It’s Good Friday. It’s been Good Friday for a long time.
It’s been a hard week. Things that shouldn’t bother me bothered me — a lot. Work, usually a place to separate myself from the heaviness of life, usually a place of laughter and camaraderie, felt too heavy to endure for another day. So, I asked for a day off — a mental health day, I said.
This morning, after my usual routine with the dogs, I found myself in my chair. The chair that held me through those months of sabbatical. The chair that held me during those dark mornings of winter. The chair that held me day after day after day. I am back in that chair, needing to be held again.
Earlier this week a book arrived in the mail. I knew it was coming, of course, because I ordered it. Book research, I said. I need to know what other books are out there about infertility that might be similar to the book I’m being called to write. Part of the reason I need to write this book is because there aren’t many — hardly any, really — that tell the story the way I’ve experienced it so far. But, I’d been told that this one might be close.
As I sat in my chair, I picked up the book and started reading. I took a few breaks — talked with my husband, did some laundry — but otherwise, I sat in my chair until the book was done. All 163 pages. During one break I checked Instagram and lo and behold there was the author sharing a video for today, Good Friday. She shared that Good Friday is necessary for Easter and sometimes we just need to stay in Good Friday until the time is right to take the next step into Easter. She told me — because yes, I’m certain she was talking to me — that it’s okay to stay in Good Friday. She gave me permission to stay in my sweats under a quilt I made in this chair holding me well. She gave me permission to not worry about “steps” today or getting “all the things” done. She gave me permission — as I had done for myself yesterday when I asked to take this day off — to just be.
Her story is not my story. And still I sobbed. I drew attention to myself because during the middle of one of those sobs, Steve, who is not supposed to be on the nice furniture in the living room, hopped into my chair with me and got comfy. I moved things out of the way for him to sit next to me, although I never really have to move anything, he’ll sit where he pleases, comfy or not! He didn’t know what to do about my crying, so he wagged his tail and licked my face. Are you laughing? Or are you crying? I can’t really tell. As a puppy does, he didn’t stay for long, there were other things to attend to. But he reminded me of why I needed him so many months ago. He reminded me why his presence is life-giving in this house.
I sobbed because I know what it feels like to have your heart break in your chest. I sobbed because I know what it means to have a partner who won’t let you go even though you can make it very hard to live with sometimes. I sobbed because there are babies and pregnant bellies and announcements everywhere. I sobbed because she has I’ll-drop-everything-and-come-right-now kind of friends that I don’t have right now (at least not in this state). I sobbed because she was willing to do so much to try to have a baby and sometimes I feel like I just gave up which makes me wonder if I really wanted to be a mom that much after all. I sobbed because it hurts. It still hurts. When it will not hurt?
Last night, Maundy Thursday, I felt my heart racing and heat build in my body as it was almost time for me to stand around that holy table. A few tears had already fallen and I knew at any moment the dam would break. Hold it together, I kept telling myself. I did until I got back to my seat and then I sobbed. The congregation was singing as I was trying to stop the snot from flowing. I don’t know if the woman next to me didn’t notice or didn’t want to notice. I get it — part of me wanted to be noticed but mostly not because I knew if someone hugged me I may not stop crying.
We processed as we sang “Were You There?” and every time we got to the word tremble, I felt my chin shake and I had to stop singing. I kept my head down and walked out quickly. No one noticed me, which was okay and not okay. I felt myself already entering Good Friday — I mean, I do prefer to be early.
It feels right that today is cold and gloomy. If it were sunny and warm I’d want to be outside. I’d want to take walks and do it all. Instead, I’m inside wrapped up in a quilt in my comfy chair with no nagging thoughts of You really should take advantage of the day…
I don’t always feel Good Friday, but today I do. I’m grateful I gave myself the gift of this day — to be still and quiet, to cry and rest, to honor the feelings I’ve felt this week. I hope I can always be this kind to myself.