I don’t cry often. Sometimes I don’t think I cry enough. I don’t cry enough for a woman with a good heart and a blog about feelings. Rush cries when he is angry. I cry when I am stressed. Face clenched. Stomach tight. Tears flood my face like a dam come down, and I’m the one who forced it.
I made a misstep. I knew it was happening as it happened but I hadn’t the wit to stop it. You’re making too much of it, people who were there would say, but I’ve always had a bent toward the dramatic. It’s the bad habit of a writer to make ordinary details into cautionary tales. Like every good Christian who’s learned to bridle her tongue, I thought later what I might have said but the regret was already burrowing.
At the last Courage & Renewal retreat I attended, I got up in front of the whole lot of clergy and faith leaders and told them about my penchant for dancing, wherever, with whomever, salsa in a Latin restaurant in Raleigh or freestyle on my couch in Durham. A woman with frizzy blond hair the color of snow and straw scurried toward me after the session with eyes as big as a toddler’s and told me she, too, loved to dance. She had just returned from a week at dance camp, she told me, and I cooed jealousy. Not until we returned to the large group did she tell us she was in the advanced class. “It’s not that we had mastered the steps,” she shared, rocking forward on her toes for the punchline. “We were advanced because we’d mastered the art of quick recovery.” She cackled, adding, “If you took time to apologize after a mistake, you were already a step behind.”
I don’t know much about beavers but I’ve read the same is true. Out of the teeth of survival, broken damns are replaced overnight. The work we are given to do goes on.
I did apologize. I took stock of how I might have done it differently, too, even came up with a phrase I could use next time the shock gets caught in my throat. Rush drew me into his lap as I wept and said he’d do the grocery shopping tonight, what sounded good? No, no. I’m coming with you, I said.
It took only an evening of white wine and bedtime prayers.