I’ve washed the once possibly pink mate-less sock a hundred times because somehow, it keeps finding its way back into the washing machine. Not only is the sock too small for anyone in my house, I don’t remember ever putting it on a little foot. So it’s either a ghost sock which drifted through the walls and decided to stay permanently, or, in the ensuing years since it originally came into our possession in some unremembered way, and as a product of far too many washings, it is now so far removed from what it once was it is simply a shell of itself. And maybe now the only thing to do with this sock is throw it away. But the sock, for all its faults, is still whole so, instead of becoming fodder for the garbage truck to digest on Thursday morning, perhaps a person craftier than I might turn it into a little stuffed animal and give it new life?
How about my old tee shirt? At one point, this shirt was a deep, bluish purple. Since it originally came into my possession (probably from Wal-Mart) it’s been bleached, painted in, stepped on, slept in, used as a swim top, and much more. It’s been used, abused, well-loved. These days, after being washed out, wrung out, and dried out hundreds of times, it’s holey, paint-stained, and thoroughly faded to a color not recognized on a standard color wheel though is probably closer to periwinkle. And soft. So very, very soft. Therefore, while it might not be much to look at, it’s my favorite shirt. It’s certainly not fit for public consumption anymore, and I even think twice about wearing it to run a bag of trash to the curb, but I love it.
Um, Jen? What’s your point?
Perhaps I’m thinking about worn out, well-used things and things which are maybe a little frayed around the edges, because they are a good metaphor for how I’ve been feeling lately. Further, there’s a good possibility I’m trying to climb my way out of this depressive hole I’ve dug for myself by trying to find the good in things…including myself and the world around me.
Right now, however, I would very much like to stay in my deep, dark, temperature-controlled hidey-hole. One thing after another, after another, after another is piling on top of me until I’m feeling somewhat crushed. Except there’s this spark. It’s small right now, but it’s there. And for whatever reason it’s preventing me from retreating into my self-made safe place.
I think of this spark not so much as a light, or fire, but as a refusal to let life beat me. I may not always be conscious of it. I may try hard sometimes to ignore its existence. But it's always there, like a little voice. Yelling at me to get out of bed. Admonishing me when I consider hitting the snooze button. Metaphorically shoving me toward the shower and reminding me where the soap is. (Ah...shower. Our hot water heater just died, which is one of those aforementioned "things" piling on me at the moment. Which is another story for another time.) Cheering me on as I find a suitable outfit for work. Hollering at me to pay attention to my surroundings, for goodness sake! Reminding me constantly, if a bit annoyingly, about the little things I might otherwise forget, like eating or brushing my teeth.
I feel quiet right now. Quiet in my body. Quiet in my soul. Quiet in my mind. But for me, quiet is not necessarily a good thing. This spark - whatever it is - is the voice ensuring I don't become quiet permanently. Somewhere, deep inside of me, I'm like the old sock, or the faded tee shirt: still whole; still useful.