“But I never intended all this madness. Never. And nobody really understood – well how could they? That all I ever wanted was to bring them something great. Why does nothing ever turn out like it should? Well – what the heck – I went and did my best and, by God, I really tasted something swell! And for a moment, why, I even touched the sky and at least I left some stories they can tell – I did. And for the first time since I don’t remember when, I felt just like my old bony self again.”
– The Nightmare Before Christmas
Given All Hallows’ Eve passing, this seemed an apt link – this year in particular, the verse above really struck me from Henry Selick’s movie. The range of encapsulated emotions – confusion, anger, contentment, epiphany – it’s mirrored in my year except in place of a useful, action-based realisation, mine was realising a vocation that I am pretty powerless to effect.
Now, to the worrisome title of this post. It’s half-term break and I popped down to London with my sister on a quick coach trip and an overnight stay. I had a great time – visited a museum exhibit I planned to see and soaked up the atmosphere. I noticed something was up when my wandering eyes were being drawn to dark hair/pale complexion amongst random walkers – but I thought nothing of it. When we were waiting for our delayed coach back to Yorkshireland, I spied a beauty with raven hair and pale skin – she had the look of 2017’s beloved – an 80% match perhaps – enough to fix my gaze. I had to keep tearing my eyes away to stop staring like some weird leering sloth. (Oh, and she was journeying with a nerdy man).
On the journey up, she and her boyfriend sat right in the seats in front of us. It was like my own personal circle of hell on Earth – you see, I only ever obtained a view from the back of the head or a profile-side version that meant she looked 100% like my ex-beloved. She had the same delicate Yorkshire but ladylike tone too. I have never suffered a coach journey like it – I sat there with my eyes squeezed shut in confused prayer. Why God? Why this and why now? Every time I dared to open my eyes, she’d do something that would bring anguished memories hurtling back. A flick of her hair contrasting against her slender neck. A pursed-lip smile. I could feel my intestines clenching.
The reasons it so frustrated me were threefold:
- I thought I was on the road to clearing my heart of her – what did this mean? It only served to show me that these feelings were buried even deeper inside than I was able to reach – a futile task then.
- I’m in the process of meeting up with someone else from CM – an attractive woman but not fitting the same physical mould so if my mind is transfixed by this pre-set, it’s unfair on both me and my date surely.
- The latest in a long line of unhelpful ‘signs.’ I find myself constantly praying for guidance, relief and aid and I know God sends me signs – the catch is they’re always dubious to decipher.
This last point is the most annoying – I can ‘sense’ when moments are supposed to be significant – it’s a combination of faith, and feeling a mutual twinge at your heart and soul. But then my human mind looks at it and usually sees at least two paths and no clear direction. E.g. in this most recent example, was she meant to remind me how deeply embedded she became in my psyche – so, to serve as a warning? Or as a pull-back to say she was important as I suspected? Exhausting as ever!
I watched Fiddler on the Roof for the first time recently. Amazing how hard-hitting lines can be just to be linked to another monotheistic religion.
“Lord, who made the lion and the lamb, you decreed I should be what I am. Would it spoil some vast, eternal plan… if I were a wealthy man.”
(Unsurprisingly, I’d wholly replace that last clause with “if I were a wedded man”).
“Life has a way of confusing us – blessing and bruising us – drink l’chaim to life!
God would like us to be joyful even when our hearts lie panting on the floor –
How much more can we be joyful when there’s really something to be joyful for!”
“Be happy; be healthy; long life!
And if our good fortune never comes, here’s to whatever comes!”
‘Til the next time…