Saturday, May 14, 2016

bottle. it. up.

You know those days....those perfect days?  The ones where all feels right with the world, and joy trickles down to the deepest part of your soul?  Yeah.  Those days.  Don't you just wish you could bottle them up?  Me too.

I had one of those days this past week.  Ironically, it came at the end of a not-so-great day.  I had wasted a perfectly beautiful day by wallowing in guilt, regret, and self-pity.  You see, even when we get any significant amount of clean time, the consequences from our addiction still exist.  This just so happened to be one of those days when that reality hit me in the face like a two-ton brick.  Instead of dealing with those feelings I was having, I slept.  Because, I guess that's what I've always done. But, at around four o'clock, I had the sudden desire/motivation to make the day better, and I set out to do that.  I tried to convince myself that I was a day late and a dollar short on making the day count, but I "de-convinced" myself of that real quick.

I hadn't prepared anything for dinner (remember, I was sleeping), so I looked through the fridge and cabinets and threw together some leftovers from the night before and added some fresh mac and cheese to our smorgasbord.  We were just sitting down to eat, when one of our best friends came in to drop two of his girls off.  We invited him to eat our impromptu dinner with us, and he accepted.  We ate, talked, and, of course, laughed and sang a couple of old gospel songs (yes, we are really weird). He left, and I asked the kids if they wanted to go feed the fish.  I have no clue what possessed me to do that, as we have lived here for nearly five years and I have never fed the fish.  We filled two plastic bowls with fish food and headed down the hill to the pond.  I watched the two older girls run ahead, laughing and utterly carefree, while my three-year-old best friend held my hand.  We got to the pond, took the lids off the bowls, and started tossing the food out into the pond.  We have a rather large pond, and I figured it would take a while for the fish to start appearing.  However, within just a minute or two, I saw a small piece of food disappear, and little circular ripples began to appear on the surface of the water.

That immediately triggered a I hadn't thought about in quite some time.  I was a little girl, walking across the road at my Papaw and Mamaw VanMeter's house to go to the pond with Papaw.  I had never been fishing before, and he tried to tell me the basics and the rules.  He stressed that the most important thing I should do is not make noise.  If you know me well, you know that I love to talk and laugh and I definitely don't do it at a low decibel.  Thus, he reiterated that rule MANY times. I knew that he meant business.  This was serious.  Ok.  Must.  Not.  Talk.  We sat at the edge of the pond, and he cast both of our poles into the water.  We waited and I made a solemn vow to myself that I would be quiet.  After some time of complete silence (easy for him, hard for me), I started seeing ripples in the water, and he pointed, his eyes telling me they were fish.  He always talked with his eyes.  That was a day I wish I had bottled up, sitting on a shelf somewhere.

Anyway, let me dry my eyes and get back to present day.  We fed the fish both of the bowls of food over the course of a half an hour, and I watched in amazement at how they just kept multiplying and knew exactly what to do.  That big pond, and they knew to come to our little corner and eat those little bits of food.  God's design never ceases to amaze me.  The kids sat down and finished the ice cream I had scooped out for them before leaving the house.  The older girls went to the fence line to look for honeysuckle, while my favorite three-year-old and I laid on our backs trying to find animals in the clouds (all we found was cotton candy), while listening to Chad mow the field.  Another thing I hadn't done in a while (I also found myself swinging beside my daughter at the playground a couple of weeks ago bragging that I could swing higher than her...mature, huh?).  I then heard the sweetest little voice say, "Misty, let's have a best friends dinner party....with leaves."  So I sat and pretended to eat leaves, enjoying every single second (and pretend bite) of it.  The bigger girls came and sat down with some vines they had torn off of the brush line, and started making things with them.  I just watched, soaking it all in, trying to make the lump in my throat disappear.  How did I deserve to experience this goodness and beauty?  I didn't.  But, I got to anyway.

We packed up all of our belongings and headed back to the house.  We sat on the edge of the pool and put our feet in the icy cold water, then came inside.  My feet felt frozen, but my heart was thawed.

I covered cold kids with blankets, fetched drinks and snacks, picked up messes, got out dry clothing, practiced a talent show song, and made some decorations for their props.  The other girls went home, I got mine in bed, and I sat and folded several loads of laundry, while Chad sat in the chair and talked to me.  I went to bed that night thinking, "Man, this day sure did turn around."  And you know what? I wished with everything in me that I could bottle it up.  Because, some days I need a reminder of what that smells like; what it feels like to breathe that all in.

The days that I have no desire to get out of bed.....take the lid off the bottle.  Mmmmm.  Fresh air. 

The times that I feel like giving up and wonder if I will ever really "get it".....take the lid off the bottle.  Mmmmm.  Sunshine.
The days when I feel shame and regret because of the hurt I've caused the people I love the most....take the lid off the bottle, and just breathe that goodness, that here and now, in for a brief moment.  Mmmmm. The sound of a lawn mower running.
The days that my youngest repeatedly reminds me that I have to get out of bed early to get her to the school for her field trip and I feel like I have failed because this is a legitimate worry for her.....take the lid off.  Mmmmm.  The smell of honeysuckle.
The days that I get her to the school early, with lunch packed, snacks packed, all cute and happy, and I pat myself on the back; then long after the bus is gone, I look over and see her souvenir money still in the car and feel my heart sink.....take the lid off.  Mmmmm.  The feeling of being barefoot in the grass; of cold water on my feet.

The times that I just need a reminder of how truly blessed I am (and not in the cliche way)....take the lid off.  Breathe it all in.  Mmmmm.

The laughter.  The smiles.  The conversations.  The twinkles in the eye.  The tears.  The lessons learned.  The kind words spoken.  The I love yous.  The pure joy.  The hugs.  The gratitude.  

Bottle. It. Up. 

And breathe it all in.  Then, be sure to put the lid back on real tight, because one thing is certain: there will come another day when you need a reminder; when you will pop that lid off once again and breathe it in....if just for a moment.

And, you will be glad, with everything inside of you, that you bottled it up.   

I want you to share with me as well!  Comment and tell me about a memory that you keep forever bottled in your heart.


  1. Love your blog... So honest and real. I haven't been an addict. But I have struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. I understand how hard it can be to bring the good feelings to the surface. They're always there just buried under the gloom and doom.
    My favorite memories are of when my kids were young. That soft squishy baby love. When I knew just what would soothe and comfort them. They thought I could fix anything. But teenagers... LOL they aren't sure I know anything 😃

  2. Lots of special memories from when my kids were younger... The past two years have been rough now but I'm finally getting back to a happier place. I love your blog Misty! Thank you for sharing your life with us.