Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Unsettled

I had a very strange experience today. Maybe I'm making too much out of it. I probably am, but I'm still feeling unsettled about it.

I think most people have at least one prized-possession. Not that life is about the things we own, but I believe that we all have things that we hold dear to our hearts. I have lots of things that I treasure--the kinds of things that if my house was burning down, I'd run back to get.

Today, one of my most cherished items was broken beyond repair. It's a vase that's been a part of my life for a few years, something that, each time I looked at it, evoked fond memories of an exceptionally special time in my life. It needed a good dusting, so I did that, but then I decided to move it from its regular spot to a table in another room. I set it on the table, decided that it looked perfect, and then I don't know what happened--I must have bumped the vase itself, or the table, or I don't even know what, but that vase toppled over, crashing onto its side and splintering into hundreds of pieces.

I muttered a cuss word under my breath so my daughter wouldn't hear, then proceeded to spend the next half hour carefully picking up the razor-sharp shards, then thoroughly vacuuming and re-vacuuming to make sure nothing was left.

As I disposed of the bag that held the remnants of the vase (and all the precious memories with it), I waited for that feeling of devastation that I expected, but it didn't come. Even worse, I was suddenly taken with a dark feeling. I didn't feel sad at all. With a slight sense of bitterness, I realized that not only did I not feel sad, I didn't care. I stood looking at it in the trash thinking to myself, "It doesn't matter."

That's why I'm unsettled. I feel like it should matter. Now I'm trying to figure out if maybe it wasn't that important to me in the first place, or maybe I've already got my memories so I don't really need to look at a vase to remember them, or...maybe I finally have to admit that the vase only held a special place for a single moment in time. Everything that happened after was a mess, and I spent a lot of time looking at that vase wishing for things to be the way they were on the day I got it, so maybe it came to represent something bad. I don't know.

Ah well. More nonsense later...

5 comments:

MArgie said...

Sometimes I feel like this consumption-driven world deadens us to the fact that not everything is replaceable. Things break and we replace them, or we realize that we didn't really need them to begin with. I'm worried that you'll find that the loss of the vase will be more bothersome when you realize the trigger for your fond memories isn't there anymore. Occasionally we need those little things to remind us of the good times because it's too darn easy to get captured in the pressures of Today.

Katie said...

Ooooooor maybe you're just mad because you had to clean up it's mess after the vase decided to commit suicide?!
I'm just kidding and trying to make you feel better :)

jAMiE said...

I have things like that too...things i could probably do without...things that maybe i'd be better off without...yet still i hold on to them.

I am sure its the memories that count more and they can't ever be broken to smithereens...perhaps forgotten on some level if too painful...or at the very least pushed back into the dark recesses of our minds.

Jim Latchford said...

I came to your blog by way of "It's A Pug's Life," and am glad that I have. I enjoy your writing immensely, finding it to be genuine in candor, honesty, and depth of feeling. I look forward to your future efforts. Living one's life between ordinary and extraordinary is a wide road filled with adventure far too many other soljourners fail to embark upon and enjoy. The blessing in the end is the journey itself.

As for the broken vase...I equate that to the dozens of photographs we all take and save to document our lives. The memories they envoke are the little treasures in our past lives that we savor, but can never relive. They each capture but a single moment in time. It is good to look upon these memories, shed a tear or welcome a smile...and then move on. There is more ordinary and extradordinary living yet to be done. N'est pa!?!

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

I have found I feel the same way about things. When things break, I am actually a little glad because now there is less *stuff* in my house.

I think it has something to do with having kids. Before you have a baby, your possessions mean so much more. Now, they just don't so much. Your heart lies elsewhere.

Just one more way that becoming a mother changes EVERYTHING.