Love Thursday-ish

I know it's Saturday.

But here's the thing. Someone did something insensitive to me yesterday and it really hurt me. I'm not going to write about it because I would never use my craft to hurt someone or seek revenge, and also because, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't that big of a deal. Mostly just thoughtless, with a small side of petty. But it was a bad day and my heart is still very sore and given all the other sad/stressful stuff going on in my life right now, it felt a lot like kicking me when I am already down.

So, my response is to do the thing I do when I am nervous or in despair or doubting myself. I know this will sound strange but I do this thing where I visualize the blessings of my life--all the things I cherish most-- as pieces of rich, heavy fabric. I list them out and each blessing gets its own piece of fabric. And then in my mind, I weave them into a fabulous, heavy cloak and I wrap it around myself. Nothing can touch me under that cloak.

It's kind of a cousin to the Joy Rush list, only more of a defensive measure, I guess. Because these are the things that nothing--small or large acts of ugliness, ridiculously spastic moments of embarrassment, blatant rudeness or cruelty--NOTHING can take away from me.

So anyway, here's a partial look at my list:

1. My husband. I would gush here's embarrassing. Suffice to say that he is the best man on this PLANET for me and I am so eternally grateful that, through some completely undeserved good luck, he actually seems to love me, too. The years we have been together have been the happiest of my life.

2. My kids. Every day, I get the biggest kick out of how smart and creative and beautiful they are. Again, total gifts from God. I'm such a lucky mom.

3. My family. My parents, obviously, but also my siblings. I'm one of four kids and we're not always that tightly knit. But I could make one phone call and they would all be here as soon as possible and they would have something clever to say (and in the case of my brother Tom, who is some sort of genius in criminal mischief, do) to anyone who is mean to me. I always rail against people who say that the youngest child in a family is spoiled beyond all measure but my siblings spoiled me in a whole different way. They gave me unconditional acceptance and support. I like them.

4. My friends. It's funny, it took me until I was in my thirties before I felt like I had really good female friends. One thing I've noticed through this move (and Lin moving to Colorado) is that distance makes a BIT of a difference in the frequency of communication but the friendship remains the same. I love you guys. Also, included in this category is my new knitting group, who are really the real reasons I haven't packed my bags and headed back to Texas. (Laurie, I love you with all of my heart.)

5. The Blog. I know it's sort of silly to count a BLOG in my big coat of blessings, but dudes, it's such a wonderful thing! I get to ply my beloved trade and there are people who actually love to read what I write! I have an audience! Every day, I am amazed and humbled and happy. Also, I think I pay more attention to my life because I never know when something will be blogworthy.

6. My past achievements career-wise. I don't spend a lot of time dwelling on things I did in the past but part of my cloak of blessings is the fact that I helped a LOT of people throughout my career(s). Plus, it's nice to sometimes remember that I was really good at something, especially when I fall down on a daily basis in my job as a stay-at-home mom.

7. Our pets. It's a tough time with my old dog Sydney being so near to the end of her life. And it was awful when I thought we'd lost our cat Edward after we moved up here. Cowdog Scout is something of a trial on a daily basis and Fat Cat Thomas WILL insist on coming inside to use the litter box. But, oh. I wouldn't trade a single moment with them. Not one.

8. This will be my last thing I list since I'm aware that reading about someone else's blessings may drive the average person to drink hard liquor. You long-term readers know that there are few things about me that I actually really like. But here's one: I am grateful that my fundamental response to any event is one of kindness and compassion. That's sort of a gift, you know? Because in the end, I don't end up detesting myself for having responded in anger when someone wounds me to the core. The other day, I was driving Ana home from school and she mentioned that she'd been a part of a not-very-nice thing that a group of girls had done to another girl in her class. I tried to explain to her that no matter how richly deserved, it wasn't worth it because of how it made Ana feel about ANA. Don't get me wrong, I have lashed out in anger and I have done things to hurt other people and sometimes I have to REMIND myself that this is my most fundamental response. But after 43 years, I've learned that it's a rare thing to greet stark cruelty and ugliness with understanding and kindness. And even if the person who was so ugly to me yesterday never realizes it, I have nothing but quiet compassion for him/her. (See? I'm not even giving this person's GENDER away! Dudes, I am so good at this discretion thing!) (Yeah, right.)

(And don't ask because I am not telling.) (Beyond the hours I spent hashing it out with my friends Tiffany and Lin, I mean.) (Thanks, you guys.)

So, honestly, I wouldn't even mention the whole thing now except that I thought maybe someone out there might be feeling a little down and need a way up. I'm pretty down, frankly. But I've got my cloak and I'm under it, warm and building strength to keep on going.


DK said…
That made me feel better, somehow, too. I think I'm proably less apt to drink hard liquor now, actually.

It's corny, but, I think the reason that cloak is so thick and colorful and strong is because of the fullness of the life you lead. Good things and bad, painful and uplifting, they have to go together. People who have bland, charmed little lives have nothing but a flimsy, beige, thin little sheet when the storms inevitably roll in.

I love that visual, the way you described your cloak, btw.
Miri said…
Your cloak metaphor is so good. You should franchise it. [grin]

It doesn't drive me to drink, unless it's a cup of tea while counting my own blessings.

And I'm sorry someone was rude to you.
Dawn said…
Nice article.......
Anonymous said…
Your existence is a huge blessing to those who get to be your friends. Count that too. Let me know if I can help in any way. You have my phone number, I think. I know you have my email address.
Mrs.Q said…
I can just picture you going to the grocery store in a full-length patchwork cloak of crushed velvet and brocade. May I copy the pattern?

Thanks for sharing your wisdom, humour, and authenticity. And if I'm drinking, it has nothing to do with you! (It's just chardonnay anyway, nothing hard...there was brie with dinner - what else was I going to do?)
I do hate days like that...I had one a couple of months ago, and it was all I could do not to crawl under my bed and stay there.
Anonymous said…
I cannot tell you how similar our fabrics is eerie. The exception being #8. I feel I do a good job of making sure that my kids are compassionate and understanding, but in my own adult personal dealings, I tend to be quick with the cutting remark in response to harshness and ugliness. Maybe if you have some scraps left over, you could share?
Karen said…
We do enjoy reading what you write! And I am glad to hear that your blog is part of your coat of armor.
Mokihana said…
What a wonderful post. Thank you.

The only thing I woulda added was that Edward came home...
Tenna Draper said…
Well, just be very glad that it wasn't one of the people in your list---and um, thank goodness they don't count for much in your life anyhow, right?
Ann in NJ said…
Hearing your blessings helps the rest of us be mindful of our own.

Your cloak is a much healthier response to adversity than others I can think of!
Bryan Wilde said…
Your fundamental response always being one of kindness certainly is a gift. A gift for you and for others. What a mature approach you took in dealing with your wound. It's a great reminder to me to diminish my anger in such situations with more reflection on what I have rather than what I feel I may have lost when encountering those who hurt me. I was just about to tell you of a blogger who I am really enjoying who offered the suggestion to "Make Cookies" when faced with challenging feelings. As I tracked back through my History, I discovered that it was you! Humor and blessings. I've sure gained a great deal from you in the last 24 hours.
MadMad said…
I'm sorry you were hurt. Lord knows you of all people don't deserve it! I hate mean people.
I, too, am sorry you're feeling low. Let me struggle with my Raging Not-So-Inner Nosy Parker just long enough to say, I admire your kindness. It's awful how even an undeserving jerk can sometimes get under one's skin.
Bullwinkle said…
You are wonderful. You know that, right?