I don’t think I would be coming even close to lying if I said the past two weeks have been some of the most difficult of my life.

This year started out bad, and it seems like things just compounded on each other. First coronavirus, then the riots (and if you don’t like me calling them riots, zakennayo), then the election (which, in spite of common knowledge, is still not resolved, and again if you don’t like me saying that, zakennayo). Then comes a few personal things, one stacked on another, until I pretty much fell apart, and that all started to come to a head a couple of weeks ago. And the past couple of nights – if you haven’t noticed – have been particularly difficult. My last post was not born of intellect – it was born of experience.

But that which does not kill me, makes me stronger. I guess. So I’ve heard. And I ain’t dead yet.

In the process of all of this, I’ve discovered a few things about myself. I’ve discovered how much I am still trying to recover from a less than perfect childhood, and how that’s affecting me even now. I’ve discovered that there are some things that will just throw me for a loop and I’m not even sure why. I’ve discovered that all politicians, and most judges, are useless. But maybe the most valuable thing I discovered – or maybe, remembered – was that I wasn’t always this way.

The sadness of life is inescapable. From the moment you’re born, you die just a little each day, until finally death claims you fully. But it seems the happiest people are those who haven’t figured that out.

Like children.

I have never had a child, but there’s always a particular image in my head about if I were to have a little girl. I imagine her to be about five years old, sitting at a table. Maybe wearing a little dress, maybe some comfy pajamas. But she is sitting there, at the table, with a coloring book and some crayons, and she’s just coloring. And humming to herself. She’s not thinking about the ultimate heat death of the Universe. Not only is she not thinking about it, but she couldn’t understand it, and no adult in their right mind would tell her.

That’s innocence. That’s true innocence.

And then, she’ll go to school, and be taught through hundreds of little experience that life hurts. And how could I pick up the pieces after her? Because life does hurt. I guess I could hug her, and comfort her, and she would get past it, but every hurt would change her, just a little bit, until finally she’s a teenager and not even recognizable as the little girl sitting at the table, coloring, and humming to herself. You can’t give back innocence. Once taken, it is gone forever.

I used to love doing jigsaw puzzles, as a child. I would sit at the table until hours of the night a child really shouldn’t be staying up, and putting the puzzle together. That was my version of sitting at a table doing a coloring book.

I don’t do jigsaw puzzles anymore. I haven’t done jigsaw puzzles in a long time. I have no desire to do jigsaw puzzles. I have hundreds of more complicated puzzles to solve, like putting food on the table, trying to succeed at work, this, that, but nothing’s simple, and everything hurts.

I wish I’d never learned – I wish I’d never figured out – I wish I’d never understood – I wish I was never told – I wish I was never shown – that which takes away true innocence. But it’s part of growing up. Coming to terms with the fact that the happiness that one had as a child came from not knowing.

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
    the more knowledge, the more grief.

Ecclesiastes 1:18 – NIV

But can innocence be redeemed after all? Is there a way to gain back that which was lost? I hope so. I hope that it is true, that the last enemy which shall be destroyed, is death.

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