How many rocks can you carry—before you break your own back?
The last time my husband and I had a moment of contention I’m not sure what it even was about, there was no definitive issue, but there was something wrong. And after sixteen years, I stopped wanting to win because I knew it meant we both would lose.
Feeling as if I was floating outside my body I watched us semi-argue over something invisible, not caring about the actual “thing” but using innuendoes and zingers that were meant to let the other person know they weren’t going to win this one. I realized clearly that what was happening had nothing to do with today. It had everything to do with a thousand yesterdays.
We were pulling out our bag of rocks. You know, all the pebbles and stones that build up over the years— the resentments and critiques that may have been so stupid and so small but add up to something too heavy to carry.
I wanted to use my bag of rocks, but I couldn’t.
I just didn’t want to anymore.
Knowing someone’s weaknesses, knowing their missteps makes us feel better.. somehow. If we know their weak spot, how easy it is to throw a few pebbles and shut them down. But letting them go is the only way to experience freedom, the kind you felt when you were a kid, before you knew someone might throw their rocks at you. All these pebbles of protection weigh so much.
We are going to get hurt anyway with or without the rocks.
So don’t throw them.
I let go of my bag of rocks not because it made me the better person, or miraculously erased years of collecting pebbles but it freed me. I wanted my husband to feel safe with me, his best friend.
Marriage, friendship, relationships won’t work if you are collecting the things that you think will make you win. You will lose it all that way.
And the rocks. They aren’t real anyway.