Saturday, May 11, 2013

A diamond is a cracked stone.

Some days you feel broken. Your grey matter is hole-punched by hundreds of hits, your liver corroded by pools of booze, your ovaries incapacitated by too many years too thin. You feel wasted. Your present and future feel murdered by your past.

Are you over? Ruined? Not necessarily. Not with some minor readjustment.

"Minor" you say? Yeah, fine. My brain can't compute, so instead of going back to engineering I'll just sweep garbage shoots. My liver will burst, so rather than learning to run I'll lie floorwise waiting to die and studying the ceiling popcorn's Rorschach mystery. I'll never have kids, so I'll turn my apartment into a rescue farm and make all my dresses out of Purina sacks.

No, readjustment is not easy. But it is possible. And it leads to a more fulfilling life than despair.

Some things we can't change. Some wounds we can't heal. Some people we can't get back. No matter how sincerely you limber it up in yoga, nurture your organic turnips, cry it out in therapy, or make amends, sometimes Humpty Dumpty cannot be taped up. And refusing to accept it only creates new cracks.

Example: Your daughter won't see you. You could chase her down, visit her place of work, show up at her house unannounced. You could plead with her to see how sick you were, how you didn't mean anything you did. You could even fight, saying she's cruel. She rejects your amends, doesn't see her part. This probably won't go well.

Rather than snuggling your daughter into your warm embrace, you may just chase her deeper into shadow. What might be only a short time apart could become, because you fought it, one that may last years. Or forever. Your refusal to accept the loss magnified it. You created the pain you feared.

And this is basically how it goes.

You may have injured your brain. And you could fight it. You could go on interview after interview trying to prove it isn't so. And this may work out. If it does, wonderful. But it may not, and in the attempt you may erode your self-worth. Meanwhile you could have accepted your injury. Instead of fighting, you could have found new value. You might have helped somebody, coached kids after school, cared for an elderly friend. Your unexpected, unwanted life could have been more powerful than decades at a desk.

And so your liver's wounded. Again you could fight, keep on as if everything's unchanged. And this may prove a miracle. But it could also be your death. Alternatively, you might reap more years in admitting the disease, treatment and care, and meanwhile fill every hour of every day with joy as if each were a bubble about to burst so should be savored while it lingers. You could condense more life into a month than some might fit in decades.

And no, maybe, you can't have kids. And yes you can keep fighting, suffering through every test, believing it can be changed. And if this works, what a joy. But if you could accept your loss, you might find new purpose, and someone new, who needs you, to love and serve.

Your brokenness may be an opportunity for extraordinary meaning. Your dream of an unbroken life may awaken to a deeper life with infinitely more impact.

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