A Soft Place to Land

July 15, 2014 at 9:00 pm

Every day for the past few weeks I’ve had vomit on my mind. And, strangely enough, this has brought comfort to me. I’ll explain.

A few weeks ago, my friend Emily showed up at my dad’s house (where I’m currently staying) with her furry companion, Howie. We sat on my dad’s front porch and talked for a long time. Emily has known darkness and despair. She has survived heart-wrenching losses and trials. She gets it. So she listened with an empathy and compassion few possess. Her sincere love and physical companionship were a bright spot in my darkness.

While we talked, she told me a story from her recent trip to Oxford, England. The night before she was to return to the states, the nice couple who had been hosting her wanted to take her to a nice dinner. They had Indian food. Later that night, just before collapsing into sleep, Emily said a quick prayer, asking God that everything for her return trip the next day would go smoothly. (She had been worried about making a few of her connecting flights.) Then she fell asleep.

A few hours later, Emily woke up with that feeling in the pit of her stomach that something wasn’t right. She quickly ran to the bathroom and vomited up the lovely Indian meal she had eaten a few hours earlier. But, mercifully, she was able to go back to sleep, woke up feeling great, and everything went smoothly on her trip home. The way her prayer was answered was that she was able to vomit in a convenient place rather than on an airplane or between connecting flights.

Before she told me her vomit story, I had been describing to her all the ways and reasons why being here at my dad’s house, with my family nearby, with my husband off work, with the cool weather (compared to AZ), and all the cousins and grandparents to entertain my children had been a blessing. Though I felt awful inside, I was also so grateful to have a “soft place to land.” If all of this had happened a few months earlier or a few months later, everything would have been different. Everything would have been harder. Much harder.

Emily said, “This is a really good place to vomit.”

And nearly every day since I have said those very words to myself. When self-pity or despair have begun to creep into my heart and mind, when I have felt frustrated that I’m not able to be home, living my “normal” life, I have said those words to myself, “This is a really good place to vomit.” And it really is. Of all the places I could be when my life fell apart, of all the times of year, this very time and this very place is just about the best.

Life is going to hand us rough times now and then. Sometimes you gotta vomit. But the vomit never lasts forever. The vomiting ends, and eventually you wake up feeling great, and your journey goes smoothly for a while.

I thank heaven for Emily, for soft places to land, for comfortable places to heal, for really good places to vomit.

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