"they say the owl was a baker's daughter. lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be." (Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5)

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Running with Scissors

I remember learning that the root of the word "decision" is "to cut". I checked myself on www.dictionary.com this evening, and my memory is correct. The root is Latin, evolved to Middle French, and then Middle English meaning literally: a cutting off.

Maybe that's why decisions are so hard to make. Maybe that's why it is sometimes so hard to live with our decisions. There is, quite literally, an amputation involved in every decision we make.

I often find it difficult to appreciate the spoils of my decisions, because I spend so much time lamenting the casualities. What a special kind of warfare.

When we were married, my husband recommended that we be always like the blades on a pair of scissors -- forever connected at the center and cutting anything that comes between us. Careful to never harm each other. I suppose I can accept the decisions I make as long I have the balancing strength of both of our tandem blades.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

To Pieces

When we were little, I remember my dad saying, "I love you to pieces." I didn't really get it at the time. For some reason, it always reminded me of potato sticks (remember that silly snack that came in a can? Messy to beat the band. I could never really get a full mouthful of those things. They just made your hands greasy and litter the front of your shirt with salty debris and potato detritus). Anyway, I can't explain the mental connection between being loved to pieces and potato sticks. Maybe, quite simply, I just found them both to be messy propositions.

Lately, I've been thinking about what holds us together. Isn't it the same thing that breaks us to pieces? Think about it. If we walked around each day, fully aware of all the love that we hold in our hearts, surely we would shatter to pieces. There would just be, no feasible way, that we could function as human beings, if we were cognizant, at all times, of all the emotion glueing us together. The weight of the wonder would surely make us crumble. We would love to pieces.

Maybe we put it at a safe distance. A space that we can tolerate in our ordinary lives. But moments come, when the distance between us and that safe space collide, and the same force that is holding us together is the very force that breaks us apart. All that emotion, brewing, brimming, stirring, and stifled rushes in to raise us and raze us.

Paradoxically, the days when I am standing on the shoulders of giants, are usually the days that bring me to my knees.