Sunday, April 1, 2012

The act of composing a letter

When I'm in the shower, my brain is often at it's most creative or ready to tackle problems. How about yours?

Here's what happened in my shower this morning:
I hate replaying troubling incidents in my life and have doubts about the value of doing so. But this morning, that's exactly what I found my brain doing.

Someone close to me, to whom I have extended a helping hand in the form of an open door and a seemingly endless capacity for listening, became someone I have little time or patience for. It happened one summer several years ago, during one of those "Mi casa es su casa" moments.

Over the years, we had come to accept the unpredictability of when this person would be around for dinner or not. We did our best at making sure there was enough to feed an extra diner. It's true, I enabled this behavior, but they were often broken or wounded when they landed on our doorstep. Our home was their refuge.

But that summer I mentioned? They brought their newest love to meet us all. I doubt I'll ever recover from losing their last love from our lives, but we opened our arms and welcomed the new one in. Sadly, instead of the new person suggesting that perhaps they should let us know the whats and whens of their comings and goings, it became two people to possibly feed and entertain or possibly not.

I don't remember details, but it wasn't a great summer for me before they arrived. The unpredictability made it worse. As well as the new person's desire to stay in the back bedroom whenever they were in our house. My irritability and anxiety began to ratchet up as the days went by. Especially when I heard from siblings they had visited up north and how delightful the new love was. What? Delightful? How do you know? All they do is hide when they're here.

And so that open door closed. And I festered for the next 4+ years. And siblings tried to carefully mend things between us. I wasn't interested. I was done.

That's how I found myself in the shower composing a letter. Not to the person close to me, but to their love. I wanted to offer up the possibility of starting over. What happened instead? I ended up with a better understanding of that summer and the closing of that open door.

That act of composing a letter was an interesting exercise in unraveling that relationship tangle. I recommend it.

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