The Story of the Nightstand
I came upstairs a bit early (for me) tonight. I wanted some time to write. I was getting things situated on the night stand and moved the box for my night guard (yes, I’m a teeth clencher.) Shorty had already devoured one of them and I promised myself to be vigilant in protecting the new one.
And there was the mess. I’m clueless how the water got there, but there was a pool of it underneath the case.
“Shit” I thought. My eyes glanced over the entire surface. I was looking for more water but what I noticed were the imperfections, nicks, and mars in the surface of the nightstand.
Was all the time I spent putting several protective layers of polyurethane on the wood years ago was for naught? The dings were there. I wondered why I had even bothered trying to protect a piece of furniture that was going to be so heavily used.
Some people distress furniture on purpose, but I don’t really think the scratches on my nightstand make it more beautiful, nor do I think they add character. It’s distressed because it gets a lot of traffic – not for the sake of art. Carelessness? Practicality? I don’t know… but it’s well-worn… just like my heart.
Protection has its place, but even the layer of carefully applied polyurethane didn’t prevent all the damage. The watermark is almost gone now. By morning there will be no evidence. And so it is with my heart. Some of the damage will be evident for the rest of my life. Other mishaps are inconvenient and irritating, but they leave no permanent injury.
I used to think I was the fool when my heart got hurt. I blamed myself for not knowing better. Hell I still “go there,” but ultimately I get over the self-recrimination. I do know better now. My heart is going to show signs of wear of tear, it’s going to get hurt, but not all of the mishaps will leave a permanent mark. I think you can protect something to the point where it becomes unusable (case-in-point those god awful plastic furniture slip covers of the 1950’s.)
I have a heart (and a night stand); I’m going to use it. When I’m gone from this planet, it won’t be sold in mint-condition on eBay. It won’t end up in a museum as a masterpiece. But… it will have left something behind for others. to remember. and that is enough.