Bunker down or take the dang phone call? ☎️

Mar 27, 2022
Black and white image of Victorian woman in a hoop skirt resting on a fainting couch with the words,

I don’t know about you, but when I’m down, I retreat into my corner.

I pull down the shades, put on the sweatpants, and tune out the world. This was especially true during my divorce. I totally hunkered down. (Yet the Germanic origin of “hunker” means “crouch” and I was thinking more “lie prone on the living room floor.”)

The other day I was “hunkered down” and the phone rang.

I immediately sighed and rolled my eyes. (Like seriously guttural and out loud, like an angsty teenager. I’m not proud.) It was someone I cared about very much, but and who was a talker. (See my prior ramblings on but and” in my vocab.) We all have these folks in our lives, right? They care and they talk, and it can be draining to be in their world, even though there’s amazingly nice things in that world.

My mind was saying, “Sarah, you’re feeling down. This conversation is going to require energy and you ain’t got any right now. Keep the reserves for yourself. Lock them up in your bunker.” (Oh here we go, “bunker” also has Germanic origins meaning “heap, pile, bump, lump” - much better. I’m changing it to “bunkering down,” ok? Onwards.)

But then the angel on my other shoulder says, “Sarah, they have been so supportive to you - you have an obligation to at least pick up the dang phone.”

Then the other side said, “You could just let it roll to voicemail and see what they want. Postpone the decision! Besides, your evening is planned out with a long list of chores. You don’t have time.”

All this mental whiplash happened in moments, mind you, and the phone rang a second time.

I answered.

Sure enough, they wanted to talk. About this. And that. And they asked about my day. I listened, and received and returned and gave counsel and received counsel. We chatted about life, the universe and everything. We spoke for 45 minutes.

When I hung up I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I was bracing for the wave of relief to wash over me. But I didn’t need it. Instead, I realized I felt lighter. They hadn’t sapped my energy, they’d given me some. Being in their presence got me out of my own doldrums for awhile, shook loose some cobwebs, and their counsel even helped me un-parse a few things.

I’m so glad I took the phone call. And sure I didn’t get that list of chores done, but how much did I really want to vacuum anyway? I realized that my humdrum attitude wasn’t low energy but lack of connection. Talking with this loved one restored that feeling.

Next challenge for me and my sweatpants? Picking up the phone and calling someone else. I might just “unbunker” them from their list of chores. :)


Sarah 🖖

PS: If you’re on the divorce journey - or know someone who is - my course Fresh Start is already helping folks. Just focused on finances? We got that too: Divide Not Conquer.

PPS: My Divorce Avengers (I didn’t make that up - that’s from Seven Days’ Jordan Adams!) have been busy! Check out Nanci Smith’s recent article Why Does Collaborative Divorce Seem Like Such a Contradiction? and Amanda Peden talking finances on the Sublime Soul Surrender podcast.




Image above: Resting. Circa 1866. Original photo at carolathhabsburg.tumblr.com.

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