“We think that our jobs as humans is to avoid pain, our job as parents is to protect our children from pain, and our job as friends is to fix each other’s pain. Maybe that’s why we all feel like failures so often — because we all have the wrong job description of love. People who are hurting don’t need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers. What we need are patient, loving witnesses. People who sit quietly and hold space for us. People to stand in the helpless vigil to our pain.” -Glennon Doyle
I laid on the ground. For months, I sought solace in the comfort of the uncomfortable and I laid on the ground. I leaned in to the hard concrete. I settled in to the dirt. I chose the floor rather than a bed. I craved the unforgiving rigidity. The immovability. I didn’t care if rocks were biting into my back. I didn’t care if the grass was poking my bare skin. I didn’t care that it made no sense. I found solace in the discomfort.
My body was a constant buzzing wreck. The anxiety and fear and shock whirring throughout my veins. Zinging and crackling and reverberating. I found no peace. I could find no way to hold myself still even if I held as still as a statue. My body was pulsing with hurt. I ached. Every bone in my body screamed. My stomach folding in on itself in a constant state of panic. I never knew I could hurt so badly without anything being physically wrong. And so I laid there.
The ground felt safe. No matter how much my body shook, it did not relent. It held still. It did not fold or move or cower. It held firm. It was solid. The ground sheltered my ravaged self. And so I laid on it for months.
There were people that did not like it. That would yell at me to get up. That would scoff and could not fathom why I would choose the ground rather than a soft surface. There were those that would kindly try to talk me into moving to a lawn chair. A couch. A bed. Regardless of how they chose to approach me, no one could wrap their mind around this choice. I did not care. I continued to lay and feel the vibrations of my body coming up against the sturdy fortress I chose as my landing place.
But there were those that despite the confusion would lay down beside me. They would rest their hand upon my back. Or run their fingers through my hair. They would whisper soothing words or lean into the silence. They would lie in vigil. They did not try to avoid, protect, or fix. They stood in the gap.
This is love. When we say perhaps even without words, “I am here with you”. And we hold each other up even while lying on the ground.