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Posts Tagged ‘sharing’

There are things that are hard; I don’t know anyone who can travel through ‎life without picking up some bumps and bruises. We lose things, lose people, lose love. We say mean things and do mean things and do more mean things in retaliation for mean things done to us by others.

And there is pain, so much pain.

Pain that rips us right down to the core and breaks us in half. Pain that we cannot ‎see over or under or through to the other side of. And we know how to hide that pain behind a smile and an “I’m fine” and a quick brush off.

We know all to well what happiness looks like because it stares back at us ‎from the computer screen every minute of the day. It looks like a baby or a wedding or a trip to the beach with a group of laughing, smiling people.

But what about sadness or heartache or loneliness or pain? What do those look like? Do we even know? We don’t post it or Tweet it or take a picture and Instagram it so how do we know?

Because if happiness exists out in the open, sadness exists in the hidden corners. We share what is easy, but we hide what is hard.

Because hard takes up more than 140 characters and needs more context than a single image. If happiness is simple, sadness is infinitely complicated. There are a handful of ways to do the easy things and a million incarnations of how things are hard.

Lately I’ve even been noticing that they skip over the hard stuff on TV. Now obviously TV is not an ideal example of how one should live their life but let’s face it, sometimes we think it is. And yet, when there’s something hard, someone dies, a plane crashes, a love ends, they show you the incident and then fade to black. It’s over, it’s done. You tune in for the next installment only to discover they’ve jumped ahead, it’s now three months later or six months later or a year later and everyone is “moving on” but we never got to see the hard parts, we only got to see what it looks like when it starts to get asier.

So how do we know what to do? How do we know what to say or how to act or how to move from the devastatingly hard to the eventuality of easier? How do we teach our kids how to wade through it all when we hardly know ourselves?

And how do we start to realize that we don’t have to hide it or skim over it or tuck it under our pillows like the tissues we leave there just in case we need them on the nights when the tears come and we just can’t stop them?

Maybe it’s as simple as trying to start talking about the hard in the same way we talk about what’s easy. We need to talk about how motherhood is hard and friendships are hard and relationships are hard and growing old is hard and finding meaning is hard and accepting love is hard and on and on we go. And maybe we need to keep talking about it until it feels just like talking about what’s easy.

Because then maybe it will feel a little bit easier too.

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When things happen that I don’t understand, things that I can’t even begin to understand, I search for the words.  Sometimes they are my own words, and sometimes there is no denying that other people’s words capture it so much better than mine ever will.

I have no words for what happened yesterday in Boston.

I have sadness, I have tears, I have shock, anger, disappointment, fear, disbelief.

I have emotions, not words.

But a dear and wonderful friend of mine managed to find the words that I could not.  And she took the words and wrote this.

Take a minute to read it; I hope the words help you as much as they helped me.

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Image Courtesy: 4freephotos.com

My hands are full.  I struggle to fit the key in the lock, turn the door knob that always sticks, and shoo the cat out of the way before he gets outside.  It’s freezing outside though, I don’t know why he would even want to go out there but there’s no convincing him.  I throw my purse on the bench, manage to get my keys on their designated hook on the key rack and slide my feet out of my boots.

I gently set down the reusable bag that functions as my library bag.  My purse I can throw; these books are important.

There are probably 10 or 12 books in the bag and if you asked me off the top of my head, I can probably name two or three.  Not a great number considering I only checked them out 15 minutes ago, glancing at them quickly as I slid them through the automated machine, stuffed them in the bag and hastily grabbed my check out receipt. I will make time to look at them later, when the house is quiet and my brain has settled, I will sit down in the middle of the floor with my bag and I will slowly take them out one by one, deciding which to read first, and second, and third.

This is my ritual.

Ten or 12 books is a pretty standard haul for me from the library.  At any given time I probably have 50 books on the hold list and at least two bags stuffed with books in various locations around my house.

Some people are addicted to shoes, some to purses, some to music.

Me?

I’m addicted to the library.

I justify it by telling myself that there are a lot worse things to be addicted to.  I mean really, I’m addicted to reading, how can that be a bad thing?  And I’m addicted to reading at a place where everything is free.  In my view there really is no downside.

I love everything about the library. I love the way it smells. I love the fact that it’s so quiet. I love the way I can get lost in the shelves, seemingly alone in the world.  I love the way I can walk through the doors and randomly decide that I want to learn about some topic like knitting or kayaking or how to make paper airplanes and there will be books about all of those things. Lots and lots and lots of books; just waiting for me to pull them off the shelf, run them through the scanner, tuck them in my little bag and take them home with me.

Some people have issues with library books; they don’t like the fact that other people have read them.

I have an issue with people who have issues with things like that.

I personally love the fact that other people have read the books. When I’m flipping through the pages I try to imagine the people who have done the same thing, flipping through those exact same pages. What were they hoping to find in these words? Did they find them? Did this book change their lives?  Did they cry at the same parts I did?  Did they slam it closed and throw it into the chair beside them in disgust, as I did?

One of my favourite things is when people leave things between the pages, little clues about who they are.  One time I found an invitation to a party tucked between the pages. The party was for a date months before and I wondered if they ended up going.  Did they have a good time?  Did they look through their purse for weeks wondering what they did with the invitation?  Did they have to call someone to get the address because they couldn’t find it?

Sometimes I find pictures.  Sometimes it’s little notes, grocery lists, a phone number jotted down on a square ripped from a newspaper, a piece of ribbon, a drawing from a child; the tiny scraps that make up someone’s life.

Quite often I find the check out receipts from when the book was taken from the library.  These are one of my favourite things to find because I love nothing more than to see what other people are reading.  I’ve gotten many great reading recommendations from people I will never know, just by seeing what else they checked out of the library.

One day technology may surpass the library.  Maybe it’s going to be all about the e-books and the e-readers and e this and e that, but I for one, certainly hope not. Because there’s something so special about sharing a book, even if it’s with people you don’t know. The communal idea of many hands holding the same pages, the interconnectedness of reading the same words.

And the amazement that comes from finding something special, long forgotten, tucked between the pages.

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