beautiful example of how in asking for help – in the right way – you are also giving a gift yourself. The wonderful circularity of love – it defies all physics, doesn’t it, by getting larger and warmer and brighter the more it gives away?
Now, if I can just remember that myself on those days when I need to uncurl and reach out a little…
Aww, what a gorgeous post! The ring is very cool, and I think you did a wonderful job summarizing what the ring symbolizes. I wish her a happy time away from home and a soon cancer free body, and I wish many happy, coffee drinking days with friends. :)
Your friend sounds pretty darn awesome. Also, I do the same thing when I’m hurting, I isolate myself purposely, and then feel lonely. It’s very, very clever.
Oh, Mir. What a perfect, sweet sentiment. For both you and your friend, and for us. I think I would like to be in your circle of friends, by the way.
I think we help each other silently and know that each of us go through some periods in life when we just aren’t all happy and chipper. This post just proves to me that no matter what crisis you are going through and feeling sorry for yourself, etc. someone somewhere has it 10 times worse. I’m so glad you are getting the positive vives you need and you are sharing that with your friend. I hope all turns out well for your friend and I hope your spirits brighten up! Happy Love Thursday!!!!!
I find myself being isolated quite a bit lately. I live in a quad-plex and am friends, good friends, with every one of my neighbors. A short walk around the corner, maybe four houses, and I’m at my other friend’s house. But I, too, wallow.
I think your friend is doing an extraordinary job from birthing you from your bellybutton. What a kind gesture to direct your energy to something positive. Pick out the lint and look up, because the world is waiting for your brilliant smile.
What a fabulous idea! That dove will keep you both aloft.
that’s a very lucky finger to where that ring for that friend. she chose wisely.
Mir, :’-) Thank you for this post. Also your friend’s ring is gorgeous, and so are you, and so is she… I needed to read this today. Thank you.
What an awesome tradition.. and now you’ve been asked to be a part of it. What a gift it is to have a friend so dear that she feels this for you. You’ll get your groove back, Mir. All of this… too, shall pass. Chocolate helps.
Wow. I totally have the same problem of not learning from previous experiences, and not being able overcome small problems. The big ones always seem to be easier.
I totally love that ring! Forget being a hippie, that is amazing. I also love the tradition of sharing something to stay connected. I think that really does work. Good karma flows back and forth, we just have to give it a channel to move through!
Oh and chocolate is amazing. I am surprised we don’t have to have prescriptions for it!
You are a great friend, Mir.
The ring is beautiful.
What a beautiful ring! I do that same thing. When I get low, I pull into myself and don’t answer the phone or go out. Which tends to make it worse, because it is almost always better to go out with people. Hang in there.
Oh mi gawd that so answered something in my heart. Give love, give strenght, give the inner you.
Your first paragraph, how you feel, THAT is how Fibro makes you feel. I have never really been able to describe it without feeling like all I was doing was whining. There’s a reason you get paid to write my dear. Thank you.
And, I know, you’ll be OK. And maybe, Otto will let you sleep those 30+ hours this weekend. ;-)
I said a prayer for your friend just now.
If you’ve exhausted your reservoirs at the moment, maybe the rest of us can help you fill up the ring.
Really, it’s the least we can do in exchange for your words.
What a gift. From her to you and you to her. Lovely post.
What an amazing and inspirational tradition! Wishing you and your friend, healthy, restorative, hope-filled week(s) ahead.
(P.S. – I am struck by the beauty of *your* wedding bands again, Mir. Pretty, shiny, and absolutely perfect. Seems beauty and inspiration all around this week, no?)
Great story, you’re a fantastic writer. Your friends ring is rad..she most definitely was a hippy! Hoping for the best for her.
Hey! I’m around. And, you are okay! Now quit your wallowing and get up here to St. Louis! I don’t have any cool Holy Spirit rings, but I can give good hugs and make a mean margarita! And, spending time in the zoo of my family always makes everyone thankful my life is not theirs! Lol!
Btw mamaspeak, i was diagnosed with fibro. I am a physical therapist and cried at the diagnosis. My rheumatologist thought I had a sleep disorder that was contributing to it. He put me on ametrypteline at a tenth of the dose that is prescribed for depression to regulate my sleep cycles. Had some tripping dreams lol but by golly my pain went away! I know fibro is complex but just some food for thought. I am off the meds as I am pregnant now but pain has not returned! Praise God!