We all fall off the wall. Some walls are higher than others, thus making the degree of damage a variable. But we all crack.
How we put the egg shell back together truly shows who we are, how we reassemble our shattered psyches. Sure, there will be cracks; the egg will never be whole again. And in fact, with each fall, we are less whole, no matter how good we get at making the repairs.
The resiliency of people is finite. How one recovers from a fall goes a long way in defining their character.
My dad was a depression era child, and then an Air Force pilot shot down over Berlin in WWII, and spent over a year in a German prison camp. Sounds like a movie, huh? But it's real.
My mom always said that when he came back from the war, much of his kindness had vanished. Nobody was really to blame. That experience would force a man to become very hard indeed, impervious to what was perceived as weakness. His healing process was defined by his generation, where men showing emotion was weakness. The Germans sure didn’t help any.
His "hardness" has really defined who I am today. I hopefully have battled stridently against the natural urge to mimic his behavior. I hope I have used his unfeeling approach to life to live in an opposite fashion. Writing has helped, as I have plumbed the depths of human emotion, searching to better understand why we think the way we do, feel the way we do, act the way we do.
One very important area that separates my father and me is 'sentimentality'. He viewed it as a silly emotional pursuit for the feckless, the feeble minded.
For me, sentimentality may be the one word that could define me. I sit here tonight in my apartment, literally surrounded by reminders of virtually every relationship, marriage, friendship that I have had. Furniture, books, pictures. All evoke emotion, and instant memory. Many of them can cause tears to flow, depending on my mood. Yet, I keep them. The thought of discarding them is almost unimaginable. They are a part of me. Of my past. They invoke emotion, though the emotion is usually sadness, regret, and loss.
Yet, I keep them.
Maybe because, though they are the visual evidence of cracks that came from the falls, I hold out hope they will also be part of the healing, the solution and the mending.
I still think I can be put back together, again.
© Copyright 2016 Bill Rayburn. All rights reserved.
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