Tuesday, 10 March 2009
The Story In Sharp Focus.
When something traumatic seems to happen, the story is in sharp focus. Yet that is oneness too. There's no getting away from it, no matter how deep the sense of separation is. When your child is sitting in the back of an ambulance, tears and snot and fear and pain in his face, his safe notion of invincibility shattered, the compassion and empathy are overwhelming. It all seems to be about how to make the separation more bearable for the poor little thing. So those words come out - you are safe, it's going to be alright - and the little creature takes heart, he trusts, perhaps he shows himself to be a pillar of fortitude, and the nurses and doctors at the hospital marvel at his comparative stoicism whilst dealing with a particularly painful fractured humerus. I'm so proud of you, you're so brave, and don't forget you saved the rugby match for your team with that disastrous tackle, I tell him; and he feels better, all those words reinforcing his isolation from everything. They are about how he can deal with the world and his pain, his fear, all of it stemming from the sense of separation; it is most categorically happening to him. Yet there is nothing wrong with these words, and with apparently reinforcing separation. They are what comes out, and it all comes out as it must. It would be ridiculous, and cruel, to tell an 11-year-old that what is happening is not happening to him. Yet as we chatted in the ward afterward, I had different words, and they were along the lines of everything is one thing. He seemed to accept this, but then he was high on opiates. It doesn't matter. It seems that young people spend a lot of time on their separation, making sure it's the biggest and best separation ever, starkly opposed to any separation that has come before, special and singular and very different. That too is as it must be. As is it all.