It came two days ago. And I have still not opened it.
When I took the letter out of the mailbox, the handwriting looked familiar.
After that, I noticed no return address. I was thinking, what is this all about? Did I fill out a rebate form or something? Why does this look so familiar?
I’m sitting in the cab of the truck, with the window rolled down. I am at the same height as our mailbox, which is ¼ of a mile from our house. I set the letter down and reached under the mailbox to grab the newspaper from its tube.
I rolled up the truck window and put the truck back in gear. I made a J-turn at the end of the driveway where it meets the road out to the highway and turned around to head back to the house. As I drove across the dam, I looked down at the envelope again. Why did it feel like I should know what was in it? And then it hit me.
I wrote this to myself when I was in the hospital.
When I was in the hospital, a pastor came and gave a short workshop. I thought she was going to give a sermon or an invocation, or a chant. She did reflect on the positiveness of life and how we should hold it and ourselves with love and caring. Then there was a quick prayer.
After the prayer, she started spreading out all kinds of notepaper, cards and envelopes. She asked us to write a letter to ourselves. While I remember that instruction, I do not remember what she suggested we write. Or how we should describe our situation. But, if we did this, if we wanted her to, she would take it and, in a month, mail it to us.
That was why the handwriting on the envelope looked so familiar, it was mine.
I remember that I had a little trouble with the pen as I was addressing the envelope. I remember that I had gone over one of the letters to make it clearer. That was what stood out when I first saw the envelope. I remember thinking, “I should know more about this letter.”
Now the reality of remembering what I was feeling in the hospital is welling up inside me. I want to know what I wrote, but I don’t want to know what I wrote. I hope I was very clear in what I was feeling, but I’m not sure if I want to know.
That’s unhelpful thinking. Of course, I want to know.
But am I brave enough to open the envelope? I have saved all of the notes I took at each of the sessions I attended while in the hospital. I have been writing almost daily for a month. I have recorded my thoughts, emotions, feelings, and described my thoughts as they come to me.
But a letter I wrote to me?
I have never done that before. I did write a note to go inside a school time-capsule, but it was more about what was going on that year in the world, not what I specifically was feeling. Remember, I was always the reporter, giving a clear picture of what was happening. Commenting on that and sharing my emotions or feelings about it was never part of the deal.
So, to have a letter I wrote to myself? I’m just not sure about it. Once it is open and I read it, I might even scan it in and share it. In fact, regardless of what I wrote, I will share the contents with you. That is a promise I will keep.
When will I open it?
I’m not entirely sure. But I will. And when I do, I will share it with you. Maybe I will understand why I am afraid of opening the letter. This may move me towards opening it. The unknown is scarier than the known. That is a reason to go ahead and open it. But what did I tell myself? And then, how will I know unless I open it?
Clearly, I am not clear on my intention. If I were clearer, I would clearly be opening the letter. Once I am clear, I will clearly be able to, and want to open the letter. Clearly, today is not the day.
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