Bag of Hammers

HammersWe’re all lonely for something we don’t know we’re lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like missing somebody we’ve never even met? – David Foster Wallace

The body is a house of many windows: there we all sit, showing ourselves and crying on the passers-by to come and love us. – Robert Louis Stevenson

One may have a blazing hearth in one’s soul, and yet no one ever comes to sit by it. – Vincent van Gogh

I think there are many versions, but here’s how I remember this story.  Each of our problems, worries or painful experiences is a hammer and we carry it around in a bag all day long.  We get in a circle with any group of people and drop all of our hammers in the middle.  Then we get to go to that big pile of hammers and pick out any ones we want.  We would all still choose our same old hammers.

I got lonely today.  I got sad about it.  I cried.  But what I love about getting older is that I knew as I was crying that this would only last a little while and that I would feel better really soon.  I also thought of all my blessings as I cried and I felt immense gratitude for them.

Loneliness has been a recurring theme in my life.  But so has joy and happiness, success, friendship and love.  I am learning to accept the bad.  And I love it.  We just don’t escape this life without feeling something.  This isn’t a playground.  This is a classroom.  I consider myself a good student.

A friend told me today that I made the decision to be happy and I’ve done well with it.  She also reminded me that I made a choice to forgive the hardest thing I’ve had to forgive.  So now I feel like I can do anything with my life.

Coming out on the other side of hardship builds strength and resilience. Even just coming out on the other side of a bad day or a good cry does, too.  We’re always alone and we’re never alone.  It’s all in our perception…the kind of day we’re having.  Each day is different.  Each bag of hammers is different.  But we all learn what we need to learn in our own way.


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