Let me feel joyful when the sun shimmers on my cheeks and shoulders for the first time in months. Spring is here! Let me shout it out loud with arms stretched like a living cliché. Let me be fascinated by the pastel tulips that popped up overnight. Let me study the patterns and touch the petals in admiration.
Let me feel giddy when I encounter a handsomely wrapped package on my doorstep. Let me squeeze my fists and shrug my shoulders up to my earlobes like I did as a young girl on Christmas morning.
Let me feel and be childlike, because this is my soul’s natural state. It may appear that I’m denying my age or acting naïve, but this buoyancy means I am balanced. It’s a good thing.
Let me laugh so freely that it permeates throughout my entire body, even tingling my toes.
Let me marvel over babies, for they are truly fascinating creatures… almost otherworldly. Let their innocence, purity, and authenticity become more clear and enchanting to me with each one I meet.
Let me feel, be, and act shamelessly in love.
Let me feel beautiful. Let me feel ugly.
Let me feel lighthearted. Let me ride that wave of contentment when it approaches, but don’t command me to stay. Of course I wish I could live on that heavenly crest, but it’s only a wave. It will meet the shore eventually; it always does. When I find myself up there, whether for a minute or a month or a year, I will cherish the euphoria, because I know I can’t live there. At least not on that particular wave. But I’ll catch another one sooner or later. It’s okay.
Let me feel disappointed when my body doesn’t work like I so desperately want it to. Let me feel the pain, because it’s there, and pretending it’s not makes it far worse. Let me mourn the loss of the things I can’t do right now. Let me be frustrated. Let me cry about it. Please hold me as I do.
But know that my tears don’t always mean sadness.
Let me cry tears of astonishment in church when I feel the undeniable presence of God. Let me feel overwhelmed that The Creator of the Universe knew that I was going to be there to receive an answer to a question that I specifically asked Him. And it’s so bewildering and on point and in-no-way-a-coincidence that I can’t help but allow the heavy streams to unleash. Know that I’m not sad. I’m in awe. I’m grateful. I feel looked after.
Let me cry those same tears of fascination when I can sense my adoring grandparents around me, because it reminds me that they aren’t really gone. Those tears feel somehow soothing.
Let me cry while watching that viral video of the colorblind man wearing special glasses that allow him to experience color for the first time. Those tears are an expression of the deep gratitude I feel along with him.
Let me cry for characters on television. Cognitively I know that they are actors and that I’m merely watching a fictional story unfold, but in the moment, I become those characters. I’m living in their heartache and euphoria.
Let me feel angry and heartbroken for the way I observed a stranger treat her son in the grocery store parking lot. I realize my emotions won’t change the situation, but please let me feel them. Let me talk about it.
Let me feel my feelings because that’s how I have to do life. Maybe the spectrum of emotions I experience would disorient you. If colors represent our emotions, I use an entire Crayola 120ct box in one day, and you only need the four pack presented with the children’s menu at a restaurant.
I get that about you. That’s how you were wired. You don’t innately feel as often or as deep. You’re not better or worse, although I’ll admit I do sometimes feel envious of people like you, but it’s not an option for me. I have to indulge each feeling that arises. I have to color with each crayon. I have to travel through it. I can’t let it go until I’ve done so.
If you let me feel what I feel when I feel it, I will feel safe to connect with you.
Perhaps if I give myself permission to feel, you will too.