Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Messy Jumble

Oh, my heart.

I remember, about six years ago, standing on a rock in my back yard, talking to my therapist, who was on speed dial at the time. I was simultaneously going through one of the happiest and one of the most shattering times of my entire life. I was feeling, at the exact same moment, unbelievable wholeness and joy alongside a sadness larger than the oceans. I remember standing on that rock, arguing with her, about how I liked to feel one emotion at a time. I wanted to feel all happy or all sad, not this big jumble of every emotion all at once. She laughed, gently, and told me, "Life is a jumble. Life is messy."

I'll be damned, but she is right. These last few weeks have, yet again, been full of a jumble. A good man, a sweet friend, died a violent death, probably even as he tried to help the person who meant him harm. Another neighbor, a gentle father and animal lover who wanted to save everyone in sight, died quietly yesterday. Both men live less than a block from me, and I can scarcely breathe when I think about how our little universe has shifted with their loss. I also recently lost someone who meant the world to me, and I have to learn how the universe and the world go on even with all of this loss.

And yet, even with all of this sadness, I feel so much joy that my heart overflows with it. My son makes me laugh until my side hurts, and I stand in awe of the person he is. My daughter, my cupcake, keeps showing up and trying, even as life knocks her down, and I am overcome by her tenacity. My friends text me out of the blue and show up with hugs and wise words, wanting to make sure my heart is still beating through the hurt. My bestest friend in the world knew I needed the beach this weekend, and gave me space to put my toes in the sand and just be. My dogs sensed the sadness and just became snugglebugs, chewing on not a single shoe over the last few days.

Life is a messy jumble, all sadness and joy mixed together in a big confusing swirl. And we just have to embrace it, choosing to acknowledge the sadness and heartbreak, respecting it, while also choosing to focus on the joyful bits and pieces that make life count.

I have meals to make for families who are hurting, and a memorial service to attend. I have friends to hug and squeeze, and kiddos to smother with my love. I have life to embrace, all of the messy and chaotic moments that collide, and I hope you do the same.

Peace and love and messy moments, buttercups. Breathe in every moment. xx


  1. It's a hard time right now and I am a little bitter about how beautiful it has been outside because I don't want to have to appreciate nature right now. Also, I am so in love with our little town and it's huge heart. This really is a messy jumble.

    1. Yes! I want to tell the aspens to stay green a while longer, because I am not ready to feel their gold quite yet. You are right about our little town's huge heart- joy jumbled in with the heartache.

    2. This is exactly what I am feeling inside... Thank you for putting it into words, as I couldn't find them on my own. This is beautifully written. Xo

    3. Erica, I'm not sure of blogging etiquette, so I hope I'm not out of line by sharing that I'm sorry to learn that it's a hard time for you right now. However, I'm happy that your little town's huge heart has drawn out your love! - Stan (((BIG HUG!!!)))

  2. EJ, thank you for sharing so openly and summarizing so eloquently the messy jumbleness that is life! I'm sorry to learn of the losses you've experienced, but am joyful that you have your monkeys to lavish love upon and to be loved by as they bring moments of laughter and admiration into your life!

    I don't recall ever really considering moments as messy jumbles; myopically seeing either happy moments or challenging moments that would eventually lead to growth and happiness. Thank you for this new insight!


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