Ganesh and I had a Rough Day Today



Ganesh and I had a rough day, today.

Ganesh has already had his share of rough days: his head was cut off once by his own father. His mom, Parvati, threatened to destroy all Creation if her husband didn’t fix the boy. That was almost a rough day for everyone.

Shiva said he'd fix it (his way—you can’t tell a deity what to do). It must have been a difficult household for Ganesh to grow up in. Shiva ordered his soldiers to bring a new head from the first sleeping being they came across. Against the odds, the first sleeping being they foundin a country of a billion peoplewas a pachyderm. Ganesh ended up with an elephant head. If there were an Internet back then, the episode might have been immortalized by a headshot of Ganesh with the caption: There, I fixed it. 


Today, Ganesh, Remover of Obstacles, faced another obstacle—the removal of his feet and one of his hands. My shiny, silver-colored statue of the elephant deity lay in three pieces on the counter. Despite that, he looked out on the world with the same patient, almond eyes, calm in his faith he would persevere. He somehow always does. He still had his hand that holds an ax, for cutting away the chaff and ignorance between him and his goal. And he still had the hand with a rope, for rescuing whomever strays from the right path. A third, unscathed hand still clung tightly to a ball of sweets, a reward for his hard work. It was his blessing hand that broke offthe one that doesn’t look like it's doing anything

For the record, I didn't break Ganesh. I lent him to the elementary school as a model for a class art project, and he came back as pieces carefully wrapped in a cloth and apologized over. 

Except, maybe I did break Ganesh. With enough obstacles in life piled up between me and where I'd like to be, maybe he literally didn’t stand a chance, hanging out with me. The smithereend statue was not, in itself, a huge problem. But it joined an unrelenting series of problems compounding into one, singular day that bored right into me until I thought my intestines might spill onto the ground in a soggy rope.

That image didn't make me feel any better, so I called a friend. Her hopeful interpretation of that last straw was that breaking Ganesh was a clearing away of obstacles, for Good. Like a dam breaking. Ganesh is open to interpretation that way; so many different stories have been invented to explain his unusual head, his myriad hands, his mouse. 

Ganesh is unperturbed as I pick off excess Gorilla Glue around his ankles and paint a new silver coating over his scarred feet. It's not the worst thing that's happened to him. I got my feet knocked out from under me today, but it wasn't worst that's ever happened to me, either. So , we patch ourselves together with a little glue and a little vino, paint on (or cover up) some silver, and go at it again the next day. And the next. And the next. In between the roadblocks and the cluelessness about how to get through the next one, there are really only two choices. Give up or give it another go.  

As I reattach the blessing hand, it directs my thoughts to how I focused on obstacles instead of gratitude throughout the day. I have friendships, a family, and good health. The biggest obstacle appeared to be a lack of faith: faith in the greater good for those around me. Faith in someone else doing the right thing. Maybe simply faith in myself. Ganesh is open to interpretations. 

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