That's the Sound of Stress Leaving the Body

I've cried an odd amount during the past week.  On Saturday morning when I took my daughters to a Mother's Day breakfast at the preschool my youngest attends, I couldn't hold back my emotions when the kids performed the I Love Mom song they had rehearsed with the music teacher.

During church on Sunday morning, I was the woman with tears streaming down my face unashamedly as I listened to the message, one so full of hope and encouragement for any weary mother -- for any weary person, actually -- that I couldn't take notes fast enough and prayed that God simply would work the message deeply into my heart.

And last night while I sat on the sidelines of a soccer field, I found myself wiping my eyes once again for no other reason than I was reading a magazine, not a stack of essays like the ones below, and I was happy.

Apparently, I have no emotional filter at the moment.

I know myself.  I've been pushing too hard for too long, and it's taken a toll.  The good news is that late last week I submitted final grades for my four classes and handled the lingering end-of-the-semester student affairs.  Even though I don't yet feel closure, the academic year officially is in the books.

I've slowly been detoxing ever since.

My waters are a bit muddied, and I'm watching the stress empty in strange ways, like my tendency to cry when any emotion, good or bad, is piqued.  At the same time, I'm filling up in ways that I haven't for months, like getting good nights of sleep instead of five to six hours each night, reading for pleasure, and making mental lists of creative projects I want to complete around the house.

This morning I even treated myself to a solo trip to the local arboretum to enjoy some tranquility.  I'd like to tell you that I strolled the grounds in soul-nourishing silence, but I timed my arrival roughly five minutes before a bus dropped off a swarm of middle school students who, because they're in middle school, traveled in small, loud clusters in their matching neon green tee shirts and periodically asked me to take their pictures with their phones, which I did.

You see, the beauty of dealing with kids who aren't your own is that you can momentarily engage, then just keep walking.

And walk I did.  The tulips, although slightly past their prime, delighted with their simplicity.  Tulips are, and always will be, my favorites.

I listened to the sound of leaves rustle in the breeze,

reminded myself of the inherent goodness of sitting -- just sitting -- in the midst of beautiful sights,

reveled in the freshness of a peony's blooms,

and appreciated that the way to meander was clearly laid out before me, no decision-making necessary.  Just walk and enjoy, the path seemed to say.  Just walk and enjoy.

So I did, listening to the sound of my feet tread along the gravel walkway and wiping a tear from the corner of my eye.

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