Thursday, October 15, 2009

Broken but Better

Tyler and I returned to our car from dinner with friends the other night to find this.

We left our dogs in their little space in the back of our station wagon, as we have hundreds of times. Except for whatever reason, this time, they decided they needed out. They tore to shreds the seats until they were both able to squeeze under the grate, and when we came outside there was one dog sitting there, in each of the front seats.

T and I laughed our butts off at the two of them sitting there, like virtual driver and passenger, driving down the road together; until it registered to both of us simultaneously that somehow they'd escaped and likely it wasn't going to be pretty.

As these sorts of messes go, it wasn't pretty.

In addition to the damage pictured above, one dog chewed through the passenger seat belt, and little toe marks now adorn the upholstery on the front seats, console, and near the windows.

T stood by my side, laughter suddenly curtailed and mouth hanging open, and then quickly tried to rally the dogs back in his command as they jumped from the car and scattered in opposite directions to hide.

This was one in a string of unexpected mishaps of the past few weeks, this one, with noticeable outside damage, the others, seemingly, matters of the heart for both T and me: trust, learning, anxiety, forgiveness, friendship, anger, moving on.

I have been vocal about each of them, in different ways, and I have also taken a lot of time to sit alone to reflect and actually feel each moment, no matter how uncomfortable, for what it is.

I've learned: we shy from sharing our vulnerable moments and yet this is when reaching out is the right thing to do. By virtue of our sharing we simultaneously allow others' lights to shine in ways we likely never dreamed possible.

The last couple weeks, the smarty pants comments, the laugh elicited at my expense, the not so helpful suggestions, they all became a part of my healing, my moving on, my fabric.

Following the posting of this picture to my Facebook page, admittedly a minuscule, teeny, tiny, minor bump in life's road in the scheme of things, I collected 27 comments, countless emails and lots and lots of text messages, each of them different in their nature, all volunteering to help in some way. Each one floored me, grounded me, brought me to my knees in wonder at my blessings, and a token couple made me laugh so hard I cried.

In the past, during my moments of need I never stopped to peel back and look beneath the ripped carpet in the back seat; the broken pieces of my heart, the crack fissuring just beneath my son's sweet surface, whatever the challenge, and take serious inventory of who showed up.

I also allowed very, very few people to see me weak, vulnerable.

No more.

Because of this swallowing of my proverbial pride, in a pinch or a hurdle or even a major obstacle, I know who will show up.

I have been surprised. In some instances, admittedly, I have been disappointed.

And yet, I can assuredly say, I am blessed beyond measure.

These silly mishaps, life altering challenges, senseless heartaches...plague each and every one of us every single day. It is our reaction to them and our ability to walk through them with the best people, the right people by our sides, that defines us.

If only we allow them to.


  1. oh boy!!! that has got to be hard- so glad there is a silver lining-
    Know this: you are not alone- there is a reason my friends call me Murphy :)

  2. Excellent post Alli. Too often we live in a world that teaches us to gloss over our feelings about things and to go on to the next thing. Life is a collection of experiences and in order to get the most fulfillment, you have to let those experiences soak in.