Ain’t nothing to worry about, really.

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Ain’t nothing to worry about, really.

I’ve been known to name self-pity as my number one pet peeve. I can feel empathy for anger, grief, even forgive lies and betrayal, but I cannot tolerate self-pity. Nothing lights my fuse faster.

At the same time, I’m a person who is undeniably prone to melancholy when the season changes, when cold and darkness encroach. Much of the year I’m flitting around, every bit as annoying as a fly at a picnic, spreading a ridiculous positive attitude or at least some humor, even if it’s caustic.

So when the heavy, dark, and sad turns inward on me, my pity parties happen alone or with just my husband as witness. They don’t involve many words or even complaints. They involve longer baths, more comfort foods, even later sleep-ins (I’m not a morning person. Nor a night-owl. I’m best from 10 to 2.) and a few tears…lots of cups of hot tea and guilty-pleasure television, curled up quiet with a blanket. Missing my cat.

I know that I have an easy life. Sometimes, the ease and joy give me guilt…because, why just enjoy the good stuff when you can muddy it up with a useless emotion like guilt? I do try to share with others my joy, as well as tears, to verbally tickle and warmly support, to send texts or cards or mac and cheese as a way of assuaging that guilt, as a way of trying desperately and unsuccessfully to deserve or earn my relatively healthy, happy daily life. Cognitively, I know that’s not how it works. But I am profoundly grateful, profoundly fearful of the other shoe to drop, and profoundly compassionate by nature.

I guess I feel that if I so abhor self-pity in others, then I certainly don’t have a place for it in my own head since I’ve already decided I’ve got an easier life than “they” do. Almost across the board, I do feel like that’s true. So I have to keep the sadness at bay, the dark and heavy that descends on all of us at some point, and not always necessarily when things are going wrong.

The tiniest little things, the most off-hand sentence thrown about, can help me with this. And that’s just what happened last week. No fanfare or explanation needed, just right to the heart of the matter.

Without specifically naming the concerns of that day, because we all take turns having the same ones in general (a dying relative, a global pandemic, a friend with a terminal diagnosis, unnamed anxiety about the future, a family member losing a job, and all on the same day…) I will simply say that one day last week, I woke up in the morning as I always do, next to my husband. Feeling my feelings, I curled towards him as I hugged my pillow, and said something like,

“I just wake up so afraid of everything.”

And with no probing question, no eyeroll, no valiant attempt to change my mind, he simply responded,

“I know, but I’m here with you.”

If you know my husband, you probably think of him as loud. Maybe funny comes to mind. Or if he has insulted or criticized you, which is probable, maybe a more colorful adjective. He is too full of confidence and candor. He tends to be a cynic. His positive qualities are innumerate, but I won’t list them because this is about how no matter what his snarkier characteristics are… there he was being Jesus. Being God.

“I know, but I’m here with you.”

Meanwhile, here’s me, the one praying daily for the Holy Spirit to “bless my words, guard my words, and inspire my words…” and it looks like that paraclete landed right on my husband instead, at least on that day.

Whatever is going to happen to me, to you, to any of us…

“I know, but I’m here with you.”

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