Just Writing

The Truth About Broken Things

The Truth about Broken Things

The Fullston’s lived at No. 9 Chaddick Drive, just around the corner from the recruiting office. In the days following the bold black headlines of the Lusitania lines of men extended well past the front door. Their eyes all held different stories. Frightened or yearning for glory, and always perched above gray coats.

Eventually the gray spread to trousers and boots, and bled into the streets. And soon everything was gray except the signs for bonds.

At first I thought that it wouldn’t find its way past the front door. We kept it out for as long as we could, or at least I did. Mr. Fullston embraced the war, and for his sake Diana did as well. I don’t even think they noticed when the gray touched the marble and mahogany.

In the hallway outside the library was a mostly empty china cabinet. A shelf behind the dull glass held a colorful variety of tea cups. Diana once told me she collected them on her travels. In the years before meeting Mr. Fullston.

The gray touched the cups one by one. Hand painted flowers and bright rims eventually faded. And as I watched it happen I knew it would eventually reach me. It seemed the war would scar every inch of our lives.

When the lines had shortened and the obituaries were much too young, I noticed that two cups near the back of the shelf remained untouched. Behind the faded glass and rows of gray, the weak light reflected off their gold rims. The porcelain was a clean white. It spoke of purer times.

Each day I walked to the cabinet and pressed my fingertips to the glass. Just to look and see. To make sure that it hadn’t touched them. That it wouldn’t touch them. I was never sure what I would do if it had. I just hoped that it wouldn’t. It began to seem as though everything was hung in balance by that single moment each morning.

Diana asked me about it once, right before she left for one of her war effort meetings. I answered without thinking, “It hasn’t touched these two yet.” For a moment I was paralyzed with the notion that she wouldn’t understand.

She put her fur muff to the side, next to the boxes of gray clothes that were to be donated to soldiers. Her eyes were misty with confusion until she saw the cups. And a soft smiled graced her lips then. “I got those two when I was away at school. They were so simple. Ordinary, even. But perfect. Incredibly perfect.” She brushed a graying stand of hair from her eyes. “I usually only collected one cup at a time. But I couldn’t separate them. They were made to be together. I think that is what made them special.”

“They seem so…clean from the world.” My voice came out in a ragged whisper. To my surprise, Diana merely nodded.

“I’ll be back shortly, my dear. We’ll use them for our tea this afternoon.”

Mr. Fullston left soon after her, a telegram in his hand and a cigar jammed in the corner of his mouth. No doubt he was heading downtown to one of the large buildings with marble floors. I was never to know what he actually did there. He left clouds of gray smoke behind him as he closed the door.

I decided to wait until Diana came home from her meeting to get the saucers out. I was both excited and frightened to remove them from behind the glass. I needed the perfection Diana had spoken of to remain. And yet I had a small hope of absorbing their purity.

Perhaps it was this hope that caused the accident. I’ll never be entirely sure.

Diana sat at the table, our tea set before her as I removed the cups. They were dainty, yet somehow strong in their light clinking. I wiped them clean of any gray dust and walked back towards the tea room.

But the cups fell.

They slipped from my hands and shattered into fragments on the gray floor. I screamed. And I could not get to the pieces before the gray began weeping into them.

“No! No, no, no!” My tears splashed onto the tainted porcelain. But they didn’t wash it clean.

“It’s alright, my dear.” Diana’s voice was suddenly beside me. But I couldn’t seem to hear it. I frantically began gathering up the pieces, hardly noticing when one of them cut me. Then I saw that even my blood looked gray. And that was when I realized that there was no escape. There was no remaining untouched.

“We will fix them.” Diana’s voice came piercing through my realizations.

“But we can’t.” My voice was as raw as my new reality. “They are broken. I broke them. They were perfect and now they are tainted.” I was finally able to meet her eyes. “Diana, it’s all broken.”

Diana smiled at me, and then carefully picked up the fragmented cups. At her silent invitation I followed her to the kitchen where she scrubbed the blood from my hands. Then we sat at the large table and I watched her repair the cups. Piece by piece, the porcelain fit back together and the gold rims returned. Though I thought I would be forever haunted by the cracks.

“Everything gets broken from time to time.” Diana finally said, “But you should learn now that brokenness is never final. I told you earlier that I’ve always felt that the perfection we sense here lies in the fact that they were made for one another. Tainted or whole makes no difference.”

One day, the gray was gone. Perhaps it left on its own or perhaps I simply stopped seeing it. For the rest of the war I visited the china cabinet every day. I pressed my fingertips to the glinting glass and peered inside at the two white cups. And I often heard Diana’s voice in my head, teaching me the truth about broken things.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

I’ve had this short story floating around in the gray areas of my mind for some time now. It wasn’t until recently, when I had a very wonderful conversation with somebody whom I love dearly, that I was able to put all the pieces together. I felt myself looking for some grand way to express the simplest truth I’ve learned this year. But it wasn’t until I stripped away the thoughts of grandeur that I could really see it before my eyes. Sometimes the grandest way to express our deepest truths is through simple means. It was a joy to write.

I'm Just Saying

All The Cliches

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been plagued with the desire to be different. My entire life has been spent seeking to be the nonconformist. I lost track years ago of how this happens. I don’t even want to talk about how many times I haven’t done something for the sole reason that “everybody else” is doing it.

This has always just been a huge part of me. It’s been me. I can’t be like everybody else.

But even this truth was hard because I knew I wasn’t the only one that felt this way. I knew that lots of people don’t want to conform to society. Lots of people want to be different. Lots of people felt exactly like me.

ClicheSo even in my desire to be different, I wasn’t different.

I’m not sure where this need to be a nonconformist came from. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t this way. Many of you know that I come from a very large family. I am one of ten children. Maybe this is where my desire to be different comes from. Maybe I just needed to stand out from the army of humans I was raised with. But to be honest, I love having a big family. It is hard sometimes, yes, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I love my siblings very much.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because in the last few months this aspect of my personality has been through some interesting twists and turns. And the last few days it’s been driving me nuts. I’ll explain.

I’ve been doing a lot of creating lately. I’ve been writing my novel, writing poems, and even painting a little. And it’s been really great. I love to create. I have loved doing it so much lately.

But then I get inside of my own head. And I start falling into the paradox all creators face:

What can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said?

What could I possibly write that hasn’t already been written?

My need to create has been seriously stagnated by my really obnoxious personality flaw. But this aspect of my personality has been seriously toned down the last few months. Actually, I’ve changed a lot the last few months.

I’ve learned that there is a reason cliches exist. I’ve learned that there is a reason that “everybody” does the things that they do.

It’s because they are good things. They are the best things. The right things. And when something is the best, and right, you have to take it. You just have to. And be grateful that you got lucky enough to understand why cliches exist.

So maybe I can’t say or write something different than what has already been said and written a million times for thousands of years. But I can say it or write it from my perspective. I can say it or write it from my heart. And in that way it will be just a little bit different. And it will be my take on life. And my take on the cliches.

So guess what?

I’ll take them. All the cliches. Send them my way, please.

I'm Just Saying

Faith, Trust, And…

Many of you are aware that I am a very religious person. I also know that many of you are as well, and it has been a real pleasure to share my belief in God with many of you.

Today being Sunday, I’ve got lots of spiritual things on my mind. Well, if I’m being completely honest, I’ve usually got spiritual things on my mind. But today in particular I’ve been thinking.

To put it mildly, my life has been very interesting lately. And I have learned a lot of things. So many things. And every time I have prayed, God has been right there. Comforting me. Supporting me. And giving me countless answers.

Seriously.

The answers I have received from God in the past weeks have been endless, and too intense for me to ever deny. And they have come in a variety of ways. One of the things I love most about God is how well He knows each and every one of us. As we get closer to Him, we are able to communicate with Him in a way that is unique for each one of us.

Because I love music, He has often answered my prayers through song. Because I’m really observant and love looking at people and the world around me, He often answers my prayers through small things. Even something as simple as a license plate or a shooting star. Or a feeling. Or a small voice whispering to me.

But unfortunately I’ve got this problem. I have a really hard time trusting, and more often than not this gets projected on to God. He’ll give me answers, and suddenly I put on my suit of armor and say, “Okay! Cool! Answer received! I’m ready to make it happen! What next?”

Imagine my shock then, when He simply says, “Nothing. I’ll make it happen. Just trust me.”

Like…what?

You mean, you don’t need my help?

What can I do to help this thing along?

“Nothing.” He says. “I’ll take care of it. Just trust me. Be patient.”

And there I am, kneeling beside my bed in prayer all like…okay. Cool. Answer received. I’ll just…go on my merry way.

But here I am, learning things. This is honestly such a new experience for me. And I get anxious and frustrated and discouraged too easily. I start wishing I had more faith. But then I’m reminded that I did get this far, and that’s something. And to be honest, I think that all of us have more faith than we think we do. Really.

God is giving me answers that make my heart want to burst and soar all at the same time. But then He asks me to trust Him. He’s going to make it happen. For some reason that is so much easier said than done. I’m not used to reaching out and relying on others that much, and yet time and time again recently God has been asking me to learn how to do that. And now it’s time to rely on Him. To trust these incredible answers I’ve received and wait patiently.

It’s all about trust right now.

But then again, maybe that is the lesson. Maybe it is always about trust, and realizing that God has a plan, and trusting that He has everything under control. He loves us infinitely. And He is able to answer our prayers and do ALL things because, after all, He is God.

 

Just Writing

Heartbeat Part 3

A broken heart is a funny thing.

It is the worst in the morning. After you’ve woken from a fitful sleep. As exhausted as you are, body and soul, you can never sleep for long. You’re plagued by dreams that wake you up and jerk you into reality. Sometimes you can go back to sleep, after you’ve taken something or said a hundred prayers or watched videos until your eyes bleed.

It is the worst in the morning. When there are no texts to wake up to. When you’re faced with the reality of another day. So you have to choose between curling up there in the pain and getting up and burying it in something else. These are your two options, and you don’t want to do either of them. Because each one hurts equally. So after a while you get up. Each step is a painful heartbeat.

Outside the sun is shining.

And in the brief moments during the day when you can immerse yourself in living, a very small part of you that is still intact surfaces. And it says a lot of things. It tries to help. It tries to encourage. It even teases you a little bit for being so completely cliche in your heartbreak. Look at you, being just like everybody else. Karma hasn’t been very kind recently.

You’re going through phases. It is strange what grief does to a person. And how we all grieve differently. You were never going to be like this, you told yourself. You were never going to let somebody in this far so that they’d have this much power to destroy you. But you grew up, and you learned things. And your heart changed. And you did let them in, and you fell head over heels in love. Madly and unabashedly in love. And you told them everything, all the little secret parts and pieces you’d kept hidden so deeply. Most importantly, you trusted them. They felt more like home than any house ever had. No matter what, with them you were always, always safe.

That’s why it hurts so badly now. And why none of it makes any sense.

It made so much sense, even to you. Your brain doesn’t really work in parts and pieces that fit together neatly. It works with grand ideas that move about existentially. But even to you, it fit together. Even to you, it made more sense than anything in the world. That’s why it hurts so badly now. That’s why the confusion is the worst part. Or maybe it isn’t the confusion, but the hope. Because you’re ridiculous, even to yourself. Because you keep hoping, and you keep praying. And you move from one moment to the next, held together in a patchwork of pain and hope.

Because with them it was different. You both said so. There had been others, in times past. Others that made your heart flutter, who knew how to make you laugh. Others you could’ve seen yourself with. And when they didn’t work out you had your periods of sadness. But it was never like this. Nothing was ever like this. This one was different.

These are the things you remember in the morning.

And somehow your heart keeps beating.

 

Just Writing

Heartbeat Part 2

A broken heart is a funny thing.

The one thing you are unprepared to deal with is the anger. It is an emotion that surfaces every now and again, when the grief is spent. It is an emotion that surfaces every now and again, when the emptiness feels numb. It is an emotion that surfaces every now and again, when the fire burns too hot.

And you try and remind yourself that it isn’t good to be angry. You try and remind yourself that it isn’t very Christlike. But still you feel the anger. Because it is part of it. And there are too many unanswered questions. Too many unsolved mysteries. Too much that doesn’t make sense.

For a moment the anger makes your heart beat.

And you wish they didn’t have this kind of power over you. You wish you could push it away the way you think they are. You wish it didn’t hurt so much that you think you’ll fall apart any second. You wish all sorts of things you’ll have to repent for later.

You say all sorts of things to the people who have held your hand since it happened. And rather than cry in the grief, you cry in the anger. You clench your fists as the tears pour down your face. Your entire body is rigid in anger. And you ask all sorts of questions. And you add endless amounts of people to the line of those who are more angry than you.

The anger makes your heart beat.

You wonder how they could be so selfish. Why your own thoughts, feelings, or the answers you’d gotten didn’t matter when it came right down to it. Why it wasn’t a mutual decision at all, like big ones are supposed to be. Why it was only ever about what you wanted when they finally felt like agreeing. Why nothing you said mattered at all. And if it did matter, then there aren’t enough explanations.

You wonder why they told you that none of it had been a lie when they first called. But something was. Either you know them as well as you do, or you never knew them. Either it was all a lie, or there is more than what they’re telling you. And if so, the selfishness continues. The cowardice. Run away instead of talking it out. Run away instead of answering the questions. Run away instead of being faithful to the answer you said you got. Run away instead of fixing the chasm you created inside the person you professed to love.

The anger makes you hope they are suffering just as much. Or more.

The anger makes all sorts of things surface. It reminds you that love is all at once the most complicated thing in the world, and the most black and white. It only has to be as complicated as you make it. It only has to be as scary as you let it. But then the world gets in the way. And fear gets in the way. And dark things you don’t understand get in the way.

And they tell you all sorts of things, the people in the angry line. Most of them tell you to close the door and run as fast as you can. Some of them tell you that you’re being too kind, too nice. That you were too good. Cliche things. But you don’t believe those things, because you feel so angry. So angry you could scream. But your soul has been screaming for weeks.

But the last few days are the first ones in which the anger makes you see red.

Your friends take you to the restaurant, and you see those people. And you pretend you don’t know them: the couple that was so happy for you. You try not to panic. And you try to hide the fact that you’re shaking, and that you can’t breathe. Because he is your server, and looking at him is a strange torture. And his eyes have a question in them you can’t answer.  Because you don’t have the answers.

You are angry about everything. Every moment you were stupidly happy. Every moment when it felt more right than anything ever had. Every moment when it was so clear that it was the only thing that made sense. Even the hard moments that turned out better, because it couldn’t happen again. The list of things that happened to make it work out, and that pointed to it being right is one hundred miles long. It makes you livid.

More than anything, there is something else that fuels the anger to white hot.

And it is the fact that underneath it all, you aren’t angry. Not even a little bit. Not at all. Because the infuriatingly patient, loving, forgiving, and understanding slice of your heart is more stubborn than you’ll ever be. And that slice of your heart is praying and waiting and praying more, and whispering good things in your ear when you wake up in the middle of night because you had a dream.

And you aren’t really angry, only temporarily so, because there is a foolish hope in your heart. And you aren’t really angry, because even though you wish it wasn’t the case you’re still sending out love and prayers. And you aren’t really angry, because as soon as you’re done crying God always fills your heart will a mountain of peace and promise.

But for a moment you’re angrier than you’ve ever been.

And somehow your heart keeps beating.

 

I'm Just Saying

Farewells

I’m not sure who that was on the phone, but it wasn’t you. I will tell you, though, that I felt you slip away days ago. And I knew it would happen. I saw my worst fears confirmed, I saw it all fall apart. And when we finally talked, it didn’t even sound like you. You were gone. I think I know you well enough to be able to say that.

This will be my last ever post on this blog. There is too much of you here. So I guess you don’t have to worry about it after this. To be honest, I already told you everything I needed you to know. But there are a few more things I’d like to say, because you once told me that if you ever fell out of line I needed to put you back in your place. That’s what friends do.

There are going to be times in your life, many of them, when you won’t be able to see something anymore. There will be times when you lose the vision of a dream. It happens. It’s called life. It’s called temptation. Satan. Whatever. It happens. Okay? But that doesn’t mean that you walk away. It means that you hold on to the answers that you have already received, and you keep fighting. You stand up and fight back. Because it is worth it, and anything worth having is worth fighting for.

I’m not asking you to fight for this. But I am telling you that you’re going to need to fight for something someday. Don’t let goodness slip through your fingers. Don’t run. Stick it out.

I want to say that it was an excuse. The reason you gave me was no reason at all. I don’t understand it. How it changed so fast when I thought I had forever. I know you. I can see you. I understand you. And that wasn’t you.

You were gone, and I couldn’t reach you. I tried. But you were so closed off. Just gone. I wish you hadn’t shut me out. I wish you had remembered that first and foremost we were friends. I wish you’d have let me help.

I hate it that you’re gone, and now I have to figure out how to fill in the empty spaces. I have to figure out how to live without my best friend. Who to talk to when I’m excited or sad. Who I should discuss movies and novels with. But that’s my problem now, not yours.

You don’t have to worry, though, I know how you really feel. There were too many moments that were so precious that I can’t even bear to think about them anymore. But those are the moments when it was really you, and I knew how we both felt.

I meant everything that I said on the phone.

I'm Just Saying

All The Broken Hearts

heart-noteThere is a five year old child inside of me that gets really, really into 80’s music. This is, of course, because I was raised on 80’s music due to the fact that I have very wonderful parents. On the days when nothing seems right, when I can’t get any of the pieces of my life to fit together, when I can’t figure anything out, there is always Journey, Boston, and Def Leppard. To name a few of the greats.

Every now and again, my sharp wit and sarcasm get me into a world of trouble.

Seriously, the only time I ever make huge, glaring errors in life is when I say exactly what I’m thinking. Most of the time it’s not a big deal and I can be the funny one, other times I get snarky and…well.

I’ve done quite well over the past few years at limiting this type of thing. I have worked very, very hard on thinking before I speak and this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me too much anymore.

But it happened last night. And even though I apologized and everything is okay, I’m still shaking off the feelings of guilt and shame.

And you’re probably thinking I’ve said something absolutely horrible to rend the relationships of my life, and truthfully I have been in that position before and it was just the worst, but this isn’t what happened last night. In fact, on a scale of 1 to Oh-My-Gosh-How-Do-I-Have-Friends-I’m-So-Cruel, it was more of Oops-I-Could-Have-Said-That-Differently-Sorry.

But I’ve been doing this thing lately where it’s like I’ve never learned anything or had any balancebouts of self discovery ever and all the sudden I’m relearning all the things. I’ve been torn between optimism and pessimism, despair and hope, happiness and sadness, caring and indifference. I’m just going to say it: balance is hard. Not only that, but it’s never been my forte in…anything.

I’m an all or nothing type of person, and totally not into this half way crap.

Last night I was driving to my apartment from my sister’s house, this was before the incident in which I forgot to think before vomiting my thoughts, and I was feeling rather lost. The truth is that my mind can be a little bit of a scary place but I frequently get lost inside of it, and as a result I turn into a philosopher who get easily overwhelmed. (And I’m not even a coffee drinker which poses a problem because I’m pretty sure that’s some sort of necessity for people who dare to get lost in their own mind.)

At this point, the wonderful band Boston decided to remind me to Hold on Loosely. Bless their hearts, they always know just what to say. And this isn’t a joke because I’m really, really good at clinging to things and spiraling out of control as a result. (I have an entire, really awesome blog post about this that you are more than welcome to read if you so desire. All you have to do is click here.)

It could possibly be because I’m 21 and in a phase of life, but life has decided to teach me about love recently. Recently meaning the last year especially. I’ve written quite a few posts about my findings on love, but one thing I’ve never talked about is how I’ve come to realize that love is love no matter what. You could be talking about romantic love, familial love, or the love you feel for your favorite food. Love is just love. And because that is the case, it encompasses everything, it connects everything. Love is the undercurrent of our lives.

heartWhen I was a little girl I used to think that a “broken heart” could only be the result of a romantic relationship gone wrong. Life very quickly showed me that this isn’t the case. Broken hearts happen all the time, with many different things. Sometimes we break our own hearts, sometimes our friends or family break our hearts. Sometimes we want a bowl of cereal and there’s no milk. The possibilities of heartbreak truly are endless.

What intrigues me about heartbreak is that it is the surest sign that you felt something. It is the surest sign that you did the purest thing in the world: you gave of yourself and you poured your love into life. Being heartbroken, then, is quite possibly the most noble thing to be. Especially when you keep on loving anyway.

And as I come to the close of this blog post in which I’ve talked about a plethora of different subjects, I think that all I’m really trying to say is that sometimes we do things we regret and we need to apologize, and sometimes we get our own hearts broken, and sometimes the only wisdom we can find is in the songs we grew up listening to. But I guess that’s coffee-less philosophy.

Thank you for exploring my thoughts with me today.