An insurance company in Norway has interviewed people about bad luck. Is it your own fault when you trip or when you spill or break something? When that happens, how do you explain it? You’re clumsy? You’re stressed or distracted? Or it’s just one of those things?
There’s a fourth explanation they don’t list: It’s a message. That’s how I interpret things breaking. Breaking something is symbolic. If you are destroying things in your life, it could because things are getting broken inside of you. I know of several people, besides myself, who experienced more breakage after the death of a loved one. Things just went to pieces, as if to emphasize the loss.
I have a cookie jar that sat forever on the top of Grandma’s refrigerator. It is shaped like a big cabbage with a characterized bunny on its lid. When I was little, she kept Fig Newtons in it and she’d sometimes offer me one. She’d take one, too, and it always felt like she and I were conspiring together. I took that cookie jar home to my own refrigerator, years before Grandma died. It had survived shipping to Europe and many moves. For a while it sat on a small table in front of my living room windows and radiator. A few days after her death, I brushed against the little bunny and the lid slid off and hit the radiator. The bunny broke off from the lid. I screamed because of the symbolism that held for me.
I was able to glue the bunny back on, but for the first time in its history, the cookie jar had cracks and nicks, and now required careful handling. Much like my longing, empty heart. It was also telling me that nothing would ever be the same again.
By the way, I’m not sure I believe in luck, per se. I sort of understand those who claim you make your own luck. I think your own attitude and expectations go a long way in explaining whether or not accidents happen to you (sort of like a self-fulfilling prophecy), and whether or not they have disastrous results.