Last Thursday I went into Asheville to visit my friend Lynn. She cut my hair, and we had planned to go out to dinner. We had a blast. It was a great day, and we both taught each other things about styling curly hair. She wanted to take some after pics for her Instagram account, and I started to put on my favorite turquoise earrings. I bought them many years ago at a Christmas bazaar with my friend Sarah. She talked me into getting them, but I didn’t fall in love with them until several years later. I picked up the first one and it fell from my hands and smashed on the floor. That beautiful tile floor was just the right hardness to crack my beautiful earring into 4 pieces. I looked at it shattered on the floor and wished I could take that moment back. If I could just be a little more careful, I would still have my precious earrings. But, there is no taking back time. Rewind is not an option.
I was actually really happy to go back to work after this past vacation. I have some awesome projects in full stride, and I was anxious to get back. I spent a happy day in the office catching up, meeting with my team and being productive. I checked my mail when I got out of the car at home, and as soon as I tucked the mail in my arms, my favorite “barista art” coffee mug fell – just like my earring – and shattered on the rocks in my driveway. I looked down at it, kicking myself for dropping it… wishing I could find that damn rewind button. How could I be so clumsy that I shattered two of my favorite things in one week?
The next morning I got up and opened the box that held a bottle of expensive vitamin C serum. I grabbed the bottle to pull it out, and it fell on my tile floor, shattering into 20 pieces. The golden serum was all over my floor, and my $70 was thrown right into the trash. This wasn’t one of my favorite things, but I surely didn’t want to buy another bottle of that stuff. I thought about rewinding it for a second, but by the third time I’d shattered something valuable I was starting to think the Universe was trying to tell me something. I started to worry that something bad was about to happen. Or had I already shattered something valuable in my life, and I wasn’t paying attention? What was the message? I was sure there had to be one, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure it out.
At the end of the day Tuesday, I was informed that my position at work had been eliminated. It wasn’t a surprise. The budget situation in Louisiana is perilous, and I knew that my role wasn’t considered essential to the operation. I’ve been in enough corporate environments to know who might go and who might stay. I knew I was probably on the short list, and the day came sooner than I imagined. I wanted to push the rewind button. Why did I ever take this job in the first place? All of those years of surviving massive corporate downsizings, and I had to get my first layoff at home. Where is that rewind button when you need it?
I’ve thought about the things that were shattered in my life this week. What did it mean? Was it just a foreboding that my livelihood was about to be shattered? Or did it mean something else? I thought about my earrings. I loved those, and I could probably have glued it back together, but I really felt they were shattered. Lynn talked me into wearing one for the pictures, but I’m not an asymmetrical earring sort of gal. I thought about my beautiful coffee mug. I could buy another one at Starbucks. But, I felt like it had a short lifespan for a reason. I’m still on the fence about replacing it. I thought about my Vitamin C. I already ordered some more of that. That’s an important part of my routine. I wasn’t emotionally attached to it, but I need it, and I’m not giving it up yet.
The fourth shattering was obviously the most significant. It hit me this afternoon what the Universe was trying to tell me in my dress rehearsals for my job loss. Shatterings are sudden, disappointing and definitely a loss. In each, I had a small sense of guilt for letting it happen. But, I knew that accidents happen. I could blame myself, but what would be the point? It happened, and I had to let them go. The message I received was that shatterings happen suddenly and for no particular reason. Sometimes valuable things that we love are shattered. Other times I shatter useful items that help me maintain my lifestyle. While they were all important things to me, life goes on. Things can be replaced in time – or not. But every shattering creates a space for something new. It’s a letting go of sorts.
The shattered pieces on the ground are burned into my memory. They lay there silently, begging me to hit the rewind button. “Turn back time,” they urge with their rough edges and solid breaks. “Hit rewind.” The sharp pain of loss hits me in the gut as I realize that there is no turning back. The pieces will be swept away. The item will be replaced by something better or forgotten. The shattering is the catalyst for a new future. Acceptance dances on the heart of loss until the world is new again.