5/12/07

ALL IS NOT THE WAY IT SEEMS

There's something I've been trying to put into words all week, but I just can't seem to find the right ones. So I keep writing and deleting, writing and deleting, and if this weren't the age of electronics, my waste basket would be overflowing with crumpled pieces of paper by now.

It all started when a friend I once worked with popped into mind. I don't know what triggered the memory, but I found myself reminiscing about a particular Secret Santa/Christmas party celebration at our office. Every person who wanted to participate wrote their name on a slip of paper, along with a short wish list. When all the slips had been collected, they were put in a box, shaken up, and then passed around for prospective Santas to pick.

The first four days of the designated week, a small token gift surreptitiously appeared on desks and chairs, and the office buzzed with merriment as folks tried to guess who each other's Secret Santa might be. Then the fifth day, Friday, we gathered together in one of the conference rooms for the Christmas party where real gifts were exchanged, and the Santas' identities were revealed.

This was my friend's first Secret Santa experience, and I soon began thinking she hadn't understood the Secret Santa concept at all. Her pointed questions such as what type of Cd's I liked, and whether I preferred this kind of music or that, led me to believe she was mine.

Unkind thoughts started brewing as I noted that not only had she spoiled my surprise, but she hadn't even picked anything from my wish list for the day one and two gifts. In fact, she had even given me chocolate, which she should have remembered I don't eat. How insensitive was that?

Well, the day of the party a surprise was in store, just not one I would have imagined. When the Secret Santa identities were revealed, it turned out she had not been mine after all.

Then I remembered a birthday party at the same office. Birthdays were always cause for celebration, and although some celebrations were more lavish than others, at the very least there would be birthday cake and beverages.

Well this particular year there were two of us with the same birthday, so when I noticed two cakes being smuggled into the empty office across from mine, I was sure one was for my co-worker and the other was for me. I pretended not to see what was going on so I wouldn't spoil anyone's surprise.

Once again though, the surprise was on me. Both cakes were for my co-worker. My birthday had been forgotten. I guess the hurt could have been avoided had I not made an assumption that turned out to be wrong.

Jumping to faulty conclusions has been a pattern in my life. Many is the time I have assumed one thing, only to find out it was something else. Not to make excuses, but this seems to have been a generational pattern kind of thing. Fortunately patterns can be broken if you see and acknowledge them, but the clock can never be turned back. Words said cannot be unspoken.

It's not the memory of words spoken to me that have been most painful, but rather the ones I have spoken to people close to my heart. It's not the times I was falsely accused that linger in my mind, but the times I have caused a loved one to suffer through my accusations, that live to haunt me.

Today I received a gift for Mothers Day--a book entitled For My Grandchild--A Grandmother's Gift of Memory. At first it seemed like a fun idea, but as I leafed through it I saw several questions I didn't know how to address. Should they be answered with truths, half truths, or just left blank? Or should I avoid the decision altogether by exchanging the gift and not having to deal with the past?

1 comment:

jblieu said...

You should go ahead and write. You can leave spaces blank or cover the questions with pictures or white-out and put your own questions.