I look reasonably normal on most days, even perhaps polished and together. Don't be fooled. Life gets to me sometimes. One too many phone calls about things that others consider massive emergencies and I consider a total lack of planning. One too many arguments between the children that call for my refereeing and peace negotiating skills. One too many workdays that extend well into the late evening and when I get home, the Cleaning Fairies still didn't show up and the laundry needs to be done.
When I am beyond tired and weary, when my doubts and fears are barely below the surface of my thin skin, when old scars get touched too much, and I fight the world back.
Then, in those moments, can you hold my crazy?
See, I know people love me - my friends, my family, my colleagues. Love in our human expression is often an elegant and fragile emotion. We love as long as the other is nice to us. We love as long as our expectations of the other are met. We love as long as we are happy. We may even be strong enough to love when life is marginally off-center and uncomfortable.
However, the big loves of life, the people who are soul mates - they love enough to hold the crazy. These friends, these gifts from God - they stand in the fire until it burns to ashes and never flinch. Or at least keep flinching to a minimum.
They love when life gets to me and I drop a cup of coffee on the kitchen floor, sending coffee and broken glass everywhere, and I dissolve into those deep sobs that start with a long silence before the wail. When I do that, what will you do?
Will you look at me as if I've over-reacted? Will you clean up the mess and ignore me? Will you ask me what's this really about?
Or will you hold my crazy and allow me to sit and cry for as long as I need to cry?
Can you love me when I've worked too hard for too long and I need to yell and rage, but can't do it in proper society, so I yell and rage to you, the person who truly was an innocent bystander? Can you like me when I cut you with my words? Can you hide the sharp objects before I do too much damage? Can you believe that I love you, even when I say and do things that communicate the exact opposite?
Can you hold me when I'm so exhausted from the fights I encounter in life that I simply fall to the ground and lie there in the ashes? Or will you try to make "it" better because my weakness is too strong for you? Do you get frightened and try to fix me? Do you explain why I shouldn't be angry or sad or filled with grief or frustration?
Or can you make sure I'll be safe in my weariness? Can you hold my crazy and see the holy parts of my soul that can get lost in the expectations and personas and pressures of my life? Can you discover that less than charming part of my personality and sit with her, maybe even have a bourbon while Miss Bitchier than Thou surfaces?
Will you walk with me as I wander, even when you can see the path I'm taking is not the most direct route or even, perhaps, the easiest? Will you sing with me when I need music, talk with me when I need words, and smile at me when I need affirmation? Will you, on occasion, wrench my crazy from my hands when I've held it on my own for too long?
Can you hold my crazy until I've wailed and railed to my soul's exhaustion and rested in the mess I've made? Can you hold my crazy until I don't feel crazy (or as crazy) and ask for forgiveness?
Can you hold my crazy and love me for all that I am, for all of me?
For Susan, Holli, Brad, Elise, Amy, and Mary, who do an exceptional job of holding my crazy.