On Sand Flies & Cigarettes

"When I feel sad, it hurts on my face. And I just can't stop my sad right now!"

-Caed, Age 4, choking back tears upon seeing his Lego creation wrecked twice in ten minutes by his little sister.


I am what one might call a short-term optimist (not to be confused with the eternal kind). I humor Pollyanna as long as possible, until I just can't take another round of the Glad Game. And then I crash and wallow like there is no tomorrow.

Today was a crash and wallow day. I woke up covered in a dusty film of unarticulated angst. The grime on my proverbial lenses obstructed every view of happiness, to the point I saw nothing of it.

When the sun poured through my windows, I sighed at the sight of dust on my dresser.

When my daughter tugged at my covers, I groaned at the forced waking.

The high pitched demands, the crashing of toys, the mundane and noisy chaos overpowered any whispers of gratitude or softly spoken blessings. I just didn't hear the good stuff today. And I most certainly didn't see it.

At the grocery store, I glanced skeptically at the register. "That bag of apples wasn't on sale?" I questioned, knowing they marked the opposite true. "Well I wouldn't have bought them then...No, that's okay, don't worry about it." Just add it to my bill and my list of offenses against the day.

Uggh. I forgot my earth-friendly grocery bags in the car AGAIN. Why can't I ever remember those?

Once to the car, I discovered the bread and potatoes in the same (earth-hating) plastic bag. And now I was as bitter as baking soda, because the bread was overpriced before it was smushed to half its original height.

I returned home. The internet was still down. Considering my state of mind, I wasn't one to judge. But complaining? That I could do. Lucky for the cable company, all circuits were busy, so they dodged an earful from the angry lady holding a grudge about flattened bread, erroneously priced apples and unreliable internet service.

My husband's plan to work at home was foiled by our no-speed cable line. The hope I'd been leaning on all day--a chance to run away from home during nap time, to clear my head and unleash my temper on the pavement--it disappeared as he headed out to the hospital.

I found myself cooped up, unreasonably angry, inexplicably impatient and heavy hearted.

A few weeks ago, I ran at the beach. Walking up the trail back to the parking lot, I passed a pile of seaweed, swarming with sand flies and littered with cigarette butts. It was the last image I stored from the otherwise glorious morning by the ocean.

I remembered that picture today. Because today I was sitting in that pile of seaweed, among the sand flies and cigarettes, in classic Debbie Downer fashion. There was beauty everywhere but in my pile of pity.

I knew I needed to stand up to see the ocean, to step away from the sand flies, to look further than an inch past my nose. So I went in search of stories being told this week by the Compassion bloggers in India. I read Robin's heart breaking words and found tears of a legitimate cause to cry.

I'm not entirely out of the woods, or the seaweed pile, if you will. As much as I want to wrap this post up in freshly ironed platitudes, I must admit my heart is still heavy and my patience still low.

I guess sometimes we just "can't stop the sad". Whether it's about a toppled tower of legos, a flustered day of fatigue and rumpled, impertinent expectations, or a soul crushing poverty stretching thousands of miles wide and millions of lives deep.

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