#474: LET'S NAVEL-GAZE A LITTLE, SHALL WE?

bird sculpture
A Sculpture in Dowtown Cityville


This morning I took a telephone call from an elder woman who had lost her husband unexpectedly. She called because I had sent her a note regarding his death, and she wanted to thank me. It was heartbreaking.

Our conversation was very normal, too normal, at first. It was the kind of conversation that people have in the face of horrible emotional/spiritual/psychological pain that touches around the edges of the reality you both know but does not fully acknowledge its actuality. We went on this way for a couple of minutes until she mentioned the date of her husband's death. The date was not around the edges, it was solidly in the middle where the facts were still fresh wounds, and so she started to cry.

All I could think of was to reiterate how sorry I was to hear of her loss. I have never met this woman before, and this was the first time I had ever heard her voice, yet I, too, fought the tightening in my throat. We finished our conversation in strained, elevated speech choked out in between hard swallows.

For the rest of the day, my mind kept pausing around thoughts of things that wound our hearts. The mullet man and his hate hurt my hopeful world view. It made me doubt what faith I have in good hearts. It disappointed my false expectations of the goodness I willfully try to believe is innate in all people. The sadness about this is relatively small, but it hurts nonetheless.

A beautiful friend of mine has had her heart broken through another's dishonesty and immaturity and general need of good therapy. When she gave me a ride in her car, her grief was palpable, it was so heavy and encompassing, and all I wanted was to take it from her, carry it for a little while so that she could have a break from it. I wanted to dry it out and make it lighter. I felt so useless that I offered her a banana, because potassium is good for the heart.

And then, after these first two things, the elder woman called and unleashed a new kind of hurt in this list of woes that humanity trails out and that I adopt when I'm feeling particularly low. She introduced the kind of pain that is not consciously acted out, one that can't be blamed on anyone. Her husband is gone.

I muddled around in this melancholy for a good part of the day, looking for the thing I was missing. There is usually something that I am overlooking when I gather so much sadness to me, and I needed to find it, because none of these things were even mine to carry. I was carrying them for another reason.

At approximately three in the afternoon, I stopped working to stare out over a large lawn and sip my coffee. Why was I bothering to wax so melancholy, to slip into a sullen, high school dreariness over things that are essentially separate from myself?

And then it hit me. Each of these three situations were surrounded with such kind people. The mullet man was one ignorant person, but so many people I know are peaceful and intelligent and show that in so many areas of their lives. My friend has had her heart broken, but she has supportive friends who love her and will stand by her as long as she needs. The elder woman has lost her husband, but during her conversation with me, she expressed how many people had been so wonderful to her to help her through.

I have been walking around staring at my shoes again and complaining that it is so hard to find the good in humanity with all the assholes mucking things up, which is just silly, because I know some incredibly decent human beings, and they greatly outnumber the mullet man, the heartbreaker, and that piddly death thing.

I think I just get confused sometimes, because the mullet men, the heartbreakers, and death are such squeaky wheels.

Now, at this very moment, I am going to grab my very-much-alive husband and go see some very non-hating friends and stick pins in a heartbreaker voodoo doll.

Okay, so maybe I won't do the voodoo doll thing, because that's mean, and I am not. I might just have to sign the heartbreaker up for a free sample of adult diapers, though, to help grease the wheels with his new girlfriend.