I went to a pretty dark headspace on Wednesday. Between family illnesses, the stress of having kids home from school, and working through the finances of the restaurant, I felt like I was drowning and couldn't see my way out. I drove through our neighborhood Christmas lights, but peace and joy felt completely out of reach. That night, I stayed up late, shaking with stress.
The next morning, I woke up with what my husband calls an emotional hangover. I was groggy and exhausted. I poured myself a cup of coffee and checked my phone. One of the emails in my inbox was from a stranger, telling me how I could collect my audio prizes. Thinking it was a scam, I deleted it.
But for some reason, I went into the trash and checked it, just to be sure.
Turns out, I've been so busy that I missed the message that I was a finalist and honorable mention winner in this year's USA Songwriting Competition. I had almost forgotten that I entered. (On an aside: entering songwriting competitions is the closest I come to gambling. If the grand prize of a competition looks good and I think I might stand a chance, I'll submit a tune.)
Even though I hadn't won money, being recognized buoyed my spirits in a way no words can describe. It completely reversed the state of despair I was in just 12 hours earlier.
Reader, the moral of my week is two-fold. First, if you're suffering and think no good will ever come again, never forget: it does. Second--and more importantly--if someone you know feels like they're drowning and can't see their way out, never forget what a little recognition and positivity can do for someone when they're in that headspace. With the holidays over, a lot of people go dark. If you've got light to give, let's give it generously.
With any luck, a week from today, I'll be in the arctic circle. I'm not sure I'll be able to blog. But I hope to have a lot of great stories when I get back. See you then. -Em