I had a really bad day this week. It was all work related, and left me feeling kind of shattered where I stood. The details aren't important, but the variety of ways in which people were hurt and reacting to it ran an impressive spectrum. I failed someone, someone else failed and wanted to blame me, another person is coming apart and forcing me into an uncomfortable position, I goofed up, floundered, and was left staring at a pile of work I had to finish and no longer felt qualified to do. I spent the day in tears on and off, and confronted with the reality that even when I do my best it isn't always enough and I don't really have much control over my reputation. I'm at the mercy of my community and my own limitations.
Ian helped where he could. He even brought the kids by the store after school just to give me a badly needed hug. I told them that if I could do anything in the world at that moment I would just throw all of them and the dog in the car and drive to the cottage and take a nap and eat nothing but cake for a week, and Mona lit up and said, "REALLY!??!" with such hope in her voice it made me laugh.
I'm doing better today. I'm still rattled. I'm trying hard to shift that sense of failure into feeling humbled so that I can move forward and do better, rather than be paralyzed by a haze of inadequacy. It's better to learn and persevere than to crumble, but crumbling is so much easier, and when you're tired so much more tempting.
But here's what I'm grateful for: All the places I could turn to when I was feeling at my lowest are all the places that matter most to me. My husband is always on my side. My children are a source of joy, not angst. I have some amazing friends who hug well. I still have my parents, and my brothers. My home is a safe place. My dog is only sometimes annoying.
I am fortunate beyond measure that in my life the relationships that impact me most are all positive. I know too many people for whom those ties are the source of their pain, and not the foundation on which they can rely. I am thankful my strength hasn't been tested yet beyond the reach of that support.
At least I can say that on a day where I had to suffer some humiliation I was still able to put myself into another's shoes. I was able to see how I probably appeared through their frustration and not make decisions based on my own defensiveness. I may make mistakes, but at least I'm trying to address them in ways where I don't have to feel ashamed later. I tried to make restitution where I could. The hard part is knowing that in some cases that will never be enough to mend the hurt or actually make things better. My great-grandmother used to say, "You can't un-ring a bell." I supposed I just need to learn how to harmonize with it.