Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another fire has been put out

I think I know this person....

That looks kind of like a girl I knew once, not that long ago. I knew her five years ago; I think I even knew her one year ago. But I don't know where she is now--or if I will ever see her again. The woman in this photo looks... different. Weary, as if from a long voyage. Eroded, perhaps. A bit more polished, a bit more dull along the edges.

But there's something else. Look at her eyes. The girl I once knew had deep, dark eyes that sparked and crackled like dried leaves scattered over a campfire. They were electric and fully alive. And not only alive, but nearly able to bring the world to life all around her.

These eyes are missing that energy. These eyes look old. Beaten. A veil stands between them and the outside; can you see that veil? Whoever this woman is, I cannot see into her heart. I cannot see past the resignation behind which her heart hides itself.

I spent an evening with a friend of mine recently, visiting a college campus where he had been a student ten years earlier. There were not many students around, being summertime; but as a small group of students walked past us my friend remarked, looking at them, "They have that look in their eyes..."

"What look?" I asked him.

He turned to me. "Innocence. Excitement. They believe anything is possible... The world hasn't gotten to them yet." He sighed. "I wonder when I lost that spark. You never know when you lost it or how you lost it. You just look in the mirror one day and you realize that it's gone. Once you realize it's gone, it's too late. You'll never get it back."

The woman in the photo above--has she lost that spark? Does she still believe that anything is possible, or has the world twisted her so much that it has strangled her spirit? Has she ever looked in the mirror and realized that she is no longer the girl she used to be--and she never will be again?

I hope that doesn't happen to me.

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