• Christopher Hopkins

Relieve the Pressure


We all have those days when you feel like you’re against the world, every little thing goes wrong and your blood pressure is up. And you feel like punching somebody!

Country singer Josh Turner said that and I can relate. I’ve had a few of those days lately. When this happens I regroup to realize it invariably comes down to the same formula.

Expectation, disappointment, frustration, avoidance, explosion.

To high an expectation inevitably leads to disappointment. With continued disappointment comes frustration. Frustration avoided builds to explosion.

Recently my closest friend in high school and, literally, the girl next door came in for a haircut. She had never had short hair and wanted a “Pixie.” It wasn’t really by choice. She was starting chemo the next day and had been told it would be easier to have a short hair when it began to fall out.

As I started to cut, we started to laugh. We started to laugh hard — as hard as we did in junior high. As hard as we’d laugh in church or in class when we were supposed to be serious. The more we’d try to suppress it the harder we’d laugh until tears, gasps for air and the inevitable snort would bring us that delightful relief.

“I look like my brother,” she said.

“Lesbians will love you.”

“I need my earrings.”

“Earrings, lipstick, sunglasses and a hat,” I quipped, remembering my mother driving us to school after working the late shift.

Following her new look we stopped for a quick slice of pizza. For a moment I was transported back to rural Minnesota, 1979. Two junior high teens on a “date” at the Pizza Hut after one of our many makeovers.

Then again as we talked, we started to laugh. We laughed hard until tears, gasps for air, and the inevitable snort relieved the pressure. Pressure finds away of relieving itself and laughter feels better than a punch. As we were leaving she shared this quote from Vivian Green.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”

“I’m going to dance in the rain,” she said.

“With your lipstick, earrings, sunglasses and hat,” said I.

When pressure mounts, there is relief in humor and in beauty. If you’re feeling pressure, I would like to encourage you to make an appointment with yourself to to do just that. Put on your party hat, sunglasses, lipstick and earrings find something that makes you laugh, and dance in the rain.

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