I've begun a new correspondence with one of my favorite cousins---she's a kind, loving person, tender and sweet and free with her caring and the amount of love she sends out with every message. "Love you as deep as the ocean," and "Love as high as the sky," close her every letter, and they wrap you in a soothing cocoon of her easy-shared closeness.
Words are some of the most powerful things on the planet. They have such power to soothe or wound, it’s sometimes difficult for me to wield them in a THIS MOMENT time frame.
In a face-to-face, I’m geared to the pleasant, the mundane, the light-hearted banter, and the attempt to give a person right there the part of me and of my thoughts is as apt to send me groping for Kleenex as to be a memorable moment shared. Trying to speak of my admiration or love or joy in another being is likely to reduce me to blubbery mumbles; part of my heart is much more easily surrendered in the putting on the page—even arm’s length is sometimes too close for the REAL to emerge.
The reams and boxes and files and shelves of my midnight meanderings through thoughts and dreams and hopes and gritty actuals and FEELINGS may stand as Testament to who I am, who I hope to become, and the WE of me which made me so. I try to think of my family, sitting over coffee or cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by boxes filled with the sheaves of my thoughts of them, reading and dropping the square white leaves in a growing carpet, picking up the next---learning much, laughing more, holding in their hands my love for them. I want them to know ME and the things I cannot express save in print, so I give them what I have.
Saying “I love you,” to end a phone conversation is as natural as the next breath; saying whole sentences of worth and meaning and feelings closes my airways and makes me cloggy with coming tears. WHY is it so hard to say the littlest things, the most important things? Especially to the ones who mean most.
But I’m working at it; I tremble, I gasp, I blurt. Even in second-hand emotions, watching the screen-life stories of strangers playing other ever-far-removed strangers, I hide behind my hand or uplifted arm, lest someone see the tear-trickle signal of sympathy or sadness. And isn’t that sad? Isn’t it silly?
As my parents’ lives-before-me were in my mind lived in the sepia tones huddled between stiff album pages, I have an idea that a lot of my family’s memories of me will be in the black-and-white of the written page, poured out ever more freely because there was no hesitation, no pause.
But I’m working hard to do the NOW, without relying on the gate between, the wait-a-minute remove called “SEND.”