Good Afternoon Everyone;
A new year, 2014!! And, I have today off. Holiday, you know. Why? Well, mostly because, I bet, the years have shown that trying to get people to work early in the morning on New Years Day usually just collects a bunch of half drunk and hung over workers who couldn't see straight if they wanted to.... may as well be magnanimous and give them the holiday, right?
I've had a somewhat strange holiday week. That trip to my Aunt's for Christmas Dinner being just one of the stranger, but definitely one of the moments that got me thinking on a few things. And, this is what I have come up with....
We are the sum of our history, the hopes of our future, and the moment of Now. And, in all of that, the only thing that is real, that is absolutely real, is the now.... and that is up for interpretation.
See, our minds trick us. We remember portions of things, parts of things, and would swear to them to our dying day. A little story....
As some of you know, I bought my parent's house. Yep... I was actually born in this house, ok in the hospital and then brought back to the house! So, there are a whole host of memories attached to the place for me; some good, some bad. Oddly enough, my next door neighbor inherited his house when his parents died. They were both very cool people, sort of pseudo-parents for me, and treated me much better than I probably deserved. I've known "Joe" since I was 2 years old. I tell you all of this to tell you about how the mind plays tricks...
When I was 8, things were a bit tight financially. We kids never were exactly spoiled, but I think the folks tried. Anyway, we are all at "Joe's" swimming in his backyard pool (his parents had a bit of $$) and in wiggled this little ball of worms stray puppy. That became my birthday present, and likely cost more than any normal gift could have. But, every little boy should have a dog, and this one became mine.
I have a memory, a nightmare really, that still wakes me up crying - and I don't just up and cry easily - of playing outside with the dog. I would bat the ball and the dog would chase it... one time, as I tossed the ball up to hit it with the bat, the dog went right up with it and I cracked her in the head with the bat. The screaming that dog put out gives me nightmares still, and that was 34 years ago. I remember standing there as my dog screamed, and my whole world came to an end. My one friend, and I just knew I killed her. I just stood there. I remember the neighbor lady from down the road coming running and yelling at me for hitting the dog. I just wanted to die... I ran into my room and flung myself on my bed, just wanted to die.
You can see why this would return to me in nightmares, yeah?
Well, odd thing happened this year. Mom and Dad came to town as normal, stayed with me as normal - they are fairly comfortable here of course. And, somehow that came important moment in my childhood came up. I didn't let on, but this was the last thing I wanted to talk about... and Mom told me about her memory of the event, verifying it with "Joe". Come to find out, the whole neighborhood was there, in my front yard, playing ball. You've seen pictures of my front yard... take 34 years off those trees... there was lots of room. The ball was pitched to me, I was the batter, and the dog went after the ball. It was an entirely different neighbor who accused me of purposely hitting my dog with a baseball bat, and who later came to my bedroom to apologize when she learned what had happened. My mother was actually in the house, and came rushing out to the dog. My neighbor, "Joe", was there that day playing, remembers the incident quite well and backed Mom's story. And, once the screaming was done by the adults, the crying by the dog, and it was determined that it was an accident and the dog was just fine, I only remember wanting to just die because I hurt my only real friend.
I guess I am trying to get to the fact that our memories of what happened are not always so very accurate. And, that memory, as faulty as it is, has haunted me for decades. I have hated myself after each nightmare episode, for years now.
We all have hurts. We all have scars. For some, they are a badge of courage, and for others they are a weeping sore hidden from view.
Many of mine are of the second sort, kept covered, bandaged, hidden, lest they get poked and remind me just how much they still hurt.
It was a weird Christmas for me because as I sat in my aunt's house, eating dinner with the family, staring at trees that were just bushes last I was there, a woods that used to be a corn field, so many open sores got poked by people who meant, mostly, good at the moment. But, also, those festering wounds only heal by being aired, treated, "poked".
What a wonderful world it would be - no, not if nobody ever got hurt, because I don't think that's possible - but wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we could look at people who have scars, who have hurts, who have been hurt, hurt others, and hurt themselves, and understand that each of us is a unique person who, in the midst of those wounds, in the very sum of them, is a worthwhile and valuable person? And, wouldn't it be an even better world if we each could look into the mirror and see our scars, see those festering and weeping wounds, and know that person staring back is a unique, worthwhile, valuable person who has survived all the slings and arrows, and is stronger than whatever tried to hurt us?