Saturday, January 28, 2012

Electric Moments

Have you ever been shocked? Literally, I mean. You've dragged your feet across the carpet and when you touch the person next to you, you both feel a pop of electric current. Or you think that your 110-volt converter actually works in the 220-volt socket, but it doesn't - then you touch the appliance you've plugged in and begin to understand what a "charged moment" really is. 

I wonder sometimes if I have had those types of physically jarring instances in order to be able to identify and feebly try to explain overwhelming emotional events.

Life is just full of shocking moments...moments so full of intense emotion that I can recall them with clarity and a jolt of electricity if I see something that reminds me of them. And the reminders could be anything. 

It could be seeing a new cupcake store that reminds me of my mother who used to bake cupcakes to celebrate my puppies' birthdays. And then all of the sudden I feel my body swaying and I hear that same buzzing in my ears that I heard as I was told that my mother was not going to live but for a few more days. 

It could be seeing a beautiful piece of Native American art that reminds me of my friend's amazingly talented husband who used to make wooden flutes. And then I feel my body somehow sinking through the floor like it did when I was told he was dead after a very brief, unexpected illness.

It could be seeing a group of young men playing basketball down the street that reminds me of the children in my life. And then I feel the rigidity that gripped my body as I read the email telling me that my friend's sixteen-year-old son had died after his battle with cancer. 

It could be seeing a cute photograph of children that reminds me of how I was as a youngster. And then I see a photograph of me actually standing in the very room where I was molested all those many years ago and I feel...I feel...well, there is really no appropriate description or adjective for that complex feeling.

With all of these reminders, I feel. There really is no "deflector shield" that will protect me from these unexpected moments. My body is snapping and popping with current from just typing that list. It is as if there is a complete circuit of electricity running between me and my computer.

I found an old piece of my writing yesterday that reminded me that I have never had...what is it? the talent? skill? education? I'm not sure, but I have never had some mystical quality that would allow me to convey to you the depth, breadth, or exact nature of these shocking feelings. I just know that there is electricity involved.

Hoping that your electric moments are less intense.



  1. I have never disagreed more strongly with anything you have written up until today.
    When a moment that is especially sharp - good or bad - happens, there is a rush of adrenaline that floods the brain. This sudden flux causes that moment to be imprinted on the brain much like a tattoo. I imagine that there is no better descriptor of that event than what you have written here today. Surely, you are gifted.

  2. Being able to wriite so openly and honestly as you do is surely as much of a gift as any heralded author known for a turn of a phrase. It's more involved than telling a fiction where you're able to inject yourself into another reality. It is not easy.

  3. Amy and Dana, thank you so much for your support. I certainly was not trying to compare myself to any other writer. All I can tell you is that when I read my descriptions, I know the words are paltry in comparison to the actual feeling. So while my words might create a good mental image for you of what is going on - to a point - I know that there is much more in play than I can put words to. I suppose other writers might also feel that way, although I have not asked. Love you both.

  4. There are some things that words simply cannot convey - the wonder of God's love, His splendour, majesty and grace, the feeling of loving and being loved AND the sheer pain and ache that we get when we are reminded of difficult situations in our lives and in the lives of those we love - but your words here do a mighty fine job.

  5. RB, I don't know about doing a fine job. Seems like I did an inadequate job of explaining that I was doing an inadequate job of explaining. :) There are no adequate words for some things. These days, I don't even have adequate words to answer "how are you?". "Good", "bad", "fine", "okay"... all of those words have nothing to do with how I am doing right now. There does not seem to be an adjective in the English language that does it justice. I'm not sure if some other language might have a good option, but I really haven't found one in my vocabulary.

  6. This is a powerfully true description of the suddenness of grief-memory - it is, quite literally, shocking. You have captured it very well indeed, Carolyn. Thank you. Praying you will find those shocks less and less often.


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