My first thought when I read the prompt this morning was “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams. I had to Google the play to remember the guy’s name who broke the unicorn’s horn – it was Jim O’Connor. Off and on today at work, I thought about Laura and her disability and shyness and screwed up family and broken unicorn. I couldn’t decide if I thought remaining the unicorn and isolated would have been better for her or if finally being just a regular horse and moving on with her life would be better. Neither option seemed good and I suppose that’s the tragedy of the whole play.
Perhaps because of the craziness in the world today, the headlines, the unrest, the death and disillusionment. Perhaps just because that play spoke deeply to my heart when I was in 11th grade and shards of those memories are still sharp in remembrance. Regardless, melancholy followed me most of the day.
During a patient lull late this afternoon, however, I was mindlessly staring at the computer screen imagining Laura’s broken unicorn in pieces on the floor. Suddenly another thought popped into my depressing contemplation of whether gorilla glue or epoxy would work. It was of the “Joshua” books I read in my 30’s by a Catholic priest named Joseph Girzone.
I read the whole series of books several times, often when I needed hope and encouragement. The character, Joshua, is based on Father Girzone’s fictional musings about what Jesus might be like if he returned today to small town America.
The only sequence I remember from the movie that was based on his book takes place in the barn where Joshua is living. A woman from the town is talking with him about how her life has been devastated since the death of her husband. She takes a glass vase and throws it on the ground to signify her life since that tragedy – shattered, unfixable, unrecognizable.
Later on, after Joshua has left the town, the priest is talking with this same woman. He suddenly remembers that Joshua had given him something for her. He holds out a beautiful glass figurine of a woman that had been crafted from the shards of the vase she had thrown. Taken aback, she holds it, studies it and then says slowly , “He made something beautiful.”
A completely new creation out of the broken pieces. That’s what Laura needed.