I broke a glass in our kitchen sink a few weeks ago. This relatively insignificant event should have remained little more than a nuisance and slight bummer, due to how much I loved that glass. But even though I thought I had found all of the little pieces, I think we all know where this going, I didn’t get it all. So last week when I went to do my weekly deep clean of the kitchen, which includes a thorough sweeping and mopping of the floor, I must have dislodged a piece that had been hiding. This meant that when I was flying through our kitchen a few nights later in an attempt to whirl and twirl dinner onto the table, my bare foot found that errant piece of glass. And that was a week ago. And it’s still stuck in my foot. I can’t see it but I can feel it. I won’t bore you with the many, MANY methods I have used to even locate the mother loving sucker but its been a week of on and off amateur foot surgery around here. It doesn’t hurt all the time. In fact, I did a full on jumping, running, burpee-ing workout the other day with zero pain. But every once in a while, in the weirdest ways I’ll be reminded that that little sharp piece of fused sand is still claiming a piece of my body as its own.
This is how slow of a summer it is, folks! This is all I could muster to write about for July. I hope you enjoyed this month’s edition of Foot Tragedies: One Small Step For One Small Piece of Glass…juuuust kidding. I have a point here!
As I’ve gone about my life for the last week or so with my new translucent companion, I’ve been literally stopped in my tracks and yelped or gasped in pain, out of seemingly nowhere. This little shard of glass is invisible to the eye, buried deep and rarely makes its presence known, but when it does. Oooof. Watch out! Cuss words fly, counters are smacked, and God bless if you are standing nearby because something you are doing in that moment is annoying the bejesus out of me and also somehow that thing you are doing caused this piece of glass to move and poke me. It’s both completely irrational and yet complete sane all at the same time.
For the last few years, our world has been nothing but a series of glass shattering collisions. I don’t know one person, on any side of the political aisle, religious spectrum or socio-economic status that has not experienced a moment of glass shattering. Global pandemics, physical and emotional losses, racial injustices, health disparities, school shootings, and so much more have all caused bits and pieces of our individual worlds to shatter like glass. And we’ve done our best to sweep up the pieces. We’ve cleaned up the best we can. And we’ve performed little surgeries with magnifying glasses and cell phone flashlights but still, there are tiny shards of glass deeply embedded in our hearts. War wounds. Battle scars. Death by a thousand cuts.
Each of us possesses some invisible to the eye and yet incredibly painful shard of glass fused into us. And one wonky step, one accidental bump presses its sharp blade into our tender nerve and all hell breaks loose. No wonder we are baiting each other on social media. No wonder we are cutting ties with friends and sometimes even family. No wonder we are creating little safe havens of isolation or encampments of people who have the same shards as us. We as a people are in pain. Because it hurts!
I don’t have a Kumbaya word of wisdom here. I don’t have any words or thoughts or ideas that will take us to a place that yanks the shard out right this minute. But I do know that in the last few months I have personally tried to be so aware of the shards sticking into my own heart. I’ve tried to be gracious and patient with myself when a misstep sends pain stabbing through me and leads me to shout out in pain and anger at the nearest unfortunate soul. I’ve tried to identify where the pain is coming from and I’ve tried to clamp my mouth shut when its accidentally tapped.
I’ve tried to mindful of the fact that I do believe everyone has these shards right now and when I feel attacked or misunderstood or angry with someone who believes or thinks differently than I do, I try to imagine their own little shard poking into them in that moment and I don’t need to put my imagination to work to feel the pain.
The world is messy right now. It’s filled to the brim with messy people walking around with shards of glass in their hearts. When we can, let’s breathe in patience deeply together and breathe out grace. And when we can’t, that’s ok too. Throw a tantrum, smack the counter, snarl and hiss, yell at the injustice that is this pain and then remember, everyone is nursing a heart of glass right now. You can’t see it. You forget it’s there. And hopefully over time it wiggles its way out. But until then, deep breaths.