A rock hit my windshield this morning on the way to work. It must have been a big rock because it caused a one-inch hole with cracks webbing out as much as 6 inches around it. I called the insurance company even before I got to work and it’s going to be replaced this afternoon. Other than being out the deductible, it’s not a huge deal, even if it was startling and a little scary when it happened.
I took a picture of the crack from the inside to show my friends and family what had happened. The damage looks darned impressive, with the cracks spreading and circling as if a new species of spider had learned to form a web from spun glass and decided to practice on my car. I couldn’t wait to get to work to get a picture of the damage from the outside, too.
Funny thing is, from the outside you can’t see much. There’s a smallish, white mark in the glass that you would never notice unless you were looking for it. There is no sign of the damage spreading like a disease from the impact site. The weakness and fragility of the glass is completely hidden from view.
It got me to thinking about perspective. How many times does something happen that devastates you while those around you can’t see it? For me, it was the loss of a pet rat. Everyone looking in from the outside just sees that a rat died. A filthy, ugly rodent, who could possibly care, right? But from my side of the glass he was a beloved pet who came running for love and treats and liked to have his tiny ears rubbed and his tummy tickled.
Maybe for you it’s the unkind words someone said to you when you screwed up at work. To them it was forgotten almost as soon as it was said, but you can’t stop obsessing about it and now you doubt your own abilities and judgment.
Life is always coming at you. Most of the time, the pebbles and rocks bounce off and you hardly notice. Then there are times when something hits hard and you peer out at the world through frail glass, wondering if your protections will hold or if you are going to be exposed to further attack. Meanwhile, those around you have no idea how vulnerable you are.
That’s when you need to rally your defenses. Talk to people who love you, who can help you put your shields back together. Get some time to repair and rebuild. Pray. Whatever it takes to patch the damage and be ready for the next blow.
And remember, you aren’t the only one with invisible damage and hidden frailties. Be kind. You never know who is peering out through webbed glass.
I guess you could always replace your defenses with something more substantial… concrete, steel, titanium. Stop caring about others. Isolate yourself and grow hard and cynical. You would be safer and less vulnerable.
But as fragile as glass is, it has one advantage that the others don’t have. You can see and be seen. You are part of the world, not walled off from it. Because there is a lot of beauty in life and a lot of joy, and to see and participate in that joy, you have to be open to the pain as well. And it’s worth it.
That’s a lot of philosophy out of a drive to work. I promise I’ll get back to talking about my dogs and crafts soon. By the way, did I tell you what Harley did yesterday…