Three Pears


Three pear-shaped candles line up, centered, on the long dining table this morning. They are stunningly simple. I bought them yesterday for 75 cents each at the Family Services thrift store in Billings, and they are beautiful. Perfect. I wasn’t looking for three pear-shaped candles, but there they were, in the bottom of a box still being sorted and shelved. I love shopping among the hand-me-down, cast-off excesses of our current culture. The stores are filled with rejected items that have learned a new, humble language. I speak rejection-redemption fluently. These pears found me, reached up through the plastic plates and chipped cups, and spoke quietly of their unique potential–their desire to live, one more time, in a place of recognition and service.

Now they sit centered in their own reflections on the shiny table, pastel shades of lemon yellow, barn red, and sage green. I offer thanks for the celestial river in which I float, letting the currents take me hither and yon. I’m especially grateful for the little tributary that took me to these pears yesterday. Less so for last evening, when I dumped back into the mainstream, watching a crime show that featured the agonizing torture of a female prison inmate.

The prison guard’s sadism, the cellmate’s betrayal. Too real. I wish I hadn’t watched. I know too many stories, too many real inmates, too many guards. I try to refocus on the pears. But the magic is gone.

“What?” I say, petulantly, to the open room. I stick my wounded thumb in my mouth, hoping the saliva will hasten the healing. I’m curled on the couch, growing a little agitated as I remember the awful drama.

“I speak rejection-redemption fluently, too,” replies the open room, also known as Allah, God, Creator, Author, Redeemer, Devi, Vishnu, Yahweh, maybe even Buddha. Right now, I prefer Open Room. I answer quickly. “Inmates aren’t pear-shaped candles. I do not, I repeat, do not, want them at my dining table.”

“Okay,” says Open Room. “Who’ll we invite instead?”

“Safe, nice, pretty people,” I say, mocking myself.

“Should they look like you?” Open Room asks, as if offering a compliment.

“You got it. And not too many, either. And not too often.”

“Okay,” says Open Room. “Your loss.”

Ah, that stings. I pull my thumb out of my mouth.

Open Room looks on sympathetically. My thumb is still ugly, but healing nicely from a recent power drill accident. We sit in the warmth of the fire, looking out the window at the day made crystal clear by the rain that fell all night.

4 thoughts on “Three Pears

  1. Poignant contrast and one we all face. Despite our hopes to the contrary, we’d much rather have shiny pears to bring to our table than face some ugliness in the world. But what does the ugliness bring us? Would you ask Open Room when you speak again?

    Liked by 1 person

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