What Doesn’t Bend, Breaks


“Buildings and bridges are made to bend in the wind.
To withstand the world, that’s what it takes.
All that steel and stone is no match for the air, my friend.
What doesn’t bend, breaks.  What doesn’t bend, breaks…”
~Ani Difranco, “Buildings & Bridges”

There is something to be said for standing strong, for holding your own, for bracing for the storm.  The thing about finally getting ahead, is that it is easy to get obsessed with falling behind.  Everything you earn becomes something that you can lose.  Everything you build is something that can collapse.

And sometimes…it will.  Sometimes things we create will collapse.  Perhaps the fall apart, or maybe they are torn to shreds.  That is the nature of life–it ebbs and flows, it gives and takes.

When this happens, my first reaction is to try to rebuild it stronger so that it can withstand whatever onslaught that life flings at it.  But stronger isn’t always better.  Sometimes loosening my grip actually improves my hold.

If I am so busy trying to plan for disaster, maybe I am forgetting to enjoy the lull.

The holidays are coming, and they bring all manner of potential disasters:  family visits, gluten-free feasts to prepare, gifts to buy or craft, traffic, illnesses, weather advisories…  While I hold out hope for a Norman Rockwellesque season, my reality is more akin to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

But now I am okay with that.  Or at least I am learning to be okay with it.

Because I have learned certain truths:  I am quite certain that someone will be inadvertently left off my Christmas card list, that I won’t get everything written that I had planned, that (no matter how many times I sweep) my house will be littered by those stupid Rainbow Loom bands that my kids are all obsessed with, and that I will spent just a bit more than I should.

But at least I have friends to send cards to, at least I can earn some money writing, at least we have a roof over our head and my kids are healthy (knock wood)…  (As for the overspending, well, I am working on that.)

Accepting it is part of learning to bend…to bend and not break…to grow wise, but not hardened.


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