I pondered the almighty sigh today.
Such a simple sound. Such complex meanings.
- Boy, am I tired. (Sigh)
- Wow, am I sick of this. (Sigh)
- Geez, I can’t believe you just said that. (Sigh)
- Holy …, look at this mess! (Sigh)
- What do you want now? (Sigh)
I could go on. (Sigh) But this list only tells half the story. An important half. Let’s face it, a subtly, or even not so subtly, emitted sigh is oftentimes better than the thought it accompanies. Picture Grandpa telling one of his jokes at your son’s 8th grade graduation celebration, you know, one of his real eye-rollers! (Sigh) Or Aunt Jeannie just sitting down after babysitting her 3 nieces for four hours only to hear, “Can I have a glass of water?” (Sigh)
I remember the year a Kindergarten teacher who taught in a classroom down the hall from me walked past my room every afternoon on her way home and sighed. I mean, she really sighed. She was a wonderful teacher but had a truly challenging class that year. Her sigh spoke volumes. I didn’t, however, know what to say to her. She retired soon after.
But the sigh I pondered today wasn’t the sigh of bad tidings. Like I said, my list was only half the story. Because a sigh is also:
- That went really well. (Sigh)
- Sitting down feels so good. (Sigh)
- I am very fortunate to have… (Sigh)
- What a happy ending. (Sigh)
- I’m so glad I took care of that. (Sigh)
I spent the day today with my husband. He had a doctor’s appointment in the city and I wanted to be there with him. He has been on a bit of a rollercoaster ride with his health these past two years. While there has been really good progress on one hand, there have also been some setbacks on the other. So we traveled that familiar road to East 68th Street. Good news, no news, new news. When you are in the midst of dealing with health issues this is what you get. On our way home we stopped for lunch. And when we sat down, my husband sighed.
It was a happy sigh. His sigh made me smile because my husband sighs happy. He has an incredibly optimistic outlook on life and it comes out in his sigh. When it comes down to it, you are going to sigh. It’s the story behind that sigh that is important. My husband and I can sigh the sigh of contentment and happiness. Things will be ok for both of us and we know that. But it isn’t so for every person who emits a sigh. So I’m going to pay more attention to sighs. They tell a story.
And sometimes someone just needs to listen.