I was thinking recently about fragility in health, in love, in friendship, in human connections… in life. My son and daughter went to play laser tag downtown a few nights ago with friends. I began to worry around 9 o’clock when I should have gotten a call to pick them up at the meeting point. I called my daughter and she was upset, one of her friends had collapsed during the game and was being taken away by ambulance. It was scary for my daughter and my son to see their friend lying there, incoherent, partially paralyzed — they felt helpless and fragile. It made me think of my youngest daughter and how fragile her health can be at times.
She has a severe allergy to nuts. I carry an epipen everywhere — just in case. She has a special seat at school that is kept free of nuts and the dreaded peanut butter. Yet one day her fragility made itself known. She had gotten just the slightest sprinkling of peanut butter on her finger and subsequently on her lip — a smidgen… less than a taste. Her lip swelled immediately and her eyes closed — time and a bath made her better. Sometimes simple things can cause the frailness that is in us to leave — if only momentarily.
I was 38 years old when I hugged my best friend for the first time. We have been best friends since we were 5 — we both escaped our childhoods being non-emotional, non-feeling, non-hugging friends. Yet, we love one another. Sometimes I confuse even myself. Our first hug was awkward and laughable — we both said, “we can do this”, to each other as we went in for the hug… we laughed. And in that hug, in our awkward huggable moment, we connected even more with each other — we erased some fragility.
Fragility in life is everywhere. In the people we love and in those we barely know. I know what is means to be fragile… to be in need of a hand to hold and a friend to talk to. I know what it means to help someone I love when they are fragile. Fragile doesn’t last. It can be fixed — I like to fix things when they’re broken.
I think we all have fragility in us, sometimes… unfortunately, sometimes. But still even though by nature we are fragile, by nature we break, we still carry on. We still move through life with a semblance of carefree bliss and a need to leap… again. We love and laugh and care and we express ourselves through words that can often leave us open and vulnerable and… broken. Because we’re fragile. We hope that we connect with people who recognize our strengths and our frailties, we hope they accept our imperfections and that they continue to love us and care about us in our often fragile and sometimes broken states. We hope they add to the army that builds us back… that makes us whole again. If those people exist… if by chance we are fortunate to find them and keep them close to our hearts and our souls — then maybe, we won’t continue to break. Maybe, we aren’t too fragile.
Picture from Kind Over Matter