And the story they tell about mending things that break easily. Like hearts.
Last night a bowl flew from my hands as I was taking it down to put it back in the cupboard. It broke in full flight after slipping away and hitting the open door. Somehow, I caught the two broken pieces in the air while a little debris fell to the ground.
I suddenly realised that it’s always shocking when something breaks.
Aw well, I thought, it’s just a bowl, nothing very fancy. I didn’t for one second consider trying to fix it. Also it didn’t look like it would be easy, it was old, the other one (a set of two) is a bit chipped too and might not have long to go. The final consideration popped into my head… Maybe I want a new set of bowls. So I threw it out without thinking about it further.
So I was quite primed this morning, making coffee, when the right sleeve of my silk robe caught onto my fridge magnet Hamsa, which I had bought somewhere in North Africa as a souvenir. I am a sucker for a fridge magnet. The ceramic hand, like the bowl before it, flew off in front of me and fell to the ground, breaking in two neat halves. No debris here.
Gloomily I stared at it on the floor. Bad omen, isn’t it? Only last wee I was re-reading “The Alchemist” (a modern masterpiece, thank you Paolo Coelho) so I was rather attuned with the “Language of the World” and its possible omens.
I walked away, feeling deeply sorry for myself, the image of something else superimposing itself to that broken piece of ceramic and the message I thought it was bringing me.
You see, a couple of weeks ago I broke up with someone that I care about very much. It had been a pretty complicated story, yet it was full of love, rich in hopes of shared futures, the lengthy anticipation due to our distance making it all the sweeter. This broken amulet, bought I don’t know when, was full of much bigger meaning. Also I don’t commonly break things. Damned. First the bowl, now this? Within twelve hours...
Out in the dining room, full of dread, what felt like the confirmation of a true break in our connection, marked by this silly incident, I felt quite lost. I was about to walk downstairs but I suddenly caught myself and decidedly turned back on my steps.
This will not do! No! Full on rebellion.
I picked up the two pieces of ceramic and started to talk to the Hamsa, as I looked for the superglue in my kitchen drawer. I should add I had just used it for something else so there is something to say about «muscle memory» and deciding to fix things!
Here is roughly what I said:
“I am so sorry that I broke you, I didn’t mean to or want to hurt you in any way. I have never done anything like this before, I am generally not clumsy and I too am surprised about how this happened. I deeply apologize for what I did, breaking you, even though it felt out of my control. But I am not going to walk away now and I am not going to throw you out. Because I care about you, and when something breaks (💔), I believe we can pick up the pieces and mend them back together.
And where the scar will show, or in your case, the glue, I will see a mark of the courage, the love, the grit, the intention, the determination and the resourcefulness of the mending. Making you and us stronger, making us who we are, and also whole again.
So I will hold you, right now, and tell you that I am here and not letting you go, and if this is not enough glue (read: love) I will be patient, will reapply and I will do my best to help fix this.
And then I am going to give you space, while you dry. But just so you know, I will come back because I care and I won’t throw you out because you were broken, even — or especially if this was my fault. And if something else happens, I will be here, with you, and hopefully you will let me help you mend yourself again.”
Now that is not necessarily what I would say to my beloved’s face. Not exactly but it would be pretty close. As I spoke, I held the Hamsa’s two halves, careful not to squeeze too hard or to let go too early, then glued on the magnet which is now right in the center, where the break was.
I kissed it, I stroked its glazed fingers softly, as if it was my lover’s brow and left it on the counter to dry. It is now proudly back in the center of my fridge.
I almost walked away. A beautiful analogy I think, not just about fixing my fridge magnet but how easy it was for me to throw the bowl away. It’s also so easy to discard things in general. There is always the promise of something new and shiny that could just about fit into the whole left by the thing that broke. That which would have been hard to fix and would have taken time and patience.
So I promised myself that I would do my best not to do this in the future. Metaphorically mostly. My heart will strive to remain open if we should get another chance. And should there be another shattering break, in either our hearts, I will be open to fixing things rather than walk away. For there are stories and people that are worth every effort.
The lesson here being that in my heart of hearts, I know that we are meant to love, accept and be with each other as we are. Scars and all.
I hope that he will, in time, find it his heart to forgive me for breaking us, that he might come to appreciate my reaction to omens, the poetry in my broken ceramics and that consider a path where we can continue to grow, and when needed, help mend each other.