Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Resetting of Broken Bones

Originally uploaded by Adagio.

I was explaining to a friend that my use of the term ‘baggage’, in yesterday’s post, came about because it was the term that Ireland had used in his poem. It is not actually a term I like.

Apropos my explanation, I remembered a quote by Thomas Merton that I had read several years ago. The concept it presents resonated very deeply with me at that time. I had completely forgotten about it. Its sudden retrieval from the dark recesses of my brain was a timely and welcome occurrence.

As long as we are on earth, the love that unites us will bring us suffering by our very contact with each other, because this love is the resetting [of a Body] of broken bones. Thomas Merton

The notion of broken bones evokes a sense of compassion with which to frame ourselves, and others. It infers past injury and pain. A broken bone is a very real thing.

What is very strong for me is the suggestion that it is our very contact with each other that is the catalyst for suffering. If two people, each with broken bones, interact with each other for long enough, sooner or later those bones will make contact and the friction will awaken pain. And it is those with whom we are in closest contact that we touch most often. Those with whom we interact shallowly are unlikely to get close enough to us to rouse pain.

There is a notion (or perhaps it is a rumour?) that a bone that has broken and mended is all the stronger for having done so. Be that fact or fiction, I feel encouraged by the knowledge that bones do heal, eventually.


Blogger Mary Desmond said...

what throws me adagio is sometimes i am just nastier to people i love take them for granted in ways i wouldn't treat a passing salesman i may never meet again. and sometimes walking in the rain is romantic beautiful wonderful a place for tears and sometimes it's just an irritation because i wanted to go to the tea shop in tintagel and it's a hundred yards away and its raining. and maybe nin has something and i love that merton is saintly enough never to be named a saint, and i don't really like shallow relationships but i am not fond of pain any more either.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Actress with Attitude said...

well put.
I am realizing the same thing of myself day by day. Love does hurt very deeply. I always compared it to surgery without anesthesia, in which you are cut and opened and the hole left somewhat gaping, left to mend by time. And it is never quite the same; even after the healing there is a scar.

But I like the analogy to resetting bones. It implies something deeper than the skin. I myself have broken two bones, which were both extremely painful, and one of them healed crooked, so I always have the memory of that day. And when it rains, I feel the pain of the weather deeply in that bone. My situation is very much like that crooked bone. It healed, but will be different forever.

7:41 AM  

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