Tom Fiffer was one of the first friends I “met” on FB, and I have been following his posts ever since. He wrote “Shattered” in response to the tragedy at Newtown, CT, and posted it on December 17 to his Tom Aplomb blog. I am grateful he is letting me reprint it here.
Those are the words I thought I heard this morning.
An image of our strength and our fragility.
A metaphor for strength in fragility.
I pictured vessels holding essence, the essence of life, keeping it safe.
Strong, seamless vessels, protecting what we hold most dear.
Vessels so easily broken . . .
A careless drop . . .
The impact of a single stone . . .
And then I heard it differently.
Not like glass, but light glass.
The glass through which light shines.
The transparency of heart to love in the face of loss, to treasure when we know we can be stripped of all.
The courage to open ourselves to the giving of our whole heart, every shred of it, and to experience each day trembling – not in fear of the worst but in anticipation of the best moments life can offer – moments of pure love, moments of truth, moments inhabited by unimaginable blessings, unspeakable wonders, unthinkable discoveries, and unutterable joy.
Moments that flash by if we don’t ourselves inhabit and appreciate them, if we don’t wrap our arms and our hearts and the cloak of our souls around those who are with us and hold them tight.
We are made of strong stuff.
But this stuff, this glass that lets in light, is also vulnerable.
It can be shattered.
But even when that happens, the light we’ve let in, the light we’ve allowed to fill our beings, remains within us.
That’s the miracle.
Despite the shattering, this light does not escape and ebb away.
This light shines, somehow, even brighter, kindled by the eternal flame, burning from within.
A testament to faith, fortitude, and fearlessness.
A beacon of hope for those who have lost their own.
A ray of sun crossing the horizon, rising with the new day into the sky above.
An outstretched hand, flowing with the blood of life, glowing with the light of heaven.
A sacrificial offering – a constant giving even in the inevitable taking.
An opening of the sacred sepulchre.
A resurrection and a restoration.
A beatitude beyond words.
© Thomas G. Fiffer, 2012
Thomas G. Fiffer is a graduate of Yale University and holds an M.A. in creative writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He posts daily on his blog, Tom Aplomb, writing on his morning commute from Westport to New York, where he works at Leadership Directories, a database publishing company. He is also a featured storyteller with MouseMuse Productions, a contributor for The Good Men Project, and is working on his first novel, chapters of which are syndicated weekly online on Westport’s Hamlet Hub.