Sunday, February 17, 2013

a thimble

My heart felt like a thimble these last weeks. Filling so quickly with emotion that it brimmed over my eyelids and had me tearing up a couple of times a day, then leaving me so hollow that I felt as if I'd swallowed an echo.

It started with my reminiscences of Adam, and an email conversation I had with his brother which was so good, but so emotional.
Then a rape and murder which rocked the whole country, got so many stories circulating, so many emotions rising.
I heard of a child from my home town, 18 months old, drowned in his family pool.
A story of a childless woman weeping while watching her best friend breastfeed.
Bad news regarding my friend's continuing struggle with cancer.
1 Billion Rising, and the stories ... god, the stories of abuse.
And then Reeva Steenkamp ...

None of this pain really belonged directly to me but with my shallow heart of late I couldn't prevent taking it on, and spent days feeling exposed, hollow.

None of this pain has lessened in the slightest - so many are out there with their hearts completely drained, their wounds wide open to the salt raining down on them.

And here I am, after a good weekend of friends and family, food, sunshine, laughter, feeling much stronger.
Have I slapped another coat of tin on this heart of mine? Is life sometimes just too much, the only survival tactic we know to clad ourselves against the pain, make our hearts a little more impenetrable, albeit little heavier maybe, and then shoulder on?

We desensitise in order to carry on, but what future do we walk towards if our hearts are plugged against the  pain of others?
What point is there in feeling too much and what future is there in feeling too little?

I don't know, but I need to find a balance this week. I think, certainly in South Africa, we all need to.

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