Unexpectedly, my carefully constructed fortress crumbled. Fears and anger, loss and blame poured out of me, unfortunately in the direction of my innocent husband. Soon, frustration became tears and a years worth of buried stress billowed out of me.
I crumbled in the corner of the garage, perched on a paint-splattered stool, ripping open my soul. As I was spewed, I tried to stop myself, knowing it wasn’t fair and certainly not deserved; but, I couldn’t stop. Tears. Questions. Challenges. Hopelessness. Anger. It came like waves.
Just as the largest of the tsunami waves gathered from afar, ready to wreck permanent damage on my bruised shore, Toby whispered to me.
“Ellen. Ellen. Please. Just take a breath. Listen to me. Now, don’t get upset with what I’m about to say…”
“Toby,” I interrupted. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean this. I’m just overwhelmed, and feel like I can’t breathe, and…”
“Ellen. Listen to me. Please. Stay calm when I say this…
there is a little brown mouse circling your foot.”
Seconds later, as I found myself bravely scaling the ladder in the middle of the garage, my mind was clear and I was reminded of the amazing gift of my husband.
In our time together, we have had arguments and fights, just like every honest couple on the planet, and we’ve have certainly had our share of misunderstandings and miscommunication.
The challenge has always been to fight fair, to share honestly, to accept responsibility, and understand timing. Often, we need to tear apart a problem to uncover the solution. Occasionally, we need to reveal our pain in order to heal. Lately, we simply need to vent, and listen, and know that it isn’t personal… it’s life.
In those times, we also need to know how to pull each other from the mire of emotion that surrounds us. Sometimes, it’s with an encouraging word. Sometimes, it’s just a quiet, knowing smile.
Sometimes, it’s with a mouse.