I found myself crying in Barnes and Noble the other day. I know. I know. How ridiculous! It wasn’t what Oprah calls her “ugly cry,” just a soft tear or two escaping, hopefully unnoticed by shoppers with gift cards to spend on lattes and The Atlantic Monthly. The tears were tears of frustration, the worst kind. I would much rather cry from something tangible, something hard and painful and worthy, than to cry from frustration. See? Even the reason for my crying was unsatisfying.
I’m not sure if I can articulate the frustration to you here, and it’s probably not important. It’s not why I blog. I’m writing today because of the thought that lifted me out of the funk. As I sat ignoring my tea and longing for relief, I remembered the Saint Francis poem. . . it is in giving that we recieve. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned. It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life. A tiny bit of air creeped in. And I thought, “Give yourself away.”
Give yourself away.
I’ve been focusing so much in recent months on me, my needs, my desires, my goals. What do I want to achieve? Where do I want my writing to go? How can I build my public speaking business? How can I find more time to run? Me. Me. Me. Not now. Not today. Today my mantra is “Give yourself away.” Give youself to your children – give your full and loving and patient attention. Give yourself to your husband, your admiring and devoted attention. Give yourself to your father in phone calls that don’t feel rushed. Give yourself to your co-workers and listeners and readers in ways that are open and unashamed.
As I had these thoughts, I took deep breaths. Fresh, light, forgiving breaths. I may have even laughed. Then I picked up my purse, chucked the rest of the tea I had let seep too long, and went home to play with the boys.