You drop your favorite mug. The handle breaks. It’s a clean break, so you grab some glue and dab it on, let it dry, and your mug is good as new again. You can’t even tell it was ever broken.
This time, you drop your favorite mug and it’s not such a clean break. Instead of just the handle, the mug breaks into four or five pieces. You try to glue it back together. It looks good, but it doesn’t hold water so well anymore, slowly leaking through the smallest cracks. So you repurpose it, you put it on the shelf so you can still admire it every day. It still lives on.
Now imagine that same coffee mug. It has taken a plunge from seven feet high onto the hard linoleum floor and broken into a hundred pieces. Chunks of porcelain here, flecks there. You can’t even tell where the pieces belong, they’re so broken.
Some pieces have to be thrown away because they have been so damaged from the fall, they can’t be saved. That leaves empty spaces in the mug, holes that cannot be filled. That means the mug has lost its purpose, because with all of those holes, the mug won’t be able to hold any water.
You make a wholehearted attempt at gluing the mug back together. You take your time, you glue the pieces back with precision. But as you’re trying to fix it, it breaks even more. As you focus on putting the pieces together on one side, the pieces you glued on the other side are coming undone. Nothing seems to be coming together right. None of the pieces are fitting back together like they’re supposed to.
Then you realize there’s too much missing, too much irreparable damage done. You can’t save that mug, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much time you take, no matter how much patience you have. It’s all a fruitless effort. You need to give up on it. It needs to be thrown away.
Because even if you spent all the time in the world gluing that mug back together piece by piece, there’s not any glue in the world that could ever make it whole again.
I cannot be whole again.