A Visit from the Gaping Wallow and his Teary Friends.


I received a visit from the Gaping Wallow last night.

The Gaping Wallow is like that friend who continually nags you to catch up over a cup of coffee. You don’t have the energy nor the time but, upon finally meeting up, you find yourself happy for having gone.

The Gaping Wallow is very much like that sweatshirt that your mother insisted you bring for when the nighttime chills your shoulders. You reluctantly throw it balled up in the back seat of your car, but you find yourself thankful when your arms get chilly.

The Gaping Wallow is a long, much-needed (though not anticipated) cry.

It comes to us in the most unexpected of moments. Wrapped Up and Ready in the Sad Song Lyrics of Yesterday’s Memories. Tied to the Fringes of a Bad Day or a Harsh Comment.

It is that cry that seemingly comes out of nowhere and in the oddest of places. When we are driving to the grocery store. In the parking garage after work. In bed at night when our eyes are searching for closure.

It is that long stream of sobs and sorrow that makes us question if it will ever cease. It is that cry that makes us wonder if we are holding all the tears of the world in our eye sockets or if we should call Noah and instruct him to build an ark because our tears are so high in numbers that we might just drown the world.

The Gaping Wallow operates on its own time. It never asks to stop in or phones politely to make its arrival known. No, no. It sweeps into town, knocks on your door and demands your attention.

And this is exactly what happens when the Gaping Wallow arrives: It starts with a single solitary tear, peaking out from behind the eyelids and plummeting down over the hump of your pallid cheek. And when one tear comes, it is as if that tear gives orders to the followers. And they come too. Following their Leader. Forming a Puddle.

At first you thought you were crying over something menial. A messy room. A stubbed toe. A day that you wish the calendar would just erase. But before you know it, you are sobbing. Reaching to Find Breath to Catch.

Long Sobs. Short Sobs. Salty Tears. Tears That Won’t Stop.

Crying over what happened a year ago. What you should have gotten over four months ago. Sobbing over your fears for the future. Dying a little inside over the people who refuse to sit anywhere but in your past.

The tears that the Gaping Wallow brought (like cupcakes to a birthday party) won’t stop coming for a while because you know they have been pent up for too long. It is as if your mind has filed these tears into a database after every sorrow or little thing that did not go your way. And they sit and wait until they can make an appearance. All over your cheeks. In the runs of your mascara. Below your nose.

But we never really can predict when that appearance will be, when the Gaping Wallow will visit.

The Gaping Wallow is as unreliable as the weather. Or perhaps as reliable as the tide.

But there are advantages to him and the tears he brings with the visits he makes.

The Gaping Wallow allows us to believe in the sunrise of a new day, the turn towards a blank page, the calmness in the air that follows after a storm.

You know, full and well, that when the tears stop coming and the Sobs Cease, that you will feel better. Drained, tired, but better. As if the tears have wiped away the built up stress and worries that had begun to collect interest on your shoulders.

It is as if the Gaping Wallow, though showing off as big & robust & demanding, carries with him a quiet voice that is for you. Just You. And he kneels down beside you, as you are curled up in the left-hand corner of your king-sized bed or with knees folded under you in the driver’s seat of the car, and he delivers some reassurance.

Cry now. Cry now. Just be sure to let it all out. Cry for Yesterday. Cry for Tomorrow. Cry for all the things that hurt you good today. All the things that batter you with Confusion, Doubt, Insecurity and Restlessness. And don’t discriminate against your tears. If what you are crying over happened six years ago, I don’t care. If it happened when you were seven, I still don’t care. Just cry. Just push those tears into existence and validate them for once. Your tears are like every human being: we all want validation. Let it all out so that when you are done you will find that there are no more tears to use. And you will be ready to pick up a smile and a brand new day and start all over again. Without me and the tears I brought for the visit.

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11 thoughts on “A Visit from the Gaping Wallow and his Teary Friends.

  1. Oh love, I’m sorry you had one of these visits. You described it perfectly about the unpredictability of the timing of those visits, but also about the positives of what can seem so bad at the time. As bad as they are, they do allow for a new appreciation once they’ve gone. And I hope you know if ever you need a friend to call in the middle of the night I’ll be here, offering as much of a hug as I can from this far away. ❤

    1. You are the best Emily. Thank you so much. I always welcome these kinds of cries because the after feeling is just remarkable. Makes it all worth it knowing I will be refreshed after.

      Best,

      Hannah Katy

  2. that was agreat read the gaping wallow even tried to get me then but instead just a timid tear , i also find crying cleansing sometimes i like to get real dramatic when alone & crying sobs,& yells & even spitting do you know it says in the scriptures that our tears are all counted by our savior love ya

    1. Thank you mom ha ha. It is nice to know that someone cares so much they count my tears. Beautiful. And spitting helps? Really? Who would have thought. Ha. Love you.

      Best,

      Hannah Katy

  3. While these visits are never fun, sometimes a good cry can be almost therapeutic. “Tears cleanse us of our misery,” someone once told me. At first, like you said, your shed a tear over a stubbed toe and then suddenly a dam bursts and you are shedding tears for things you didn’t realize you would. I hope that the Gaping Wallow is soon followed by some beautiful sunshine and that you are able to see a rainbow through the tears.

    1. Thank you very much Heather. The smiles have already followed close behind. A great relief. You are so right about the dam bursting, exactly what it feels like.

      Best,

      Hannah Katy

  4. This sounds like me a lot these days – of course, that might be due to pregnancy hormones. But it is SUCH a relief when it does happen because I’m really not much of a crier. I have to admit though – it freaks the husband out a bit. At least when he asks why I am still crying (after some small catalyst like bumping my head) I can point at my giant belly and we both laugh.

    1. That is too funny Melanie.. I know the feeling, sometimes I am just downright embarrassed to admit why I am crying. At least you have a legitimate excuse! Thank you for commenting.

      Best,

      Hannah Katy

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