When Someone Breaks Your Window, He Most Certainly Opens a Door
It was like any other school day. The day after Mother’s Day. I made lunch for my son, meticulously measured out the ingredients for my super juice, prepared my cleaning supplies for work, popped my Ohm Shanti Shanti CD into my little CD player and stuffed the garbage and recycling into bags. Downstairs I went, into the morning sunlight, to take out the trash.
I had not been feeling very good for a few days. Misaligned is the word that comes to mind. Inner peace is a natural state, but one that has many layers of human goop in the way of it. I know this. Feeling hopeful though, I muttered the mantra, ‘today is a new day, a better day.’ I stopped mid-mutter when I turned the corner to the car hole.
I suppose it was an odd sort of blessing that I was alone at this time. I noticed a pattern of glass next to my car. The shards looked like snowflakes — each one different and lovely in a cold and heartless kind of way. I just stared, refusing to look up into reality.
There was beauty in my third eye. It sort of looked like a milky galaxy had exploded all over the concrete. I immediately searched for meaning. Had this not happened, something REALLY bad might have occurred. Nothing is ever what it seems. There are a lot worse things in the world. When a junkie breaks a window, surely a door is opened somewhere else.
As my eyes moved upward to the reality that my already hurting little car had been violated, my mind took over. The beauty and calm went back, deep inside of me, hiding out of fear from the emotions that were coming. The only open door I saw was mine — ripped open for anyone to enter.
I walked in a fog to my car. The little pane of security that separated me from the violence outside was shattered. My window was gone. Everything inside thrown around and tarnished with a hateful energy that seeped into me like nerve gas. My first aid kit, owner’s manual, rocks and shells from our journeys…My son’s little smiling flower, the little note he made for me that I keep in the car to remind me of the important things…ripped and torn by someone who could care less about either of us.
I lost control and screamed like a wild animal that had been let out of its cage.
A Nine Hundred Dollar Metaphor
Before I made my way to work, I called my mom. We were both beside ourselves for the same reason. It was more than my car — my tired old friend who reliably allows me to run my little business. It was the fact that I sounded like my hope was fading. We went deep. The broken window was just a metaphor for the walls of despair that seem to be bearing down on everyone lately. The window was not about me, or even my car…it was deeper than that.
My mother breathed and said with conviction, ‘Do not let this change you. There is only one thing that can be done when someone else is unkind, cruel, thoughtless or selfish: You must be kind to someone else. That is your job. There are so many people who give up and take the easy way out. You are not one of them. You must not let this experience discourage you. I know it’s easier said than done.’
Strong words. Made all the difference to hear them from my mother.
Fighting For Kindness
I went to work feeling a combination of defeat, exhaustion, sympathy and softness.
I cried on and off for reasons that usually stay hidden. I cried because I cannot bear the damage and pain that people feel forced to inflict upon themselves and others. I cannot bear that more and more children are being infected by the apathy virus. I cried because so many people have turned their back on their ability to care for others; it’s easier to follow the flock and swallow the infection than to fight it. It’s easy to allow all the distractions geared towards suppressing feeling to convince us that feeling is ‘fo suckas.’ I cried because government, policy and ‘leadership’ pragmatically seeks to replace well being and community with carelessness and greed. I cried because I do not want my son to grow up in a world infected by this lazy ‘people mean nothing unless they have something I want’ attitude. Again and again, over the course of my life, ever since I was a child, I have cried for these reasons.
Some people call this crazy.
I walked to pick up my son from school, face kind of crunchy from tear streaks, but the sun warmed me. I felt exposed and vulnerable, like everyone could see what I felt, but I noticed that the warmth of the sun felt closer to me because of it. I smiled at people along the way. Continued to hold doors for people who wouldn’t say thank you. Hugged my son and spoke nothing of my sadness to anyone. Talked about how important moms are with my fellow moms. Took care of a child who hurt herself on the playground, who protested that ‘no one cares!’ I protested back with a passion that was bigger than I expected, ‘I care! Now let‘s get you fixed up.’ I went outside of myself and took part in those things where I could make a difference, no matter how small. It is the only thing that gives meaning to me in a world that seems far too random at times.
So, my broken window opened a door alright. It opened a door to three nights of mares. My inner windows had been smashed too, it seemed, letting all that was invisibly waiting in fear to come out to do just that.
The door is open. I cannot change it or close it. I did not choose to open it. A drug-hungry fear-pusher did. This is where the sheep are separated from the goats, I suppose. But like that metaphor, meaning and order were somewhat lost on me.
This is when I realized that the security and control I fight so hard for are illusions. This is where Buddha gently smiles at me and in my mother’s voice says, ‘No mean. No meaning. Be kind.’
So here I am. Ego’s weaknesses shattered like glass. Snowflakes of the past exposed by a stranger searching for something from me that cannot be found by force. The angry feelings left inside my car — my heart — will be transformed into the heat of hope, melting and remoulding it into a new pane, waiting perhaps to be shattered once again when randomness pronounces me ready.
In the smashy smashy depths of my broken heart, I know that to win all wars, we must not fight. To conquer all fears, we must not hate. To soothe all pain, we must forgive. Even when we feel like we have nothing left to give.
So, as I look at the glossy new pane of glass, I see a different reflection. And this new reflection, although jagged around the edges, speaks wordlessly to me in a crystal clear voice: See deeper still. My eyes, although sore from what I have seen; my heart, although tenderized from what it feels; my mind, although exhausted from trying to assert order on chaos — despite all this, what do I see, feel and think?
Sometimes, windows have to be smashed in order to really see through them.
Broken Window by Mary Rose
Did you enjoy this article?
Please let the author know by leaving them a comment below!
And, subscribe to our free weekly digest!
Simply add your email below. A confirmation email will be sent to you.