The Matryoshka Doll

Let’s take a look at the life of a predominant professor at a university whose youngest of three daughters was diagnosed with leukemia and given one year to live. The parents, siblings, and other friends rallied around her. The young girl, not wanting to impose or impede the lives of her friends and relatives took her own life during a sleepover at a friend’s house. This devastated all who loved her so much, the family disintegrated as each member blamed the other.

Looking for some way to make sense of it all and to find some way to feel better, the professor, now disenfranchised from his family, resigned from the university and cashed out his retirement to open a little trinket gift shop in his daughter’s favorite vacation community surrounding himself with the items which would have brought his daughter so much joy. One week into his third month of business, his shop burned down. He lost everything with nothing to fall back on, and sank into a deeper depression.

It wasn’t long and he found himself among the homeless wandering the city. One day, he is visited outside a mission by a young woman whom he barely recognized as the girl who had hosted his daughter’s sleepover on her last night. They embraced, cried, and the young woman gave him something that she his daughter had left at her house, a matryoshka doll (also known as a set of Russian nesting dolls). The young woman and the now homeless man parted ways, only now he possessed a priceless treasure (which he had bought her in that very vacation town) representing his little girl’s love for precious gifts. He could find peace playing with the dolls, just like his daughter must have, he felt connected to her, and safe, no matter where he was.

One evening while playing with his matryoshka dolls in an alleyway, tucked away in a doorway, a car barreled down the alley nicking the corner of a dumpster which swung around and nearly hit the man. He was shocked but relieved to find that he hadn’t been harmed, only his matryoshka doll was smashed to pieces.

Three days later, the man’s body was found clutching pieces of a broken matryoshka doll.

Unintentional LIfe Circumstance

To the man, he had suffered a countless succession of bad luck or personal attacks which piled one atop the other, appeared as though everyone was out to get him, or wanted to demonize him. Every time he saw a light of glimmering hope, his hope was abruptly shattered, literally, when the matryoshka doll was crushed. All these things were in reality, unintentional life circumstance taking place all around him with no malice intended. As much as we would all like to believe that the world revolves around us, we’re all just swimming around in the same swirling life soup.

What really happened was that the man had become invisible to society, unable to affect or influence the lives of others. What about his friends and colleagues? Where were they in all of this? In his growing depression he withdrew from otherwise active social circles and in our world today, when everything is so aggressively attempting to gain our attention in every moment of every day, out of sight means out of mind. If you are not reminding your people of your existence, the effect of your existence loses relevancy, except for the occasional story or nostalgic fable which you may have played a part in, in the past.

Feel Better

We, all of us, the man, his daughter, and other family members, friends, colleagues, people he knew and never knew, all are living our own lives from the perspective of our individual bodies, limited to what we can experience via our senses. And we are all looking for a way to find some way to feel better.

From this perspective, nothing exists in the world, except for that which concerns us. Until you read the story, a broken matryoshka doll had no significance to you whatsoever. While the man might have felt his life slipping from him as he asked God why someone would purposefully want to destroy the only thing in life he had to live for? While the joy-riding teenagers didn’t even know the man was there. Their only concern was to make sure the damage to the car from grazing the dumpster was not too noticeable, otherwise, they were just having a good time feeling better, celebrating life.

Same incident. Different perspectives.

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