I don’t know where this statement came from tonight, but it pulsed through me like an electric current: Your misery no longer has my company.
Misery has loved my company for years. I’m not talking about, “curse God and die,” misery, nor am I talking about intense, miserable pain. I’m talking about “stuck in a funk” misery… misery’s next-door neighbor, so to speak.
Call it, “blah,” or that heavy sigh you might hear after someone gets to the point of exasperation that if you poke them one more time, you will regret it…or the boiling cauldron of unreleased energy that ripples below your surface of nice… call it whatever you want. It’s miserable to live in “blah,” when you’ve experienced “WAH HOO!” and the sigh of satisfaction kind of life.
I’ve known some pretty miserable people in my time. These people walk around under a cloud of permanent rainstorm when it’s sunny all around them. Their glass isn’t half empty, it’s broken, and nobody is ever going to be able to fix it or understand the significance of its brokenness except them. They keep that broken glass under the cloud of their permanent rainstorm so their collected tears will run through the cracks and everyone will see how life has beaten them down and feel sorry for them.
I can throw stones at that broken glass because I used to be one of those people. I decided one Lent, however, to move out of misery’s room. Unfortunately, I only moved down the hall, but not quite out of the building. These miserable self-pity party pros will do anything to keep someone around who will moan and lament with them because, if a pity-party happens unattended, does it really have any significance?
My problem is, since I have emerged from misery’s doorstep, I have found I want to turn around, go back down the hall and help people move out of Misery. I’ve discovered that, while it’s good to try and help people, most people that live in Misery don’t want help. They don’t want to leave their familiar, miserable darkness. Misery is a quicksand that will swallow you whole if you allow one grain of sand in the gears of your new attitude, so you have to follow your new road out of misery.
Though I now consider myself a fairly optimistic, positive person, I can easily find myself knocking on Misery’s door to ask what’s wrong and can I borrow some bitterness? I think it’s because I didn’t put enough distance between me and the landlord of misery and all these little grains of misery are messing with the gears of change within. I’m still somewhat connected to their miserable lives and with that connection they trip me up sometimes, and goodness knows I can wallow with the best of them.
Tonight, I just wanted to serve notice to the landlord of Misery: I’m leaving the building, and God help me, this depressing, life-sucking neighborhood, too. Sometimes misery is a place, sometimes it’s a person, sometimes it’s an attitude, but whatever makes me miserable has to GO.
The thing about Misery is that it not only loves company, it sticks like tar. Misery doesn’t move. It stays stuck in the same place forever, and people choose to stay stuck there because being happy and satisfied and optimistic and grateful takes a lot more work sometimes, and goodness knows miserable people are already miserable because of work and a hundred thousand other things they choose to be miserable about.
So sorry, Misery, I’m moving out tonight. I’m sure this isn’t enough notice for you. Did you know this building is slated for demolition? We weren’t intended to live like this. I hope you get out before it all crumbles around you so you don’t have to be…miserable… in its rubble. The saddest part is, you will always have company, because miserable people seem to attract each other like moths to flames. At first, it’s great to be with people that “understand,” and then ZAP!
Don’t worry, Misery, the place is just like I found it. Empty…but full of bad memories. Dark. Too cold. Too hot. Drippy faucet. Dead flowers on the balcony. Oh, but please, Misery, I do not want my deposit back. You can keep it and be miserable that it’s not nearly enough for all the pain you’ve endured.
And…um…sorry about the self-loathing I left in the refrigerator.