There were a number of trials and tribulations this week, and to balance them, some very beautiful meetings with people close to me. And strangely enough, my conversations with them, seemed to continue from one to the next… though I’m speaking of different conversations with different people; the very same subjects seemed to come up, and it was as if the different meetings were one continuous rumination about the problems we carry with us through life.
It seems that we’ve all had our knocks and our traumas… our disappointments and failures, and unfair treatment by others… and despair. And mistakes in judgment, and having to deal with criticism, and judgment by others. And along the way, we’ve built walls to defend us, and swept things under the rug, and wiped certain things out of our memories… and dealt with other things, found solutions, found methods of relating to certain problems… crutches to help us walk when otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. We’ve left home, and made our own lives. Left, or grown insensitive to husbands and wives, and friends we didn’t get along with, and found ways to deal with the day to day chores of staying alive in this world. But then sometimes, something happens… say, the rug wears out, and we buy a new one. But in the process of exchanging the old for the new we come face to face, after a long time, with what we almost forgot that we’d swept under. Now that’s a good time to cry.
Some of those old bruises are so painful that we’ve been walking with a limp all our lives… and not even realized. There are people in this world who suffer from allergies and illnesses… and have reached the point where they have to deal with the damage that has accumulated from the side-effects caused by medicines they needed to deal with those secondary problems, and only then remembered the original traumas that caused it all. And you might think I was talking about some rare and severe complaint. But it isn’t that rare. When you scratch the surface, you discover that so many people have suffered. One of the ways of dealing with the suffering, is to look across the road… or across the ocean, and say to yourself… well, at least I haven’t suffered abject hunger. Or I didn’t have my home and family destroyed by a sudden unexpected tsunami, or earthquake… or war. And it’s true. We can find people who’ve suffered more than we have. But if it’s hard, and we got all bent out of shape dealing with it… that’s enough.
A friend of mine, when talking about a difficult moment in which he had to deal suddenly with the impossible, said, ‘I remembered the child inside’. And for many of us, that child inside continues to live… sometimes surviving till an advanced old age, peering through eyes that have already seen so much, past wrinkled skin, to the world out there… protected by a stocky frame and the signs of position and degree and possessions. And that child is still hurting ancient hurts, and scared by childish fears. They come out at times in dreams, or standing by the side of the grave as we are burying our parents… or our brothers or sisters… They appear unexpectedly, when a lover leaves, or a partnership dissolves, or we lose our job, or our children start living their own lives.
I ran across a blog this week, and read a post in which a sweet lady wrote to herself when she was sixteen years old… and gave her some advice. Though her advice wasn’t at all relevant to what I had known as a young man, it brought back memories. She touched me. And I thought, there’s the answer. If you’ve still got the child inside, take him or her by the hand, and educate him. Teach him everything you’ve learned through the years, so he can quit and you can get on with life. It’s possible.
Pictures are from a get together with my daughter Rivka, and her best friend Kika. The photos of myself are by Rivka.