So our soul can be heard.
The Estate Sale
I am a writer. I love to write, I love to read about writing, and I even write for a living. I have boxes full of journals, notebooks, and torn papers and napkins. Some of my writings are poetry, some of it is just ramblings, or ideas, or thoughts that fleetingly flew through my brain as I tried to make sense out of a crazy mixed up world. My husband has always encouraged me to write a book about my life. He thinks it is interesting, different, and worth telling. I have never wanted to tell my story. Here is why…
When I was a young girl I was told never tell anyone anything. They did not need to know anything, ever. Children should be seen and not heard, a child should only speak when spoken to, and only answer as little as possible. Yes and No was all that should ever be said. This was drilled into me so much that one time, I went to my mother who was sitting at the bar next door to where we lived, and I tugged and pulled on her. She gave me a stern warning look that said be quiet. So I waited and waited. I wiggled and danced around the bar stools and waited. I tugged at her sleeve some more and she said she was busy talking and that I had to wait. So I waited some more. Finally, she turned to me and asked, “What do you want?” I said, “Our house is on fire”. Wow, did I get it then. Talk, or don’t talk, I didn’t understand; what was a girl to do?
Then there was the time my father tried to slit his wrist. I came home from school one dreadful day, and found him sitting in the kitchen with a bucket, some Kleenex, and a razor blade. Blood was everywhere. He said I had to be a brave little girl, not tell anyone, and go next door to the bar and wait. I was not to say anything to anyone. He said that in a little while, he would be okay and my mom and I would be happier when he was gone.
I went to the bar and tried not to cry. I played with the smooth odd shaped handles of the cigarette machine like I usually did until Betty, the owner of the bar, came over and asked me what was wrong. I cried but I did not tell. My mom was at work, so they sent someone to see if my dad was okay which he wasn't, but he did live. When the cops came to talk with the bar people, they hid me in the beer cellar at the bar, as they usually did when there was trouble. I never told anyone.
They said I was so shy and afraid to talk. I was always afraid of saying too much, or too little, or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Maybe that is why I started writing.
Fast-Forward to Recently
Spending my day at a rummage sale, garage sale, or yard sale is my kind of fun. One day, I spotted an Estate Sale sign on my way to work and decided to check it out, during my lunch.
It was a very solemn and thought-provoking experience. I walked into one of the rooms of a very smart looking home and there on the floor were all kinds of journal books and notebooks. There were still some pictures in frames the family apparently did not want. I thought how sad that was. This was the result of a life; someone once very loved but now gone. All that was left were journals and notebooks lying on the floor, for strangers to pick through as they chose. I felt so compelled to take those journals home and read them. I just couldn't leave them behind.
As I began to read those old journals, I found another kindred spirit, a writer. Here was a woman who recently lost her husband, and kept her journals full of her thoughts of the day. She talked about her feelings, her health, and her excitement over a day’s event. She talked about the loneliness she felt at night. And, she talked of the exhaustion that came from having the grandchildren over to visit. She felt depression at the thought of not having enough money to buy them a present.
I could imagine this lonely old woman sitting every night at her kitchen table with a cup of tea as she wrote down her personal feelings, thoughts and observations. These meant something to her, and I was proud to read them.
I found that we went to the same church and here were her thoughts about some of the same people I knew. Here were someone else’s thoughts about the differences and difficulties our church was facing. The youth were taking over and the old ways were being replaced. It often did not make sense to her. I found myself admiring and respecting this woman I had never met but, now felt I knew her better than some of my closest friends. I knew what she felt at her core.
There was one thing I truly admired. She always ended her day’s entry with a positive thought. Sometimes she included a Bible verse. Sometime she talked of someone’s encouraging words that still rang in her ears at the end of a trying day. She said she did not want to go to sleep with a negative thought in her head that could ruin the possibilities of tomorrow.
Here I was, one writer, reading the thoughts and ramblings of another writer. It was such a powerful experience. I kept thinking, this woman had something to say; she wrote these things for a reason. Isn't that why any of us write, so that our soul can be heard? I felt sad that her family could not experience this.
Stories to Tell
Then, I thought of my own writings and my own family. I have boxes and boxes full of stuff I have written. Why did I write it if not to be heard? For so many years, I could not, and often would not, talk. Maybe it was because of my upbringing, I don’t know. But whatever the reason, I now realize that I do have things to say. I have stories to tell. Sometimes I want to scream them out loud, but I usually do it silently and on paper.
And now, here I am with a captive audience with this writing community. I don’t know what I will say in the coming weeks or months but I do want to be heard. For the first time in my life, I want my story to be told. I hope someone will "listen" to my stories and my voice will finally be heard, before it’s too late. Before my notes found on the floor, for strangers to pick through as they choose. I hope another writer takes pity on those old journals of mine and finds me, like I found her.