Those steel-colored clouds--so very heavy with fragrant, autumn rain--have perfectly mimicked my mood. Thunder storms have rolled in over the mountains I love, overwhelming the valley and my positive perspective. Looking out my smudged and dripping window, I can't see the mountain's heavenward peaks. Looking at my kitchen calendar -- with tasks to do and problems to solve -- I can't see the end of a long day, a long week.
Because I feel sad.
There. I said it. I feel sad.
Life is so often riddled with challenges and heartbreak. My autistic son is socially struggling in school. He meets with a school counselor and a speech therapist weekly. Soon an occupational therapist will join his "special needs" entourage. He still wears a pull-up because potty-training has been an unpredictable, ongoing, two-year battle for us. For every figurative step forward my little boy takes, his "puppy-dog" feet take him two steps back.
In a moment when I recognized the end of my rope--it's frazzled and fraying edges slipping in my hands--I did the only thing a young girl trapped in a woman's body can do. I texted my mother:
"I've had a long week. And I'm just so dang sad this week. Sad I have an autistic son. Sad I feel like I'm failing as a mother. Sad my kids are sick. Sad I don't feel that good myself. I sound so ungrateful, don't I?! Anyway, thanks for being there for me."
Her response--like sunbeams breaking through the clouds--was perfection in a light gray text box; exactly what my dreary heart needed:
"So sorry. It's okay to feel sad this week...because next week will be better."
She didn't tell me to chin up or buck up. She didn't try to fix my problems by telling me what I needed to do to fix them myself. Instead, my mom said so simply (and yet, so beautifully), "It's okay." It is okay. She had given me the permission I needed to allow myself to "feel what I feel."
And sometimes we need to do just that--we need to let ourselves feel what we are feeling because our feelings are valid and real. When we acknowledge them, when we give ourselves permission to accept them, we take that first baby step towards healing our hurt. And in healing the hurt we eventually become more refined; braver, stronger, better. In time we can pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off--moving forward with a cleansed spirit and a brighter hope.
Because skies change. Because clouds shift and move. Because next week will be better.
Rainy days don't last forever.