It’s amazing what goes through your head when someone says to write about the hardest day. For me, it was like one hundred flashbulbs going off, at once. All the worst parts of my life making uninvited cameo appearances in my thoughts. It felt a bit like simultaneously ripping off 99 Band-Aids at varying speeds.
There were, of course, the deaths of family members and friends. Painful break-ups, rejections, and profound hurt. The times people have thought things about me that were not true, the times that I thought things of others, followed by moments that revealed a much sadder truth. There have been days that filled me to the brim with shame, or embarrassment, or rage. There have been things lost that can never again be found. Times when I have cried from some secret place so deep inside of myself, that I could not close my mouth to stop the feral sounds of mourning coming from me. I consider myself somewhat of an ugly crier anyway, but I’ll take a run-of-the-mill ugly cry over anguish any day.
Some of these memories gave only a hint of hurt, while others pulled and ached, still impossibly full of pain and a lack of healing. But, here’s the thing. Those days are gone. While there is some residual pain from their goings on, their sun has set. No matter how sleepless the nights following those hardest days, eventually the sun rose and chased away the shadows that lurked in even the darkest of places.
I am here. After everything that I have gone through, I am still standing. Longfellow said that “Into each life a little rain must fall”. My life has definitely had its share of rainfall, like the emotional equivalent of Seattle, or Ireland, but less green. And honestly, there could be clouds gathering that I am blissfully unaware of, even now.
Today however, the sun is shining. I have just planted the first installment of our vegetable garden, with help from some of the cutest kids God ever made. Outside, I heard the birds chirping, and watched as little fingers that share my DNA made the tiniest impressions in the soil, then carefully counted exact numbers of little seeds, and placed them delicately into the darkness of the dirt. I heard my children’s little voices rising and falling with excitement and a hushed awe that we are actually growing something. I felt it, too; got swept up in the hopeful current that they live in, and let myself be washed away with them. Then our minds swam with the possibilities, as we reveled in the knowledge that we are looking forward to something together.
Since I have just come inside from those golden shores, I don’t have it in me to write about a hard day, and certainly not the hardest, though there have been so many. Today, my heart has found a reprieve. I need to enjoy this place of rest. It is, after all, exactly where I have wished I could be, on those hardest of days, when joy feels completely out of my reach. Boring can be good. Happiness is even better.
The hardest days will come and go. May life find me here in between, dirt-smudged and content, holding on to the ones that matter.