Hooray for sunshine and sunny days.
(Trigger warning: depression and loss. However, we are going to turn that around with lessons learned and how to find joy.)
I’ve been struggling lately. Missing family + friends. Grieving deaths in the family. Grieving endings as we entered another round of restrictive lockdowns. At times, sadness and loneliness have overwhelmed me.
The black dog a visitor hovering in the shadows.
Yesterday I felt the light crack through. Yes, day three of sunshine and warmth definitely helped. Warmed me up for sure! But what really cracked through the shell of sadness was kindness.
I received an abundance of kindness
I’d sipped my tea, looking at the ocean and listening to the crashing waves. And I wearily lugged myself up to my office and opened the computer. The first email brought tears to my eyes. The good kind!
There was an offer of help. From a relatively new person in my life. As is everybody right now. Moving does that. And moving during a pandemic makes it hard to make new friends and acquaintances. Everybody is in hiding here in Portugal as we obey curfews and travel restrictions. Can’t even go out and have a cup of tea. No wonder my descent into depression. But I digress…
I’ve been having a struggle and someone reached out to help me. An offer of help, a gesture of kindness.
The tears welled, as I opened another email. A beautiful note of sympathy and compassion from a student. I had to take some time off from teaching as both my mother-in-law and my mother passed unexpectedly. 9 days apart. (And no, deffo not the C-word! Although, both of them had forms of senile dementia and I can’t imagine how scary their last days may have been.)
Then, a long-time colleague then invited me to her on-line Church Service, back in Ottawa. Next, a friend from Washington sent me photos of her and her son playing in the snow. (He wanted Auntie Jacqui to see his snow angel.)
As more loving messages poured into my various in-boxes, it was Valentine’s after all, the dam broke. The tears flowed.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a good crier. Although that’s not always been the case, I admit. But I learned how important it was to stop bottling up feelings. Did you know that they build-up? Leading in many cases to illness. Or, as in my case, when I was younger…explosions! I’ve learned how healing it is to just let the tears flow.
But yesterday was something else.
No dainty tears. Dabbing my eyes with a tissue. What I call ‘princess tears.’ (I’ve actually always been rather jealous of those women who can have a good cry, wipe their nose, smile and look like nothing happened.) Full blown. Noisy wails. Snotty, ugly, smushed-up face crying. That left me with eyes like golfballs, a rather red, sticky face and of course nose like a beetroot.
I felt blessed. So bloody grateful. Love. Supported.
And the black dog was chased from the corners of my mind.
I let the sunshine in
So, the photo is me. After I washed my face and popped on some lippy. Movie star sunglasses covering the swollen eyes. A little sunblock taming the beetroot nose. I went to the beach. Breathed the sea air. Stretched my body. Lifted my face to the sunshine and let the joy in.
And I have a few takeaways from this that I’d like to share with you:
Do not hold back your love. Let people know you care. As we never know what people are going through. A simple act of kindness can make someone’s day. And, if it doesn’t, then there’s no harm done. Compassion.
Don’t give up. Remember, Dear Heart, that there is always, always sunshine and rainbows ahead. But sometimes you’ve just got to stop holding on and holding it together so tightly. Allow yourself to fall. You will be caught. Trust.
And FFS ask for help when you need it. (Swearing emphasis is for me, not necessarily you. This is the one I suck at.) There are of course genuine jerks out there. You know who they are. (Mostly. Sometimes there’s a surprise and when that happens remember it’s just a piece of information about them. Not you.) As I said, mostly we know who they are. Don’t go to them.
Start with asking the Great Goodness for help. A simple prayer. An invocation to the goddess. Whatever way spirit moves you. Then keep your eyes peeled. And your heart open. The good guys will show up. Always. Vulnerability.
So, today I’m sharing my joy. Sharing some sunshine. Wishing you love and laughter. Especially now in these depressing and scary times. Connection.
A new circle of life: Compassion, Trust, Vulnerability, Connection.
If you aren’t subscribed, please do sign-up for my emails. (There’s a nice little link on the side bar to the right.) Join me for Afternoon Tea with Jacqueline. Sporadic notes and voice messages of hope, love and inspiration. A gentle uplift in the midst of a chaotic time. An oasis. A time out from the world’s uncertainty. It’s my gift to you. Paying the goodness and kindness forward.
Please drop me a comment below. Let me know how you are doing? How’s life treating you? Where’s your sunshine?