Sunday, June 28, 2009

Broken Wings by Alter Bridge

It's amazing how God holds people up. There's often no reason to wake up in the morning except for Him.

I love the song 'Broken Wings' by Alter Bridge. It includes two lines I enjoy a lot.

1. "In my opinion, seeing is to know the things we hold are always first to go. And who's to say we won't end up alone?"

But that line ends up switching to the positive, optimistic and happy thought:

2. "In my opinion, seeing is to know what you give will always carry you. And who's to say we won't survive it, too?"

Everybody who lives life is a survivor. We all survive something, whether it's financial disadvantages or ostentatious opulence, phony communities, cruel teachers, bad parents, divorces, falling-outs, etc. What exactly it is that we've survived changes as we age and our experiences differ. But there's no question- if you're still alive, then you're a survivor.

So yes, many times we're falling on broken wings, but in the end we know that we're all survivors. We're tough people, in for the long haul, going for the win. And sure, we've all cried ourselves to sleep sometime, thought that there was no way to go forward, been miserable about someone's death or loss, perhaps battled illness...because we're human, gloriously so. But the part worth remembering is who and what all those experiences made us. It's what we give that makes us; who we are is forged through the events we survive and knit together in the patchwork of odds and ends that is a human being.

I've got a million odds-and-ends that make me up. I'm holding a green bag with brownie Pepperidge Farm cookies, purple sparkling grape juice and a HIM 'Dark Light' CD in one hand, M&Ms that I swallowed in order to learn to take pills in the other. I've got scrolls of violin music threaded through my hair, blueberries and chocolate bars mixing in my memory. I have all the beauty of Fort Tryon park, the glittering butterfly lady birthday card, songs by Sting and Daniel Bedingfield. There's a castle that belongs to me, the fact that I'm clearly marrying a Kohen Gadol because of his golden clothes, the piano scene from "Pretty Woman," and the posters people made for my surprise birthday party. There's two canisters of glitter, each one labeled with one of my names, in gold and red. There's the art table, splattered with paint. There's uniform clothes, green and blue polo shirts especially. There's nude stockings and the copy of The Count of Monte Cristo which the ice-pack spilled on. And if you picked up any of these things, you'd be holding a piece of my life. Scattered objects to some- the images of my life.

A human being is fragile when she's made out of chocolate, song lyrics, glitter and gifts. But it's the words that knit her together. The words are true and they never lose their meaning. They're gold and flicker in and out of existence but they're the thread; take away everything and the words still remain. And because the words once existed, we will survive. We survive everything because we remember the words uttered by the ones who know us and love us. And thus, to give forges us, but it's the words that support us. And it's God who smiles and says, "My daughter, did you really think I'd break you for nothing? I'm making you into a patchwork. It's the reason you're going to be beautiful."

What do I carry? Battles with Deans, The Observer, The Butterfly of Freedom, chalk sketches and quotes doodled across Rabbi Auman's, Rabbi Kahn's and Rabbi Kanarfogel's blackboards, people's disdain, Birkas HaTorah, a swiftly-breaking-laptop (Madeline L'Engle reference!), dreams, a blue-and-brown cloak, the fairy dress for Batya's wedding, a London Fog duffel bag, R' Schaffel's Shema podcasts, the desire to please God without betraying everything I love and stand for, hugs and kisses from little children, awe of my parents, deep-rooted appreciation for Rebbetzin Greer and Rabbi Cohen, NCSY yearbooks, pens that rarely contain ink, Explorations by Rabbi Ari D. Kahn, a black-and-gold pocketsize JPS Tanakh, long silk black opera gloves a'la Erik the Phantom, two birthday tiaras, a Wicked sweatshirt, and most of all the words that people have given me.

I'm a patchwork quilt of items, objects and gadgets that represent everything that people are to me. Every time God throws me down, it's only to lift me up again. The patchwork is the reason that I'll be beautiful one day. So today I am happy, truly happy, for I know, with complete certainty that can only be given me as a gift from God, that the end result here is meant to be one that sparkles and shines. The patchwork quilt that is me will have all the colors of the world in it; there'll be glitter and joy and pain and tragedy and everything that has forged me in it. Today I am happy, not only for me, but for everyone, completely and truly. Do you hear? I've done it; I have! I am happy for you, I am, completely and wholly. It may be this will only last for a moment but I see it's possible and so I shall do it. We're survivors; we're patchwork quilts, and the tapestries that are our lives will be displayed one day to give comfort to another. God has a reason for me; today I know that's true. Sometimes that clarity leaves me, but today I know, I know because today I believe that as humans we are survivors. When one climbs the high mountains, the falls are vicious! But here's the fantastic thing...sometimes we're not falling, we're skydiving. *smile* Or parachuting. I know there are plenty more vicious falls in store for me, but maybe someone will catch me, and even if not, it's just another story to add to my patchwork. God's making me beautiful. And is that worth it in the long run? Hell, yeah!


Ezzie said...

I enjoyed this immensely.

Anonymous said...

...and then tomorrow came...

Ben said...

Anon 9:46 pm,you know,“Everyone has a right to be stupid; some people,ie,like you, just abuse the privilege.”

Anonymous said...

i'm sure your spectacular education taught you the difference between a right and a privilege, for example you have the right to talk, but you aren't privileged to an opinion.

Chana said...

In a way you've got a point, Anon. Tomorrow always comes, and we take each day as it comes. But that's why it's important (for me, at least) to try to write down the good thoughts and happy ideas as they come. Then, even if the figurative 'tomorrow' arrives I can try to look back on those and get back to where I was yesterday. In either case, you're right that sometimes it's a struggle and we'll think differently day by day.

I'm curious- what are your thoughts regarding the different challenges that come your way? How do you deal/ what's your strategy or approach?

I'm glad!

And Ben,
Thanks, but no's all good.

Ezzie said...

I'm curious- what are your thoughts regarding the different challenges that come your way? How do you deal/ what's your strategy or approach?

I'm going to give an answer to this: Evening out the highs and lows somewhat. Understanding that it's an ebb and flow and not up|down|up|down helps me to place the downs into their proper perspective (okay, from here it's going up) and the ups as well (okay, I need to be wary of this). Overall, I find that helps tremendously.

Ari said...

This is absolutely gorgeous!

inkstainedhands said...

Beautifully written post... It put a smile on my face.

Aaron said...

Chana,this is so profound!
Thanks for giving me reason to deal with my deamons. I mean it sincerely.
Hope you are having a lovely day!

Walter Sobchak said...

Cheer up, old girl - who could be sad in a world where you can read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem!

Anonymous said...

Nice, but clearly you are young, haven't been truly broken or in pain and haven't *lived* yet. Very naive.