Monday, May 30, 2011

"They are just things," he has said to me, "I don't know why you get so upset about them."  I know that, on the surface, but its the deeper meaning of the objects he doesn't seem to get, or wants me not to look at, when he uses that argument with me.
I'm doing better with the things around me, or maybe they have just been disappearing more and being replaced with my things, or our things, so the past is less likely to bother me now.  Maybe lately I have just been thinking of other things.
There is this person I know.  She has been struggling with some inner demon.  It is easy to look in from the outside and say, gee, that is really messed up, but none of us really know what it is like on the inside.  She sees things the rest of us do not see.
Lately, she had a freak out about something that seems so minor, really.  It was nothing more than an object, basically wood and string put together in ways that veil us from the rest of the world..  That, though, combined with some other triggers, set wheels in motion in her mind that led to a confrontation between her and her husband, with one of my best friends, between my friend and I perhaps, everyone jumping at the sound of her gun.
I decided this time I was going to hold my ground, I was not going to be sympathetic about the pink elephants that danced around her mind.  It is easy to be selfish, and want to draw lines between friends and family.  In the end, though, I struck a different tone.  Maybe I wanted to see if she would admit to me what she had done, and for me to set her straight in her mind with gentle persuasion instead of anger.  I still did not understand or agree with her point of view, but I could see the hurt she was covering up inside over this exterior of toughness and I wondered....if you want to remove this thorn in her side, you have to start at the source.
Even though we didn't support her position, we did support the removal of the plank from her eye, and so, the one from her house.  To that end, this morning we stopped by to pick this object up, this simple thing that had triggered this most recent flare up.  Curtain rod and valence now sit in our garage, waiting to be returned to their rightful owner.
About a half hour later, we were on our way to meet up with another couple to pick up some other objects.  These particular objects had held sway over my man's heart for a long time.   These objects, basically wood and string put together, help connect us to the rest of the world.  His uncle, his father, they used bows to bring down game to eat, and then passed down this ability to a young boy who was impressed by this, and he learned it so well that he set several records in competition.  It was a huge part of his youth.  The whole family was involved for some time, and later just himself, and now all the memories of archery are also connected with the memories of family, and of this uncle who passed away just a couple of years ago.
I remember my man talking about his connection to these objects, but I was not expecting his reaction to them, especially to the one his uncle had let him use during his youth.  I had never seen him react to something so strongly, and I realized in that moment something special had happened, some kind of transcendence I had been waiting to happen for him.
Also, it made me think about things.  About the places certain objects belong in our hearts, about how sometimes taking them away, and sometimes bringing them back, helps change our emotional landscape and the way we think about...well...things.
Somewhere behind these thoughts, I am sure, you could play another object of wood and string, a scratchy violin tune that pulls our heartstrings and makes us feel something...undefined...something kind of sad, kind of nostalgic, kind of yearning and missing and hoping for things to change and fade and yet always remain alive in our memory.