In a dark empty theatre yesterday afternoon with our grand-daughter, we watched Hugo. On my mind at first consciousness this morning: Hugo. And more thoughts on acceptance.
First, her favorite line from the movie: “Right after my father died, I would come up here a lot. I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason too.” (Hugo)
She, our grand-daughter, will chase many possibilities and dreams and know many purposes, of that I’m pretty certain.
My favourite line: “I’m sorry, it’s broken.” (Hugo) “No it’s not. It worked perfectly!” (Georges Méliès)
Most things work imperfectly from the start, and nothing works perfectly forever, but that may not mean their value is diminished.
Acceptance is sitting down with it, whatever it is, holding its new shape in your lap, feeling its weight. It’s the quiet that comes when you stop railing against it, saying it isn’t so, trying to make deals. It is letting go of magical thinking, knowing that the universe is random, both wonderful and at times seemingly cruel.
Acceptance is sleeping well again, and having your new reality break through into consciousness every morning as surely as that sore shoulder does, or that clock radio, or the morning news. Acceptance is putting words to the truth that is the new normal: I will have to learn to walk again. Or: The shape of our family has changed forever. She will never run, or know romantic love, or bear children, or live without pain. I have failed. He’s gone from us, all of us, forever. We’ll never understand each other on this. She has been clear: I am not good for her. I will always be a source of sadness to her, him, them.
Whatever it is, the possible variations of changes that demand adjustment and acceptance are endless. In the end though, they all involve new muscle, new strength, and knowing that for the time being at least, the new normal may come with seemingly endless tears. But our desire for joy and laughter and beauty, if nourished, can float to the surface too, and sustain us through our tears, and help us know that something no longer functioning the way we expected may not in fact mean its value is diminished in any way.