The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED SIXTY ONE: GIVE OF ONESELF
Why did I find giving as a child so difficult?
When I was a kid, I felt not only did people and animals had a soul, but things did, too. It didn’t matter if they were the toys I played with every day but they were the pencils that I used in school, my crayons that I colored with, and even the paper that I wrote on and colored on. I believed the dandelion that grew in our yard had souls. I did my best not to step on them and tried not to think about them when they were beheaded as I rode on the riding lawnmower. I believed the trees that I climbed had souls and by climbing into them, I was climbing into their souls.
Anything I cared about or that grew, I believed had a soul.* The toys I played with all had souls. And the more love I put into them, the more soul they possessed. And as toys go in your childhood, new toys appear and the old ones tend to get pushed toward the back of the closet or under the bed and get forgotten. And, in my mind, their souls become less and less. Then, one day, your parents decide to have a yard sale and tell you to gather up toys you don’t play with so you can make a couple of bucks (to buy new toys). You go through your closet and under your bed and even though the garage to find soulless toys to put up on a little folding table or inside a cardboard box and put them out with a price tag. But, yet, I struggled. Even toys that I hadn’t played with in years, I found it hard to drop into the sale box. I remembered the old times and joy I got from playing with the said item. Sometimes I would drop them in the box anyway but most times than not, I found myself pulling it slowly toward me and then racing to find a hiding spot for it. I wanted to give it a little reprieve, a little long in the Elmore household. Maybe its soul would become alive again.
But odds are, they wouldn’t. New toys were shiny and their souls were large and bright. The old toys became brittle and were thrown away by my parents and I never knew it.
They were forgotten.
Sounds a bit like Toy Story, doesn’t it? Trust me, after I saw it as an adult, many toys were remembered and I dealt with large doses of guilt. I was (and still am) a pretty sensitive child.
It was hard for me to give up anything. Or to give anything. It wasn’t so much I was greedy or selfish. These things felt like my friends, my pals, dare I say, my children, and the idea of giving them away or selling them turned my stomach.
I did have moments where a friend of mine that lived in the neighborhood had a toy I liked and he liked something I had and we would trade for a weekend. It was like it was a special mission and I didn’t feel like I was losing anything (well, most of the time. I still worried about whatever I lent out). And when the day came to trade back, I was happy to see whatever it was. I carefully checked over the toy with a comprehensive eye to makes sure it wasn’t broken or scarred in any way). And then I would take back to my room and be glad it was back and safe.
It wasn’t until I got older I learned that giving something away had joy in it. I think back and imagine if I had given some of my toys away, not just for a few coins or a dollar in a yard sale. But just saw a kid that prized what was in the box and then just handing it to them for free. Maybe I would have got a smile and a prodded thank you in way of their parent. Maybe they would have taken it home and destroyed it.
But maybe it would have planted a seed inside them that they never forgot. They would remember that some kid at a yard sale just gave them a toy they liked. And they took that and decided that giving was a good thing.
From my hand to theirs, they learned to give was good.
Maybe when I hung onto toys because I thought they had a soul, even if I didn’t even think about it anymore, I was actually killing it. The soul needed to live and giving it to another child allowed its soul to live.
Does that sound silly? It sounds a bit silly as I’m writing it.
But, then again, why not? The idea of something that has been shown love developing a soul isn’t the worst idea. A toy that you took with you everywhere and that you talked to and that you hugged and was glad you had it, a toy you felt a part of, isn’t that worth thinking that it might possess a soul? And then, when you lose interest or grow apart from it, to give it to someone that might love it and give it its soul back, isn’t that showing it love? It’s better to do that than to push it to the back of the closet and forget it exists.
I still have a few toys from when I was young. Some of those will probably see the death of me. After that, it doesn’t matter what happens to them. Maybe their soul will go with me if there’s a place for my soul to go to.
We should give of ourselves. Our time, our patience, our love, and our toys. If they truly have souls, as I believed when I was little, their souls will do the best with someone who loves them and not in the back of a closet.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
October 25th, 2019
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.