Over the years, I have developed the reputation from family members as the Queen & Master of April Fool’s Day pranks. When I was 6 years old, I read a book about Bloopers and Practical Jokes and got the brilliant idea to take all of my parent’s underwear and hide it in the bottom drawer of my dresser. I was young and sufficiently ‘innocent’ at the time, so the last person my parents would have suspected in a missing underwear caper was their bright-faced innocent 6-year old. But a week passed, and they couldn’t explain logically what may have happened to their undergarments. Finally, while I was away at school, my mother cornered my brother, who was 3 at the time and asked: “Seth, you don’t happen to know what happened to our underwear do you?” And, although he had been sworn to secrecy by his older sister whom he idolized, his allegiance to being the “good boy” was greater, as he sheepishly admitted with a grin and his inability to yet pronounce “r’s: “Yes. Cawwie took it.”
Last year, on April Fool’s day (at the age of 32), I called my college roommate, my brother and my mother, disclosing to them in varying lengths and details (according to what I thought they could handle), the details of my unfortunate and accidental pregnancy. I come from a very conservative family, so whether 17 or 32, my loved ones are never keen on hearing about a pregnancy out of wedlock. I am almost embarrassed to disclose the lengthy details I used to paint the picture of my unfortunate “pregnancy” to adequately convince them that I was indeed serious. I must say, it was an Oscar-worthy performance. I think I kept my brother going on for a full 15 minutes, as being a doctor, he instantly went into clinical mode asking me all of the very dry and pertinent questions. When I told my mother of my sad state of affairs, I heard silence for a full 5 seconds and then a very big “<<Sigh>>….Carrie.” At this point, I didn’t have the heart to keep her going and relieved her, “Just kidding, April Fool’s!”
There is nothing better than providing relief after you have disappointed someone so gravely. Some may call it kind, some may call it mildly sinister. But what can I say, I like to make my family laugh and I accomplished that.
But today, after looking over the historic landscape of what my family has been through the past month, and the past few years, I decided, that April Fool’s Day pranks perhaps would not be welcome. We have experienced enough stress; even if the stress I may inflict with a 10 minute April Fool’s joke, is short-lived, it’s not worth it. I decided I would not punish my family with any more stress, even if it lasted five minutes long. The only thing I want to bring my family at this moment is ease and relief and healing and love right now. So April Fool’s will have to wait for another year or two. When I spoke to my brother today he even said: “I’ve been waiting all day for the Queen of April Fool’s Day to drop a bomb to no avail. It just never happened.” And I said, “Yes, exactly.” I may be mischievous, but I am not cruel. I think that we have already experienced enough…
So, tonight, through the mired mess that has been my family’s situation as of late, I grasped for some relief. But the relief which I sought was in hearing the stories of other people’s pain and trials, not in cocooning myself in isolation. And I realized, that the true lasting and spiritual antidote to pain is not a temporary numbing of it through the bottle, the internet, or work….but through reaching out beyond your comfort zone and realizing that you are not alone. We would all like to present a certain image to our fellow comrades that we have everything under control, that we know what we’re doing, that things are more together than they might be.. But when we crush our ego, when we eradicate our pride and take a huge helping of humble pie and make ourselves vulnerable..that is when the healing can truly take place, not only in ourselves, but in those around us.
I don’t know what relevance the above video has, I just like the song. But I digress.
No man is an island. Let us never forget that. While we are going through challenges and trials, let us never forget that 1) Either someone has gone through the exact same thing with which you are now dealing, or 2) Someone has gone through something much, much worse, and come through the other side in one piece, serving to give us hope and strength. But the Light doesn’t have a way in if our Ego is blocking the opening. Anytime I find myself saying, “I got it. I’ve got it handled. I’m a smart girl.” I know I’m in trouble. Yes, pain can be isolating, but unity and the effort to reach out and share is the only antidote. These are hard-earned words of wisdom not shallow preaching. We all think that we’re sooo smart. But maybe we aren’t so smart after all. I know that I’m not.