Today... (A Poem On Learning to Feel)

February 13, 2019

Today I did not eat my emotions.

Instead, I sat and listened to them.

They spoke of profound sadness, deafening pain and suffocating grief.

I have been quieting them so long…yet they had so much to say.

I had no idea.

Today, I listened to each one as they bore witness to their own births

It was hard to hear

The skin under my eyes burned from the salty tears.

My chest heaved and bowed seeming to take blows so hard I thought it’d cave in on itself.

My stomach writhed in protest, spilling its contents.

But, I did not lull them back to sleep.  I let them have their way.

They reviewed my life.

They spoke of the jagged cliffs of grief, the long winters of loneliness and incurable malignancy of hatred.

Today, they refused to be quiet.

And I, in turn, refused to quiet them.

They brought boxes for me to hold. Each containing something I needed to feel.

A shattered heart.  Trampled dreams.  Love, unrequited. The sting of loss.

Although the boxes could fit in my hand, they were much too heavy for me to hold alone.

But, they stood with me and helped me hold them until I could examine each one.

Today, my emotions had something to say, and I listened.

It was difficult, but I’d been stifling them for too long.

I swayed as they spoke, trying to invoke calmness in the storm.

It was beginning to be too much.

I swaddled myself in the softest of blankets.

I breathed slow and steady as I listened to the mournful wailing of my soul.

But, today, my body refused to be comforted.

She bellowed and trembled as my emotions testified.

‘Round and ‘round the world spun.

My gentle sway gave way to an almost violent undulation as waves of pain crashed into consciousness.

My breathing…ragged and labored.

My back ached and my heart threatened to pound its way through my chest.

I don’t know if I can do this today.

Or any day.

Just when I thought I could handle no more, the waters began to ebb a little.

Then a little more

My body seemed to exhale and my muscles released their grip on my bones.

I did not eat my emotions today.

Today, I let them feed me.

Though their presence was painful, they did not cause harm.

Today, I sat with my emotions.

Maybe I will sit with them again, tomorrow.

– Lynnette

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Lynnette Bradford


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