Good Intentions

I bought this piece for my mother when I was first independent (i.e., I had my driver's license) and she was doing some decorating with "Oriental" accents in the living room. So we're talking almost forty years ago. I don't remember where I bought it, but I do remember that I was incredibly pleased with myself for having found something I thought she would like that would actually "go" with her decorating scheme, something I thought was pretty and graceful and appropriate. And also I remember that as I was unlocking my car I propped the box holding this lady on my leg and it promptly fell over onto the pavement as I opened the car door. And even though she was in a box, I had that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that one gets at moments like those. I heard the fateful "clunk." I just knew it was broken. And of course it was.

The lady had been decapitated. Fortunately, she was made of the kind of material and it was the kind of break that did not resist reconnection. I don't remember how she put it back together but I do remember how relieved I was to find that my mother was able to reunite the lady and her head with hardly any evidence of the terrible accident showing, and she stands in the living room to this day in this very spot. No harm done; I escaped humiliation. I am pretty sure my mother had vast experience with glue even forty years ago.

I remember that growing up was a series of such events. Good intentions, good ideas, plans of all kinds that somehow went awry, often rather suddenly. Mishaps, missteps, misdirected ideas coming on the heels of genuinely heartfelt hopes, dreams, plans, all tentative steps toward adulthood. Big plans, big ideas, some thankfully dying on the vine, others killed by early frost, others executed poorly, some the victim of carelessness and others cut short by seemingly random accidents.

Now I have kids of my own who are becoming independent. Who are doing the same sort of things - having ideas, making plans, and having some of them fall apart, fall over, the victims of carelessness, poor execution, mis-judgment, accidents. Some of these events cry out for glue. But there isn't a variety of glue that will fix all these breaks. Not all heads can be reattached or reattached with little evidence of rupture. Not all breaks are the kind that lend themselves to being fixed. Some things get broken beyond repair, even smashed to smithereens. Disappointment and humiliation results. But we are all trying to learn about the varieties of glue that are needed in life: love, respect, acceptance, tolerance, forgiveness.

Especially forgiveness.


Meg Lauber said…
Amen. Well said, Penny!