Whenever I have a difficult week I always try to think of how tough it is for people all over the world – in different countries – and I try to imagine what it would be like to be them. I’m not fleeing civil war in Africa or drought or famine. I’m not a forest dweller in Borneo being displaced by logging companies. I’m not a schoolkid in Iraq wondering why the unrest just doesn’t stop. I’m not a homeless person on the streets of L.A. , jaded and weary.
I am me. And my experiences are my own. But don’t you think that stressful times, hard times make you appreciate the connectedness of the human condition a little more? Don’t you think the tough moments can harden us but also soften us at the same time? They harden us to people who appear selfish, inconsiderate, but soften us to those in need. I don’t believe I would feel the empathy I feel for others if I had not had my share of knocks. How can you walk in someone else’s shoes if you’ve never had a hole in your socks? It’s just not possible.
This week my friend who attempted suicide a few weeks ago decided to liquidate his business. His brother has decided to takeover the business with the help of the administrator and pay off all the creditors. Then he will close the business down. I think it is a good thing. Trading out of business debt is not for the faint-hearted and can take years. It grinds you down. And I think my friend’s heart is faint now. He is not the same person he was. He is more vulnerable than I ever expected to see him – like a little chick pushed out of the nest too soon.
Depression, anxiety, fear, stress – those things can turn you into a ghost. If you can avoid turning into a version of yourself that is hazy beneath the lamplight then you must. No matter what anyone says. I will miss him but I know in my heart he is doing the right thing.
It’s a minefield out there. The turnover in my husband’s shop has dropped by half. He had to fire his longest serving staff member this week. It got really ugly with the staff member throwing a chair at him and then physically attacking him. I understand that no one likes to get fired, but I was shocked. It wasn’t personal, it was a matter of economics. The staff member was given the option of working part-time until things picked up, but he refused. I couldn’t believe he got so violent. He and my husband worked together for 8 years. And my husband kept him employed during many tough periods where he really couldn’t afford him. You think you know people, but often, you don’t.
A little baby pigeon I was teaching to fly and had been looking after for two weeks died last night. I walked away for ten minutes and he was being pinned to the ground by a magpie. I think one of his wings was broken because he couldn’t fly afterwards. It was really upsetting because he was the cutest little guy. I had named him Munchkin. I splinted his wing but I suspect he may have had internal injuries. Magpies can be extremely vicious. I know it is the law of the jungle but it is so brutal that sometimes I can’t stand it. No less brutal than what humans do to one another, I suppose.
What is it with the people in my street hating birds? My neighbour who lives about six houses down has had her beautiful bottlebrush tree poisoned. It was a magnificent thing. At twilight the rainbow lorikeets used to sit in it and chat for about half an hour before heading for their nests. She said it was the highlight of her day. Apparently, some of her neighbours had complained about the noise as if she was responsible for making the birds sit in the tree. And now the tree is poisoned. Why would someone do that? It’s evil, if you ask me.
It’s been quite a week. I am determined next week will be better. It’s a misty night and the clouds are rolling as if on a conveyor belt but the moon, that glorious, silver-white fullest of moons shines down like a beneficent grandparent – wise and wild – a sort of silent communion.
And I become aware, acutely, of the cycles that encircle us, round and round. The ebb and flow, the ups and down. The moon snaps to a sliver and then is full again. On and on it goes. And no matter where the day takes us, no matter how weary we grow, the moon at its full girth reminds us that we always have tomorrow. A second chance. And that is more than enough.