Clump #31: Confront and send old, old, school project.
As a public service for all of us suffering through summer heat waves, I will be inserting snow photos into the text of this post, unrelated to the subject above. I took them this past March when we thought Spring–and warm weather–would never arrive. Remember?
Alright, back on task. In my quest to clear our bedroom, I was avoiding the final frontier. Why? First I took down the darned ironing board (clump #29), that old stick-in-the-mud. On the other side, whether I was fully conscious of it or not, lay hidden another clutter mine. A landmine of guilt. The hidden bomb, in this case, nuclear.
And here it is. Not too threatening-looking to the naked eye, but inside, something I received long, long ago.
It’s a school project from a, then, nine-year old boy. He sent it to my older sister. Each recipient was to write something in his composition book about themselves and where they live, place a souvenir to represent their state in the envelope, and send it along to another person in another state. Fun. My two sisters contributed to it, as did my mom, who sent it to me. And then in the middle of moving … I lost it in the shuffle. Oh, the terrible guilt and self-loathing. By the time I found it, that school year was way, way over.
Here is why I am avoiding this area beyond all logic and sanity. To me that envelope says: “You are a horrible person.” Good reason to bury the thing and not go near it.
I finally opened the envelope and withstood the heartbreak of reading the note again (complete with an adorable school picture) from the nine-year-old, now twenty-something-year old, boy/man. Then I called both sisters to own up to my sin. My older sister, the one who originated the chain, did not even remember it. When she finally began to remember, she joked that the missed assignment must have started the kid on a downward spiral to delinquency. Ha-ha! It was actually so good to laugh about it.
I wish I could report a happy, satisfying ending to this story. I wrote a heartfelt mea culpa to the young man, a lesson about the dangers of procrastination rather than fun facts about U.S. states. I also bought a $9.99 copy of the movie Rocky to place in the envelope to represent the Philadelphia area (not the souvenir I would have sent when he was nine).
I had high hopes of reaching him, but, unfortunately, the envelope was returned to me looking like it had been run over by a truck, bandaged together with multiple stickers. Apparently neither he nor his family live at that address anymore.
This story will have to be continued.
I recently received news of the death of a friend’s father, after which, I hopped into the car and heard the song, Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, sung by Dennison Witmer, on WXPN, 88.5. The beauty, simplicity, and profundity of the song really struck me. I sent a link to the friend, who said she had just put that song in the program for her father’s funeral service. Cue body chills.
The line, “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,” especially got to me. Sometimes the hardest person to pardon is yourself (myself). But the result is much like the swift and transformative melting of a Spring snow.
Here is a link to the song: