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quietly broken things

            This morning, I was thinking about broken things – specifically, the broken things that don’t seem broken. There’s no outward indication that something is other than it should be. No cracks. No visible tears. No wound or scar. These quietly broken things are astounding for reasons different than obviously broken things. I wrote, once, about my attention being drawn to something, because of unavoidable reality. There’s a certainty in that kind of observable brokenness. A tangible fracture is easier to repair that one that causes pain, but goes unseen.

            Emotionally, it’s harder to fix what you can’t see. Further still, it’s harder to repair something you can’t control – and let’s face it, most things aren’t under our control. I had an email exchange with a dear friend this week, and it made me realize a lot of things. It was as healing as it was difficult, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It helped me to examine a variety of broken things, some blatantly so and others more subtlety undone. From that email, here is what I know:


  • Not everyone is brave. You can lead by example, but that horse, led to water, won’t always drink. If fact, that fool horse might just choose dehydration instead. It’ not always wise to keep trying to save someone who is so determined to march in the other direction.
  • Just because you care enough to move the world, it doesn’t mean someone else does. Sometimes, you’re the person who cares too much. Love is always worth risking everything for, but that’s not someone everyone is capable of.
  • You may love someone with everything you’ve got, but it’s not always enough. And it’s never really a cure-all. While it’s hard, it is still damned important to make sure another person knows how you feel, frightening depths and all. Life’s short. It’s too short to keep your damned mouth shut. So, you say your truth, while realizing that you’re the one that owns it – nobody else. Everybody’s got a different view of love, and some people can’t even bear to look at it.
  • Those closest to us doesn’t always see us. Occasionally, even they get fooled by our smiles. Sometimes, it’s because they’re too wrapped up in themselves. Sometimes, it’s because actually facing a situation is so entirely frightening that avoidances becomes the easiest solution. But the easiest solution is almost never the right one.
  • Selfishness comes in a variety of forms. Ignoring a situation, or even a person, might serve you best – but it might do more harm than anything else.
  • Sometimes, the most difficult form of neglect is silence. Sometimes, it’s making someone feel as if they don’t matter, because it’s easier to disappear or avoid. Essentially, running away seems like a godsend, but that might put someone else right in the middle of hell.


            With people, we give the most attention those who scream and shout, causing a riot and a ruckus. I once had a friend who created drama wherever she went, because even if it wasn’t pretty, it made people pay attention. But causing a fuss isn’t the only way to communicate a problem, hurt feelings, or dislike of something. The truth is that some people have a tendency to swallow pain. Like cats that hide when they aren’t feeling well, things get bottled up, swept under the rug. What’s wrong, or fractured, doesn’t always show a solid crack. There are often no outward signs. That, I think, is why it’s often so important to pay attention – and not just charge through life with blinders on. It isn’t always easy, mind you, to be invested in those around us and what’s happening around us. But isn’t that what living actually means?

            You don’t have to burn down a building to prove that you know how to start a fire. But it also might help to notice a blaze when it’s just smoke, instead of a four-alarm catastrophe. 

“Do you love her?’ she asked him.
‘Always have,’ he said.
‘Then why in the world would you leave her alone?” 
― Suzanne PalmieriThe Witch of Little Italy

“Our minds and hearts do battle inside us every day.” ~Suzanne Palmieri, The Witch of Belladonna Bay

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