There was a little girl whose world was full of holes. Big ones. Small ones. Ones that only tripped up her foot. A bit like protruding gnarled tree root.
She fell. Maybe she scrapped her knee. But she got straight back up.
Then there were other holes. Nasty ones with sharp teeth and big jaws that sucked her in and swallowed her up.
Other people did not see the holes in her world. But she saw them. There was one next to her bed most mornings. It is hard to get out of bed when you are worried about falling into a hole. And sometimes it was hard to face the day when she knew there would be more holes everywhere she walked.
So the little girl was scared a lot. Other people didn't understand that. They told her to smile. What was she afraid of? What could possibly happen? But the girl knew. She was scared of her holes. Scared that she wouldn't see them. Or that someone would say something, or do something that would push her into a hole. Or that she would see the hole, but only when it was too late and she was already falling.
Some holes were not so bad. They didn't scare the little girl so much. Those holes were shallow. The kind of holes that didn't block the sun, even at the bottom. Those were the holes the girl fell into when she couldn't run fast enough to win the race, or because she growled at someone she loved, or maybe just because it had been raining for days. She'd sit in those holes for a little while, but then she'd remember that not everyone is a fast runner. She could say sorry to the person she growled at. And if she waited just a little longer the sun's light would reach her again. Sometimes she even remembered how to enjoy the rain. Even rain that went on for days. Puddles were fun sometimes too.
But then there were other holes. Sink holes. There was no sun at the bottom of those holes. It was so dark the girl could not even see herself. She could hear things. Like her Mommy screaming. Or feel things. Things that hurt. But she was lost in her hole. Lost, even to herself.
Those holes scared the little girl so much she started pretending that bad things weren't happening. She told herself not to think about them. Ever. Then she wouldn't sit in holes, and that was just fine with her.
For a while that was okay. All the bad wolf holes were covered. Or she cover them when they appeared by pretending to be someone else or be somewhere else. She got very good at that game. Very good indeed.
Then the little girl grew up and became a woman. Because that is what Little Girl's do.
The Sink Holes started appearing again. No matter how hard she tried not to think about sad things, the sad things came and found her. She thought about Little Sister. She used to tell her stories and make her laugh. That is what big sisters do. Little Sister's laughing always mad her laugh. Little Sister used to watch her eat ice-blocks, and then try to eat hers the exact same way. That is what Little Sister's do.
You might think that sounds like a happy thing to think. It's not. Little sister grew up too. And she got sick. Too sick to hear the stories. And much to sick to eat ice-blocks. Maybe one day... see the woman was thinking sad things again.
When she thought sad things for too long, she cried. And when she cried the ground beneath her feet got soggy. That is when the holes opened up. The sadder the thing she was thinking, the more tears, and the more tears, the deeper the hole.
Those kind of holes scared the woman. She worried about not being able to get out. Not ever. And having to live her life out at the bottom of a hole. Which would be dark. And cold. And very very lonely. No one would come looking for her, because no one saw the holes in her world.
One day she got brave. Or perhaps she was more scared of the sink holes than she was of telling someone about them. So she told. She told her Sink Hole stores until she cried and cried.
The Listener was very good. Gifted even. She saw the holes. The big ones and the small ones. Together The Listener and the Woman with Holes started talking about how to fill them in. How to build bridges. How to tell other people in her life about the holes. How to make paths. Safe paths. Paths that curved around Sink Holes. It didn't mean the woman didn't fall. It meant she was not alone. The Listener sat by the edge of those holes until the woman worked out how to climb up again.
Now days the woman is still scared of holes. It's becoming a healthy fear. One she uses to remember to look where she is going and where she is putting her feet. She still climbs out of holes.
Maybe one day there won't be holes. But until then, she is not alone. She climbs. She talks. And she writes.
What about you? Do you have holes? Do you climb? Do you talk? Do you write?
(image credit: http://physicsworld.com/blog/2010/06/post_6.html)