Ganesh and I had a Rough Day Today



Ganesh and I had a rough day, today.

Ganesh has certainly had his share of rough days: his head was cut off once by his own father. And when his mom, Parvati, found out, she 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), though as a concession, he said he’d do it ASAP. It must have been a difficult household to grow up in.  

To patch up the boy, Shiva ordered his soldiers to bring a new head from the first sleeping creature they found, and even in a country of a billion people, the first sleeping being they came across was… a pachyderm. In short, Ganesh ended up with an elephant head. If there were an Internet back then, the episode might have been immortalized in Ganesh's headshot 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 patient, almond eyes, calm in his faith he would persevere. He somehow always does. He still had his hand with the ax, for cutting away the chaff and ignorance between him and his goal. And he still had the hand with a rope, to rescue whoever strays from their path. Another 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 want to be, he literally didn’t stand a chance, hanging out with me. The smithereend statue, alone, was not a huge problem for me. But it joined an unrelenting series of problems compounding into one singular day that bored right through me, until I pictured my intestines spilling onto the ground in a soggy rope. It was one of those days.

I called a friend: get me out of my head. Her hopeful interpretation was that breaking the statue was a clearing away of obstacles, for good. Like a dam breaking. Ganesh is open to interpretation that way; so many 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's not the worst that's ever happened to me, either. 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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