9.08.2008

broken

i think i am hopelessly broken.

not long ago i went to michigan to visit one of my favorite people ever, my best friend angie. angie and her family live a bit north of detroit, in a quiet and very pretty wooded area. it was late on a friday night, and as i turned off of I-96, my attention was caught by tiny lights at the side of the road. at first i thought that i was seeing things...clearly the drive had gotten to me.

but as i kept going down the dark road, i saw them again, and realized that i wasn't losing my mind, they were fireflies! hundreds of fireflies lined the roads as i drove to ang & todd's, practically a mini-firework welcoming committee. it was the most amazing thing, and all i could do was smile as i saw them illuminate, as if just for me.

the broken part is this: somewhere along the way, from the last time i had thought of fireflies, i had forgotten about them. not the amnesia type of forgetting, but the 'out of sight, out of mind' sort of forgetting, which, given how happy they make me is just plain sad.

why is it that i can remember every single negative remark directed at me for years, and yet i cannot remember how much i love fireflies? how is it even possible that i can remember cruel words hurled over a decade ago, but struggle to remember the kind words of a friend from last week? how can it be so much easier to remember hurt than to remember things that bring me joy?

how does one remember the things that they have a great propensity to forget?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

i think i am hopelessly broken.

a while back, i got up in the morning and went in to work. just like any other day. i work for a pretty big company, a really big company, actually. we design, manufacture, and sell transportation products all over the world -- oh and we'll mortgage your house for you, too, if you like.

this one day my boss called me in his office and told me that i had to drop everything and fix a mess that had been waiting for me for quite a while. i owned part of a control system for vehicles that had previously been patched together but didn't work well. it needed to be fixed. in two weeks.

(interlude)
now, i have reasonable tolerance for folks who simply don't know things because they don't know better -- i'm a patient man. but not so much for people who know better.
(end interlude)

so my boss has me attend a meeting later that day with the design team, which i am to lead. as we are discussing the issues, it is obvious that the current system is a patchwork that has not been designed to meet the needed requirements. so i allude to this fact and mention that we don't need to merely 'fix' this control system, we need to redesign this control system so that it will among other things actually meet our requirments.

this is where things turned for the worse. one of the managers reiterated that we can't redesign this control system; this work needed to be done in two weeks because that's how long the germans were going to give us to get this done. the germans? hmm. it was at this moment when i chose to mention that if everyone in the room wanted to put a band-aid on a piece of crap and pass it off as a control system, they could do it without me.

it turns out that this isn't the kind of behaviour that good leaders exibit. alienating your bosses. telling your customers that you'll walk out if things aren't done your way. instantly shutting down all conversation with black and white dogmatism are not found anywhere in john maxwells literature.

but the broken part is this: somewhere along the way, like five minutes after i made this rash comment, i had forgotten about it. not like "i don't remember anything that happened to me before i was one year old" type of fogotten, but the "it didn't make the top two or three cool things going on in my life that i'm able to process at any given time" forgotten.


why is it that i have a knack for remebering all the good things that have happened along the way, yet i forget about the undeniably bad things that have happened in my life, particularly those of my own device? how is it even possible that i can forget the harsh words spoken as if they never happened, but remember that my wife recently brought me home a pack of peanut m&m's?

so i forget about the wake of destruction i occasionally create in people's lives due to my careless comments. and i'm good with that. so i don't often remember the pain in my friend's lives and send them a word of encouragement. and i'm good with that. so i don't contemplate the bad things of my own doing and take measures to change for the better. and i'm good with that.

how does one remember the things that they have a great propensity to forget?

we are all hopelessly broken. and no one more so than the man who is perfectly balanced and is unaware of his brokenness.

süz said...

wow, good point. we always seem to point to balance as a good thing, but seldom give thought to the things that we need to casually toss away to maintain that balance.

thanx for the thought...

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