Sunday, 6 October 2013

Panes Of Glass

The walking wounded; someone with me last night used that phrase to describe the mass of humanity, all of us damaged by the vicissitudes of life, damaged by the daily insults and slurs of merely living. We all feel the arrows and cuts of this battle of life, the beating that our own emotions hand to us. We do this to ourselves, mostly, through our own self-judgement and self-condemnation. We hold the knife and willfully push it inwards, seeing ourselves as not worthy of all the good things that life hands to us. We see ourselves darkly.

It starts early, very early in our life. As children, born into life, we arrive a clear pane of glass, unblemished, without marks. Then, as we move onward, life puts its fingers on us, smudging our clear pane, fuzzing up the picture, making life unclear. Life works on us, scratching our surface, sometimes digging deep and leaving scars on the glass. For most of us, we see through the glass dim, living in uncertainty. For some of us, the damage it too great; we break and remain broken.

As a parent, my goal has always been to scratch that glass as little as possible, to leave the least smudge, to give my children the best chance at clarity in their lives. I have always believed that the less we handle our children's lives, the more they learn to handle them on their own; the less we touch the glass, the more they can see through it. Even as an adult parent of adult children, I have tried, often unsuccessfully, to keep my smudging minimal.

Yet it is not only our children that we scratch as we move through life. We mar the surface of all we love, leaving our indelible prints on those who we contact lightly or strongly, the more intimate and personal the touch, the greater the impact on the glass surface of their lives. With our families we leave the greatest mark, yet we leave a film on the glass of all we touch, often without even knowing we have done so. Our very contact with friends and lovers means we colour and cloud their view, and they ours.

Life is complicated, messy, uncertain. We awaken each day unknowing of its end, uncertain of its path, and unwilling to let it go. We move through these panes of glass, touching them, smudging them, and at times leaving them shattered by our passing. This is our destiny, the path of our life; to do this is to be human, to exist. It's just the way it is.

1 comment:

  1. Richard,

    This post is beautifully written and how I have felt recently. I am happily married and have been for 22 years but my memories of a past love have resurfaced. He and I had such an impact on eachothers life, it shaped how we view relationships now. I think everyone we are close to leaves a small part of themselves with us.