A few years ago, it seems, although it may have been more recently, my father came to visit us. My father is - well, he is a bit towards the side of the mad scientist. Not quite that bad, but slightly. He has a tendency to be doing something - inventing, taking apart, fixing, whatever - and forget where he is or what is going on around him. I learned early how to take grease stains out of clothing because he was forever getting grease on his Sunday shirts from "just looking" at the car.
This particular visit, I had more company than him, and I had really been making strides to keep the house clean and neat. I was so happy with my neat house. Then he found a computer that no one was using and decided he and my oldest son, the mad scientist in training, would take it apart and fix it. (Why computers always need "fixing" is beyond me!) So they put the computer on the most convenient spot - the coffee table, and began to disassemble it.
Now, call me abnormal if you want, but I do not really do not like a disassembled computer sitting on my coffee table for a few weeks. It makes it hard to visit trying to see around the thing. And no matter how clean the rest of the house way, that thing stuck out like a sore thumb and stared at me. I had no peace with it sitting there.
Right now, I feel a little like that. See, I have this box I've been carrying for awhile. I've, thankfully, written out the story here, and it was extremely helpful. But most of the details and the feelings which I can not so easily share anonymously are boxed up. There they sit, on my coffee table in their box. The thoughts, the feelings, the fears, the details, the tears... all boxed up. Because of all the conflict surrounding the events, they got thrown in this box to be dealt with later.
I think I've been waiting. You see, I'm fairly used to boxes of unfinished business. I've kept them all my life. Only in the last years have I been carefully unpacking my boxes and sorting through them. I've grown to love an empty closet, carefully cleaned out with the things I want to keep lined up on the shelves. I really don't want more boxes of unhealed pain littering up my life.
I have some friends who told me that they would listen - that we could sit down and unpack the boxes. But it hasn't happened. They've been busy. One person who is not a close friend has been willing, too, but she's been busy. I've been told, "I really care, and I really want to hear your story.", but then it wasn't a good time. They were busy.
So the box sat on my coffee table. I live around it. It is ok. I mean, most of the house is neat and tidy. It is just that my neck is getting sore from craning around the box to see. A few times, I've knocked on my friend's door or called. Its been busy. Its never been a good time. So I waited.
Now it is five months in. The "I really care and I want to hear your story" is ringing rather empty. I still live around the box, but I've grown tired of ringing the bell or picking up the phone. I've been over with a few other things important to me, too, but gotten a busy signal.
I think no one else knows that I have this box. Perhaps they do. Some have volunteered to listen, but I can't really talk about it yet. I need to pull it out with a good friend - someone who understand who I am - before I can pull it out with a casual stranger. So I stand here holding my box, and hear another, "I'm busy."
The 'I'm busy's are starting to speak louder than the 'I care's.
I don't want to ring again. I don't want to hear another busy signal.
And I struggle alone. Feeling a lot like a child at show and tell who has brought his box to be opened and heard, but there was no time. He brings it again and again, and is not seen. Now he stands with his shoulders drooping, his head down, and tears pooling in his eyes. Invisible. Not seen.
One of my problems is that I have been not seen in hurt before, and it left a ripping gash in my life, a hurt difficult to deal with. That has been healing. But this now is ripping open the tender, newly healed places. I am struggling to know what to with that pain, so I am throwing it in a box. Piling it up on top of the box on the table.
Then, this week has been full of pain from a different source. A blow on top of unhealed trauma. I already was struggling to hang on - at times doing well, at times struggling. Trying to be patient with my box on the table. But now this next one is pushing me over the edge again. I'm not coping well.
And I'm angry at having been left by the ones who I would have said would not have left me - left to stand holding my box alone. I'm angry. Not in the going to beat you up type of anger, but the tears of anger type of angry.
I'm still waiting. I know one of them has not totally forgotten because when fresh wounds hit this week, they sent me a quick message, "Are you hanging in?"
Oh yes, I'm hanging in. Been doing it for awhile. Will likely still keep doing it.
The problem is, all those unshed tears are rusting the box shut. It may never be an easy thing to open now. I don't want to open it only to have people walk away while it is still all spread out over my table. That would drive me nuts like the computer did.
In the middle of all this that is going on, I'm being asked to carry other's pain. Interestingly enough, it is where I find the most comfort - doing for others what no one is doing for me.
But my heart hurts.