Day 18: Diapers

It’s come to my attention in the past week or two that I am a bit disconnected from my heart. There’s a great deal of loss happening — both clear and ambiguous — but I’m having trouble connecting with it emotionally. The feeling I do recognize I am seeking to insulate from is fear and anxiety, and I’ve a strong suspicion that closing my heart off to that is also closing my heart off to other feelings.

Here’s an example of a loss that STINKS: all kinds of goodbyes are vanishing into thin air. Classmates, teachers, friends and acquaintances, neighbors, places, houses, experiences — separations have been imposed but no goodbyes have been said.

It’s similar to what happened to my family plucked from our home in Asia last summer. And let me say: it reeks. Like rotten eggs. Like sewage. Like dirty diapers.

But here’s what I do with dirty diapers: tie it up in a bag and set it outside the door. It’s not allowed to stay in my house. Which is great for dirty diapers, but not so good for hard experiences or emotions. Eventually the next step has to be taken, the stink must be dealt with further, or you’re not going to want to open your door at all.

I don’t want to be afraid to open my heart. In fact when it comes to my heart, I long for the doors and windows to be thrown open and the breeze to air out the whole thing. 

So rather than to bag up any negative thought or emotion to be dealt with later (never?), I’m going to try dealing with it moment by moment (or at least day by day). To name the losses — clear or ambiguous — as I realize them and to speak out the anxiety and fear of the losses that may come. 

It stinks to be isolated away from loved ones and for the list of people I may never see again to continue to grow. It STINKS to have experiences completely altered – like school or church or work or neighborhood play — with no telling when they may return to ‘normal’. It stinks to know some of your loved ones are at risk of a very real danger. 

When we aren’t afraid to open the door to our hearts, we can let the fresh air in. We can step outside for a moment and notice the breeze moving the trees or carrying the birds as they sing and glide upon it. We may find that the air inside shifts and we feel a little braver to be along for the ride.

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