The Insurmountable Atom

Size matters with machinery, not so much with words. For instance, take the word “Understand”. At ten letters long, with an unimpeachable meaning, it’s powerful, isn’t it? Because if you understand something, you can diffuse it. You can make money off it. You can enjoy it. You can operate a given thing safely. Perhaps you can even utilize that particular something for a benefit of your choosing. Because with the proper understanding, you can create leverage to ease someone’s pain. Your satisfaction increases if the person you’re helping happens to be one who’s oppressed by a societal lack of understanding.

If we compare that grand concept to the shortest-of-words, “ma”, then I can tell you which is more powerful to me. A mother can supersede understanding like how a pebble can defeat the ocean. A tiny stone vs. three miles of watery depths– I’ll bet that the will of the pebble wins. It’s dropped, and is unstopped. That is, until the pebble reaches rest, where it wants to be.

If you don’t agree with me, then I would love to hear your thoughts. Which specific person do you most often forgive their lack of understanding? I’m not talking about general categories of people, such as “Children”, and “Those Less Fortunate Than I”. Is it your boss? No. Is it the clerk in the return line? No. Is it the airline pilot? Never.

For me, there can be only one person on Earth who’s more important than the point she’s missing, and that’s ma. After all, who gets a free pass to the one door you hold in reserve for your mother and your mother only?

And who on Earth, with and without witness, held the greatest understanding of them all? I’m talking about the moment your mother first held you.

Mothers birth life, and therefore hold the greatest understanding. And Mother is the only person, to me, who can be forgiven her moments when she fails to understand.

I made a war statement drawing that combined a terribly destructive image with nearly two-dozen words. There are words to the left of the image, and words to the right. I did not choose random words, nor did I create a word-salad. I have also left off several obvious cliches that viewers would typically be aware of and which would unnecessarily crowd out the greater message.

Army commanders never want their soldiers to take the words on the right, and combine them with those on the left. If enough soldiers were to do so, then there would be no more fighting.

Taken alone, each word singly could be applied to make a better fighting man. But combined, one right-side word first, paired with one left-side word, and the war machine would stop. This was something a wise woman taught me, my entire life. Mother would tell me, “If you combine those words, you will think twice. You will do no harm.”

Ma is the insurmountable atom of everything earthly. And that is what I understand.

CAPTION: Ma is the insurmountable atom.

About Ara Hagopian's The LITERATE Show

For over thirty years, I have enjoyed drawing beautiful shapes and writing complementary stories. The imagery tends to focus on our place in the world—whomever or whatever we may be. I am influenced by Twentieth Century history—I read vintage magazines, books and letters. Inspiration comes from visualizing human achievement and personal interaction—derived from people, places and things which may be obscure, but never insignificant. My pen-and-ink THE MAGNIFICENT RECOVERY was selected by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for their 2008 summer art auction.
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