Oddments

In search of story


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Disconnections: October 1.18

As you know, dear reader, I am in the process of down-sizing. And process it is. I still have things in a storage unit, and I’m here to tell you that “out of sight, out of mind” does not apply: those things jabber at me all the time, yelling across town “We’re still here, you know!”

Sorting through life’s accumulation requires thinking, contemplating, reflecting, and — the biggest obstacle of all — remembering. One cannot just pick up a box and heave it into the garbage — it might have an old birthday card in it! And heaven forbid I throw out a Tiny Tears dress I’d intended to keep forever!

For me, what greases this slow-grinding process is anger. When I get angry, I can see so clearly what I don’t need! I can see how junk is weighing me down, and out with it!

The last few weeks have brought — for me — the climax of a long wind-up of anger and grief and resentment and depression and disbelief and despair and frustration and disgust, as I try to understand what has made children and women such disposable commodities. My struggles culminated in a free-for-all of unloading. And thus did I fill my car on the weekend for our community recycling day, and thus did I heap my own recycling bin to overflowing.

An inadequate catharsis, perhaps, but at least a constructive one. At the rate things are going, all my belongings will soon fit in a thimble.

 


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Connections: February 22.18

LOWER TO HALF-MAST. REPEAT.

Measured anger,

calibrated,

methodically

articulated,

sourced in heart

tempered in mind,

sentence by sentence

clearly defined.

Rage and anguish

penned halberds

change can fly

on wings of words.

 

We must, dear reader, believe that.

Connections


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Fumbling

“What is truth?” asked Pilate. Pshaw. Why didn’t he ask the really tough question: “What is forgiveness?”

We read much of forgiveness these days. Apparently we needed to. It seemed that, when unimaginable pain in Charleston reached out with unimaginable generosity, we drank like the desert parched.

What is forgiveness? I have no idea. To me, it is the most complicated, mysterious phenomenon in the universe. A writing mate wrote of it once, bravely and insightfully. I admired her courage and her words. It isn’t something easily worded. Not for me.

I know what it isn’t. Forgiveness isn’t permission to do it again. When we forgive the other, we are not saying “you may hurt me again.” Or “you may hurt those I love again.”

Forgiveness isn’t liberation from guilt. Guilt in the other isn’t always ours to lift. Besides, guilt has a place in life; it teaches us not to hurt again. Not all guilt is manipulative or distorting. Some is constructive. Forgiveness can enable a constructive guilt but it is not a magic wand that makes guilt disappear.

Forgiveness isn’t pretending it never happened. Forgiveness acknowledges what happened, not for vengeance or recrimination, but for moving forward. Sometimes for self-defense and survival.

Forgiveness isn’t merely pronouncing a formula. “I forgive you” isn’t the whole of it.

Forgiveness isn’t the absence of feelings. Sometimes anger. Sometimes grief. Sometimes feelings so seismic they don’t have names. But there they are. And must be.

Dad and Mom always said that if you can’t put something into words you don’t understand it. And so I fumble for words because I fumble for understanding. Maybe that’s the best I can do.