I went to bed last night and woke up this morning to a repeating chorus playing through my head:
“Love helps those who cannot help themselvesLove Helps Those by Paul Overstreet
It cares about those hearts that’s been put up on a shelf
It will introduce a lonely soul to a lonely someone else
Love helps those who cannot help themselves”
Of course, I had to truck right over to song lyrics and youtube to take a listen to it, once more. I cannot remember the very first time I heard it, but I remember what was going on in my life around that time.
I was on my way to becoming a mom for the first time. I was also going to be a single parent.
I was scared, and uncertain about whether I was strong enough, healthy enough, etc., to do it well, by myself, but I also knew I was not going to take any options or actions to avoid it, either.
The risk of missing out on the chance to be a parent when I had been told, in my early teens, I would probably never have children, well, trying to avoid what might be my one and only chance, to be a mom, thinking I could ‘wait for a better time or circumstances’ just seemed like the much riskier choice.
Neither of the two options available to me (abortion or adoption) were something I could live with, so onward I marched while some very well meaning people did their best to tell me how hard it was going to be on so many fronts.
This song reminded me of the goodness and beauty in everyday life, gave me hope and was what I listened to when I needed a good cry, after another long day, but had suppressed it for so long, even once I was alone and desperately wanted to cry, I had a really hard time getting started.
Which reminded me of a story my grandmother told my mom, and then my mom told me, when I was a young woman and ‘plowing through’ Life with my hard-ass face and hat on, because, well, that’s my own little M.O. personality quirk.
“I Once Prayed for the gift of Not Crying”
My grandmother was extremely shy. Not the best personality for one who is the minister’s wife. And while she did her duties as she should and had a golden, tender heart, her introvert ways caused others around her to speculate that she was ‘cold, or a snob’ or whatever other mean labels judgmental folks use.
It wounded her so to learn how some in her community chose to see her and despite her best attempts and breaking out of her shell a bit here and there, she simply couldn’t become an extrovert just to please the whiny masses –
But it hurt and she was tender hearted and she would cry a lot.
Which frustrated her. One day, she prayed to God that she receive help to not be such a cry baby.
And she got what she asked for.
But then, when she knew she needed to cry, she discovered she no longer could.
So she prayed to be able to cry again.
And she got what she asked for.
Memory serves that she was weeding the carrot patch when relief finally showed up.
And three years after my dad died, two years after my son died and many other family members fell into their own private hell of physical or emotional illness along the way, I finally was able to cry the way I had long needed to.
I was weeding the beautiful little johnny-jump ups out of a rock area at an Abbey where non-Catholic me had been given refuge for one blessed week.
That story and it’s beauty and blessings, can be read here. You might want to take a gander at it – it was written before my stroke, and therefore, is much better than anything I’ve written since after the stroke….
I come by my ways Honestly….
Despite having this information in my brain from a fairly early age, I still hit phases and go through long periods of shoving down the ‘crying impulse’ – for there are times, the hurt is so deep and so painful, I can’t bear the thought of even starting, for fear I’ll never stop and I won’t be strong enough to survive the full spectrum of facing it and releasing it.
I’ll just keep shoving it down and ignoring the impulse, right up until my chest and back scream at me so loudly, I realize I can’t put it off any longer.
And if I put it off for too long, waiting for the proper time that won’t impact anyone else, or a time when I feel strong enough to survive the opening of my internal Pandora’s box, if you will, and I find I am having trouble getting ‘started’, I have a little collection of favorite songs, accumulated over the years, to help the process along.
Tears of Joy or Tears to Wash out the Sadness….
Love Helps those still chokes me up and I have to be in the right internal place in order to sing it without crying simply from sheer beauty of the stories it tells.
It’s one of those songs that celebrates the most beautiful parts and actions of humanity (joy), and it’s also really good for starting the floodgates of those thick , goopy, globby tears which, I learned from a health care provider, some years ago, are really good at taking all the toxins created from deep pain, stress or grief and flushing them right out of the ecosystem that is being damaged by that nasty gunk.
You know about those type of crying tears, right?
The ones where, once you’ve done the massive first stint, unable to even breath while crying, your heart and chest and ribs all feel better, but your nose is all stuffed up, your face is all blotchy and you have a mild headache from the sheer force of getting all that gunk washed out of your body….
Well, I have never found it pleasant, but for me, over and over, even when I forget here and there, I know when I need the full body health flush and relief of a durn good cry. If I catch it early enough, it isn’t as messy of an operation and I don’t get as stuffy or have the headache for as long afterward.
My only goal is to try to get to the point where it doesn’t pile up so badly the cure is one big gunky, miserable mess to recover from.
I still am likely to suppress at first – then finally set up an appointment, carve out time and solitude during which slated time, I don’t care what I look like or how stuffy my nose is for the next 2-3 hours.
I PLAN for it, to be free to cry until I’m done, just in case I waited a tad too long. :D. It’s the one thing that I learned in Time Management classes from various employers that is actually useful for me….
If there is one consolation in my life, I am surely and slowing learning how to ‘get ‘er done’ a tad earlier each time than I used to.
Just so you know – this song was in my head because I’ve managed to come for air enough the past couple of days, to be reminded again of the pure & simple beauty I’m surrounded by, that I let pass by unnoticed, because I was ‘busy’ on one battlefield front or another, with my hard-ass hat on.
Fortunately for me, I didn’t have do any of this process from the medics tent, this go around, because I waited too long and fell before I just jumped in and got the crying portion done.
What a merry-go-round of repeats I do sometimes – 🙂