When I was a teenager, on summer days when I wasn’t working, my mother sometimes encouraged me to “call a friend and go somewhere”. Maybe she thought I was being difficult, or maybe she was hopeful that something had shifted in the landscape, but she certainly knew the truth that I couldn’t make myself say: there was no friend to call.
Things are different now, of course, and I am blessed with many people who love me, but I still remember that girl, and some mornings I still wake up convinced I am utterly unlovable, but tolerated, mercifully judged and pitied. It is the ugliest of my moods. And maybe it’s related to hormones, or the moon, or an innocent comment from a friend I can’t understand or shake, but that doesn’t make it feel any less real. These days I know the best thing to do under these circumstances is to go for a run, or enter the world somewhere, or help someone else, or write until the picture of that girl fades once again from the foreground of my thoughts.
But she is always a part of me, a filter through which I sift the words, expressions, and actions of people. I question myself, and the motives of others until the picture is so distorted, I don’t recognize a soul. Then I rely on God, who sees it all, to right my boat and get it going in the proper direction once again, coming to the rescue of that girl with the ponytail and oversized t-shirt, reminding her she really is special and particularly loved.
Today there are many people I could call who would work with God to help this process along, but I find the only one I want to hear from in this moment is the one who knew me so well then, and before, and after. My mother. As the years stretch on without her, I mostly manage, but then days like this open like a chasm when no one else will do, and it’s the most helpless feeling in the world. If I called her today, she would know within three seconds that something was wrong, just from the tone in my voice, and within two minutes, she would say something like, “Kerry, what is it?” And I wouldn’t necessarily know the answer, but she might, and then we’d talk it through and it would be better. God, I miss that.
Instead, it’s a long walk with my dog through puddles, oppressive humidity, and spotty thunderstorms. And, it’s funny, even the weather is telling me what my mother likely would if she could: Darlin’, this too shall pass.