Tuesday, September 17, 2013

stained

whenever i purchase something new, there is always that feeling of enjoyment that comes from the pristine-ness of the thing and the follow-on desire of wanting to keep it just that way. and when the first mark or blemish appears on the shiny possession, there is a kind of loss that goes with it. for years i wouldn't use things people gave me, for fear of this loss, and i battled over whether to keep the things in their packaging and never use them so that they could stay perfect forever, or to let them become the way everything else in life becomes: marred, dirtied, and (eventually) broken.

a dear friend of mine just had a baby this past week, and when i went to visit him in the hospital, all i could feel was how small and perfect he was. how loved. how utterly wanted and protected. in his clean-slated state of being, he hasn't yet experienced emotional heartache, sadness, loss, or anything that might prick his tiny heart and make him feel tarnished or bruised. and oh, how i would love to keep him from ever feeling that way. how i wish i could preserve his sense of peace, support him learning only positive things in life, make sure that what he experiences from the world is nothing short of love.

but that's not possible, is it? if he (or anyone) is to go on about the business of real life, then the bumps and bruises are inevitable. he will not stay a baby forever, and once he begins exploring the world, he will feel its barbs interspersed with its joys. so the answer seems to point to one path: to live life and run the risk of being stained by it.

and i'm okay with that answer. i'm all right with the idea that nothing is perfect—nor was it ever intended to be. but there are paths in life for some folks when things do go pretty well and intentions are good. there are band-aids and antibiotic creams to treat the scrapes. there are cleansers to wipe away the smudges and splatters. there is someone there to tend to the hurt and the pain and the loneliness. if the attention is quick (if not immediate), the hurts brought on by the world are lesser than if left alone. there isn't time for ick to dry and harden on surfaces (or, worse, do damage on an even deeper level), and things can move along pretty smoothly.

but then, there are people for whom 30+ years pass without things being addressed, without wrongs being righted, without stains and marks being wiped clean (or at least scrubbed to an acceptable shine). and for those folks, the question remains as to whether it's possible to move from a life that feels rather stained and broken into something that resembles that shiny new-ness that once was. to bring back the wonder and childlike awe of new feelings and sights and sounds. to put the past behind you and redirect yourself to a path that is of your choosing and not simply the hand you were dealt. i have to believe that it can happen, but whether it will is another story altogether. the choice lies within the individual (me, in this scenario) to pull out the tools needed to make things right again.

so, here i stand, filled with doubt and trepidation, holding my best 'scrubber sponges' and heavy-duty 'cleaners'. i have only my mind, my heart, the drive to change, and the repeating refrain: it can get better. it must get better. it will get better.

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