Thursday, January 6, 2022

Like a Bird on a Wire Art and Story by Sandra Russell

Original Art by (c) Sandra Russell

Like a Bird on a Wire

by Sandra Russell

I was raised hearing a lot of clichés. Being a child I thought these things were great oracles of wisdom and would pepper my attempts at ‘conversation’ quoting what I thought adults wanted to hear from me. How confusing to be told such things as Mind your own business countered with Am I my brother’s keeper? (Is that good or bad?) to He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother, Be a good Samaritan, Turn the other cheek, Pride goes before a fall was as though, the lesson was all about anybody else all the time, and that you were to serve… no, to sacrifice your own comfort, safety, happiness for any other Tom Dick or Harry that seemed to be struggling?


I remember discussing some of this with my late brother. He said it “took me years to come to terms with just because someone throws their sack of crap at your feet; that doesn’t mean it’s your job to deal with it.  We wonder where abuse comes from, neglect is abuse...the denial of self as a way to be ‘a good person’...just can’t be right? Still it has to be a matter of degree.


What about loyalty, what about love? Sometimes those things are in conflict. We have so few opportunities to feel a clear path, a secure decision...a sense of my work will make it better, not just make a difference. Make it better. My mother used to harp on that phrase; They could make it better if they wanted to. I asked, “Who’s they?” She would answer, “The people who do things. So I wondered why we couldn’t do things? And she would say that was those other people. If we as kids would do things to make it better, would get scolded. “How dare you give your lunch to that strange kid that lives in the dump? Don’t talk to him, he will only want more. I’ve got enough to do as it is” (even though she wasn’t one of the people who ‘do’ things). So lots of confusion with sayings and doings.


This all reminds me of some lyrics in the song "Bird on a wire", where a man leaning on a crutch asks, 'Why do you take so much?’ meanwhile a woman leaning in a door says, 'Why not, why not ask for more?”


Spending a great deal of my life weighing words against experiences... sorting - a lifetime of sorting, I can only hope that each of us takes a little trouble to love and care for ourselves more than last year, whether we need it or not (we need it); and to put a little love out there for the others who struggle. Happy and Prosperous 2022 to us all.


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