They say that if you want to hide something so it’s never found, hide it in plain sight.
I think I’m living proof.
Because every single day I hide my wounded heart.
I walk right up to people and they never know. I conduct business, entertain family and friends, sing hymns in church and do daily tasks without a hint that something’s wrong-terribly, terribly wrong.
Am I stronger now than three years ago? Absolutely! I have developed muscles I didn’t know existed. I have a go-to method to stop tears, stop screams, stop tremors, stop panic attacks and swallow words that might otherwise slip out and give me away.
I can make small talk with the best of them. I’ve learned to redirect a conversation so that it cannot venture into territory that guarantees I won’t be able to keep it together.
I look for opportunities to serve at gatherings. Kitchen duty? First in line! It’s easy and perfectly acceptable to mutter one word replies when your hands are in the sink washing dishes.
I locate bathrooms and exits everywhere I go. Ducking into the ladies’ room or out the door for a minute or two is usually all I need to regather myself and reenter the fray.
All this hiding takes a toll. So much energy is needed to shield the world from the pain I carry.
I often find that after a holiday or extended period of social interaction I need a day (or a week!) to recover. And that’s OK.
I’m learning to say “no” to invitations or expectations or intimidation.
I’m learning I have to give myself time to regroup.
Because then I can reengage, recharged and ready to keep hiding my heart.