Tuesday, February 19, 2013

and then i saw a carousel

Your first love has never forgotten you. 

Sometimes, in the course of a fifteen minute walk, you can run the gamut of emotions of human experience.
I burst forth out of the classroom, liberated from the chains of schoolbooks for an hour or so.
A rush of joy from the freedom and a surge of stress from my to-do list inundate my mind, in a surge of emotions.
I realized I'd forgotten to smile.
So I mentally put my imaginary to-do list away, out of sight and out of mind.
And I remember that I should breathe.
I recognized a person I would have otherwise passed by, and so we stopped and talked.
I would have rushed by in a blur of motion.
Movement may be natural to humans, but without those moments of stillness, we'll never be able to see in which direction we're moving.

Pascal says:

 "When everything is moving at once, nothing appears to be moving, as on board ship. 
When everyone is moving towards depravity, no one seems to be moving, 
but if someone stops, 
he shows up the others who are rushing on, by acting as a fixed point."

I think he's onto something.
If we never examine where we're going, we're bound to rush by a friend, or find ourselves at the bottom of the rabbit hole, not realizing how we'd gotten there.

I will love with urgency, but not with haste

I watched with horror as the young girl started crying right in front of me.
It's a rare and tremendously awe-ful sorrow to see another human being break right in front of you.
You watch them shatter into a thousand little pieces, crumbling away before your very eyes, and there's so little you can do to help.
In fact, there's really nothing you can do to fix them.
You find yourself feeling much like a paramedic who's been dispatched to the scene of a car crash with nothing but a box of Band-Aids.
The first snare you run into is the snare of yourself: Where do I begin? What do I do? How do I Fix This?
And those questions are our shields, because as terrifying as it is to encounter yourself, it's sometimes (sometimes. only sometimes) much safer to encounter yourself than truly see another human's heart unlocked.
Sometimes, we are our own retreat.

But I have this box of Band-Aids, I think. 
And I barely know where to begin.
But I know I have to use them.

I looked into her eyes, and what I saw there that I disliked so much was my reflection in those eyes.
Even though I knew I was a paramedic, I felt more like the one who crashed the car.

No one says anything, because sometimes you wander outside the realm of words.
Its strange to find another human being in a wordless place. Most of the time, we talk with other human beings, Because that just seems the natural thing to do: to communicate, to share the moment, to breathe and think together.
It's unnerving to find another person there in that safe little kingdom-beyond-thought, because you both know that you were somewhere-beyond-words together, but once you arrive back in the world of words, you can't communicate that to one another.
If you make the attempt at communication, you'll end up feeling like a Neanderthal trying to describe a Picasso.
You've encountered something out of your depth, and you simply don't have the words to describe it.
And you both trepidatiously make timid eye contact, both wondering: I wonder if she knew I was there, too?
And of course she does.
And so you simply smile, and hide in that smile all the things a you can say with the 17-26 muscles it takes to smile.

You even spit out some holy word//I have no strength from which to speak

But you still have those Band-Aids, which are about of as much medicinal use as a smile.
So leave the deeper healing to those who actually are in the business of saving.
You, small child, can't mend any broken bones. Leave those for the doctor to set.
But, just like any child, reach for the box of Band-Aids, and offer them to those who are hurting.
All the Band-Aids will do is remind them that whatever wound they carry-- their bruised thumb, scraped knee or sprained ankle-- is noticed, loved, and will one day get better.
Little signs that healing is on its way.

so I ran towards the carousel and I left my fear behind, in the coils of the snake.

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