The Glass Castle
We entered this glass castle together, across the the moat of uncertainty, into a morass of tangled hallways and rooms. The rooms all different shapes and sizes, all made of glass, unique prisms entangling and reflecting the light around us.
Attendents conduct us along the pathways. Brief flickers of the lights they carry enter each room and change the balance of dark and shadow. Through the translucent walls are shapes of other humans. We are all here in this castle of glass, having similar experiences, similar emotions as we cradle the perilously fragile, delicate, painfully beautiful sculptures we cherish. We brought them here–our treasures–to this place, and we hope.
I hold you in my arms and pray and hope that we will leave this place together, whole.
And I see those other shapes in other glass rooms holding their little ones close, hazy outlines rocking in the dimness. Sometimes shaking with fear, anxiety, frustration. Always holding an ember of hope close in the dark.
This castle gives you gifts sometimes, but it requires from you in return. As in the fairy tales of old, you must pay a price. We all do.
Some of us will be only changed a little. Our edges chipped off and sanded down with empathy and faith. We’re fragile sometimes, in the aftermath, but still whole.
Some of us will be roughly ground into an entirely new shape. Our core intact, but sharply chiseled into ‘before’ and ‘after’.
Sometimes we shatter into dust and can only be remolded in the fire that comes after, into something that we ourselves can’t imagine before the spark is kindled and the bellows stoke it to life.
And the thing we learn is not so much about the glass castle itself–though we always have our flashes of insight there too–but about thankfulness and empathy. It is about how you feel more deeply for the glimpses you catch of other raw, splintering struggles that surely are much worse than your own. And the pure gratitude you feel when you are able to leave that cold palace: for the lot you are given, the child you love, and the hope that doesn’t die.