My “Ah ha” Moment with my Christian Counselor Friend

Today I’d like to share with you a piece of advice that was given to me this past year. It came from a friend who is a Christian counselor. She said to me, “Tracy, you need to go sit on a marshmallow.”

“Excuse me?” My mind went on a quick search for what on earth could possibly be the meaning of this friend’s odd advice. We had just been talking about my mother at the time. It had only been a few months since my mom had died and I was reduced to tears as we sat talking together. I was trying to explain to her how I felt but honestly couldn’t find the right words to give a clear accurate picture. I think that’s because I, myself, couldn’t see very well at the moment. Have you ever been through something like that? Perhaps a situation or set of circumstances that knock your feet out from under you like a mighty crashing wave, throwing you into the salty waters? Here, I’ll explain….

Childhood in New England

We used to go to the ocean as kids as we lived in New England and that’s what New England families do! I remember very well standing near the shore in the breaking waves bracing myself for each challenge that washed in. I was determined to beat its strength and stand, no matter what! Being rather scrawny, I frequently lost that battle and found myself in the drink, gulping nasty salt water. Let me quickly mention here…I don’t like the ocean. We went because my MOM liked it and she drove the car, so… had to go.

But that memory of being plowed over, trying to get my feet back under me and my head up out of the water as yet another bully wave side checked me back down again was the best description of how I was feeling after losing my mom. I remember times when the waters were SO choppy, I’d spin round and round in the combustion, until I became disoriented. I was struggling to know which way was UP! Got scary at times! How could anyone like that experience? Strangely enough, plenty of people do! We won’t even discuss the seaweed! Yucky!!

Unconventional Advice

It was then, after my “wave crashing” explanation, that my friend gave me her recommendation. “Tracy, you need to go sit on a marshmallow.” I sat there staring at her. I thought for a second, “Is she really suggesting that I should head to the store, buy a bag of marshmallows and sit on them?” Wow, counseling has certainly gotten “way out there”!

She saw that I was not grasping her statement so she asked me a question. “What do you think of when you think of a marshmallow?” I thought about that for a few seconds. “Um, soft squishy things that become sticky if you don’t get them right into your mouth?” I was already wondering how I was going to get that sticky mess off the back of my pants from a marshmallow sitting escapade.

Wrong answer. “Aren’t marshmallows soft and innocent?”, she asked me. “I guess”, I replied still wondering where she was going with this. She began to explain. “Sometimes when we are going through times of significant, ongoing stress or traumatic situations, we have to find some “soft, innocent” places of rest. That could be sitting on a bench in the park, laying on a blanket under a tree or swinging on a swing. It’s probably different for everyone. But find some things that are spots of rest to tuck into your schedule. It will allow opportunities for your heart to heal.”

Realizing a Profound Truth

Wow. How could something so simple sound so profound? “Thank you, God, for my friend!” I tell you, I was on a search for marshmallows now as I desperately sought to experience some relief from my grief. That is, if it really worked…. which was yet to be seen. I sure was eager to find out though! I sat on my couch that night talking to the Lord. “Where would that be for me, Lord? I dunno! Help me! Help me think of something relaxing, something I love!” Because my thoughts were a jumble I was starting to stress out, defeating the entire purpose! (Yes, yes, I believe I may be a ‘piece of work’! How wonderful that God loves us exactly as we are! I just happen to be a tightly wired individual!)
I managed to get quiet and just let my mind drift back over the expanse of my life. After some time, I found it. I saw it. I saw me. “Lord, I don’t know how this will be possible but I need to find a clean water lake and go floating.” With that, the adventure began! It was wonderful, it was HILARIOUS, it was….healing! I can’t wait to tell you all about it! Until next time, let me leave you with this question-Where would YOU go and what would YOU do to “sit on a marshmallow”? Will you think about it? 😉

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