I was literally on my way to spend the weekend with a friend out-of-state when I learned that she’d gotten sick and was in the hospital. Another dear, long-time friend is going though a brutal “Hail Mary pass” chemotherapy regimen with hopes of buying enough time to see her daughter graduate from high school in the spring. And tomorrow, my brother’s long-time girlfriend will undergo surgery to remove a large, recently discovered brain tumor. It can be overwhelming. And so when man-made crises arise like terrorist attacks in different parts of the world, it just makes me crazy. Life is hard enough without people creating even more, preventable problems.
That’s why my heart has been really heavy lately, and my writing hasn’t flowed as freely as it usually does. But you know what? I noticed that I was allowing the heaviness and the sadness to wash over me. I’ve let myself be melancholic, feel the blues and the worry, without trying to stuff it all down with food. Cancer and illnesses and surgeries and terrorist attacks are crises, and crises warrant emotional responses. It’s a normal reaction to feel blue, to experience a heavy heart. It’s not normal to try to eat it away with food, even though that was my go-to coping mechanism for so long in the past.
If I could buy my friend 8 more months by downing a few quarts of ice cream with some homemade brownies, so she could see her daughter graduate, I’d be elbow-deep in Grater’s Salted Caramel by now. But it doesn’t work that way, and therefore, there is no value whatsoever in eating as a response to her situation…or any other situation except physical hunger.
You know what else? Though sadness, and even fear, are washing over me, they are not drowning me. The feelings aren’t destroying me. In fact, I actually feel better…because I’m allowing my body and my soul to react in a perfectly natural and healthy way. And that, in itself, is a victory.
One more step in my journey towards healthy living….