Losing Our Identity

Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered what your life is really about? When the day may well have been spent trying to abate the confusion, and regain the confidence necessary to go along with the tasks at hand. Have you ever wondered why your mind feels compelled to ask forgiveness for all of your pain? I sometimes wonder what it is that causes me to feel sorry for myself when I look upon worlds around me with vastly different living moments of survival. We all live on one planet but our ideals and ability to function have such a wide range of clarity.

I spent the last 20 minutes trying to fix my vanity mirror. I got so frustrated I was about ready to throw it across the room. Fortunately I problem solved enough to look up the model and see if I could find a solution. I so discovered that there was a certain clamp missing that helps secure the angle of the mirror. I went back to my bathroom and I searched everywhere for the missing clamp because why would I throw something so obvious away – it is about a 1/2 inch long. I had to see it disappear one would think. I’ve come to the realization now it might have been missing from the beginning. I could have pulled it out of the box and ignored the clamp might have loosened from the figure and just held itself in place because I seldom moved it. Do you see how much time I just spent explaining something that is rather urbane to the regularity of my day? That is speaking to how it is I let my preoccupations run my world.

That mirror took advantage of my state of mind, and one could argue I lost 30 minutes of my life trying to solve the puzzle. The bigger question in my mind now is how much does that issue matter in the bigger picture of my life? We seem to choose our battles and mine right now being reduced to that of an object in my bathroom pales to the greater contemplations that run my day. Most of the time is spent worrying about who I am and what my future holds. I’ve done this for so many years that decades have flown by and suddenly I’m left with only a few remaining, if not a couple as a dear friend suggested we both have left in our lives.

I spend a lot of time rehashing the mistakes I have made in my life, wishing I could have do overs in so many realms of my world. I sometimes find I am regretting my actions, and then I turn around and blame the society around me rather than take personal responsibility. I consequentially come to terms with what I am doing in my own head, and though quite often it isn’t easy, I begin with a new day, even though going to sleep at night is a challenge because I am afraid to face the next morning. That is inevitably my hardship, and tonight I grew more curious because I thought about how ridiculous it is that I would care so little about the world around me and spend my night worrying about the loss of a clamp on a mirror, like that clamp represented my sanity.

I think this opened the door to let me think about the bigger issues in our world well beyond my own. I would have to admit watching a movie tonight about the Sudan refugees put me in a vastly different state of mind. My world is worrying about a material matter in my home. In contrast is a refugee spending their night worrying about their next meal, a safe place in the desert to sleep, a fear of being beaten to death before morning. Those are not things I worry about and I am thinking about that tonight.

I don’t concern myself with the color of my skin. I haven’t lost sleep over my sexual identity. I spend a lot of my time worrying about my finances, not that I won’t be able to eat and sleep and have shelter, but more how I match up with my neighbor or a colleague or a person driving past me in a more sleek model of car than my own. Those are my worries, those are my concerns, those are the pains that drive my day, and I have no business believing that we all live relative lives when I imagine a Sudanese child fighting for their freedom to breathe.

So I will go to sleep tonight and think about all these things. I will crawl into my kingsize bed with clean plush sheets and a comforter and hope for sleep that brings someone I want to be close to in my deepest dreams. I will worry about everything that makes me fear my life and will completely forget about the lives of those less fortunate and then I will measure my happiness and express my lost privilege rather than raising my awareness of someone without nearly the provisions I might have to live a healthy and satisfying life.

God, I wish I could find that damn mirror clamp before I go to bed. I would sleep so much better tonight.


© Thom Amundsen 8/2021

This Gathering

I am grateful

To recall the memories

Children running through rooms

A gathering of family

Hopping over the ankles

Brushing shoulders

Quick smiles as we flit by each

Relative that stood in our way

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I grew up believing the aroma

Baking, basting, tasting

Always a natural consequence

Of gathering loved ones

While the care in the kitchen

Symbolic of love and festivity

Would offer purpose to the

Acceptable gluttony of spirits

~

If I were to name you

I’d feel compelled to recall

Everyone that touched me

When gathering I had no clue

How your love would remain

Close to my heart today

On this morning when I ready

My family to celebrate together

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I believe then I am wondering

How to include everyone

My memories are vivid

Always a gathering with effort

To recognize each individual

Belonging together in heart and soul

Without exclusion on this day

An occasional stranger appeared … love

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When I celebrate memory

I feel certain emptiness stir

Becomes an anxiety I fear

A gathering of lonely and heartsick

Souls wishing for a warm fire

A soft blanket to shelter exposure

I will pray for them in my own way

That peace in God’s eyes may occur

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Glance outside and the sunlight’s beauty

Lights a blessed gathering of souls todayfamily-gathering