Have you ever tried putting a huge bunch of balloons in the back of your car? The floating mylar and rubber fighting you as you try and contain them for transport? Just as you get a few inside and go to add a couple more, the ones you thought you had wrangled find their way free again. You battle them as that dance replays itself several times until you’re about to lose your cool, frustrated with your inability to keep them together so you can be on your way.
That’s exactly how I’d best describe my emotions over the past couple of months, as a relationship I believed with every ounce of my soul would last forever slipped out of my hands. I’ve bounced around between anger, sadness, acceptance and back again. Repeat. I get impatient and frustrated. All I want to do is contain these “balloons” and be on my way.
On Friday night, I hit the road after work and pointed my car towards the country. The city got smaller and smaller in my rear-view and I turned the volume up on my car’s speakers a little louder. The beat of my “angry” playlist pulsated through me as I pushed the right pedal down a little further. I started feeling better with every mile I put between me and Minneapolis.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a city girl through and through, but sometimes I get burned out on the chaos and routine. Sometimes I need a few days away to come back with fresh eyes and love for the hustle and bustle.
I spent the weekend playing with my nephew and reading a book that has stirred up a lot of things inside of me. Things I will write about in a later post. Important things. My point being now, is that this weekend, I paused. I stopped trying to shove “balloons” in my “car.” Instead, I let them bounce around for a little while as I took a step back and just examined them. Rather than reacting to which ever one was flying at me first, I looked at them in their entirety.
When I slid into my car this morning to head home, I thumbed down to a playlist I’ve had a hard time listening to lately and hit ‘play’. I set my cruise control and let the music wrap around me as I sailed through the countryside towards the highway.
Three tunes into the set, a song I haven’t been able to listen to at all in the past 25 days started to creep out of the speakers. I reached over with a sense of urgency and picked up my iPhone to skip past it, but a wave of calm came over me before I could hit that little white arrow. I set my phone back down and let the song play. It’s a song I’ve heard a million times before, but in that moment it felt like it was the first time; it’s meaning taking a deeper level. I listened to it a few more times before letting the mix continue.
My mind churned with each mile that passed beneath me. I thought about the book I’ve been reading. I thought about my relationship lost. I thought about the future ahead of me. I thought about everything in between those things and beyond. Somewhere along the way, I released the anger that’s had its claws clamped in me for weeks. I could literally feel it letting go.
As the city skyline came into view, I felt calmer than I had when I left two days earlier. I even smiled a little as memories from the past year replayed in my mind. I felt grateful to have made them.
I realized over the past 180 miles that I had to stop fighting with balloons and just set them free.
“There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin […]. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. […] What I know about love and believe about love and giving ones heart began in this.” – C.S. Lewis