Saturday, January 12, 2013

Lessons From the Bathtub

Dear John,
 
It was so good to come visit you today. It's been a while, being winter and cold and wet and all. And I had been coming by after work, but this time of year it's dark when I get off. So when the temperature hit 60 today, I had to come by. I sat on the big towel I started carrying after the day I sat on the anthill, and stayed until the damp began to soak through. I'd been to the grocery store and I was starving - that's why I was eating the apple. And Jen will be happy - I refrained from digging on my side of the plot. It felt good to be there with you again.
 
I've been thinking about the fact that I still have your name. Taking it was one of the great joys of my life. Giving up my own name was something I could sacrifice for you, and it made me very happy to do it. Somehow it was theologically important as well as emotionally significant. I've always been very proud and happy to have your name. And the fact that I still have it - will have it for the rest of my life - says that I'm still yours. Your death hasn't changed the fact that I gave myself to you. So you're still stuck with me. I'm not taking myself back. There are some associations that even dying can't save you from!
 
It was a warm, beautiful day today. I had the car windows down. On my side of the cemetery plot I saw some clover with tiny blue flowers on it. Weather this year has been strange. But a cold frnt is coming through tonight and it's raining, so the forecast is for sleet and freezing rain later tonight and tomorrow. I've been looking forward so much to going to church, but unless the weather people are wrong I won't be going anywhere. I'll get up in the morning and try. But don't worry - I won't take chances.
 
It's time to take the critters and myself off to bed. I love you so much, and am even happier to have your name now than I was 34 years ago. And I love you more than I did then, though I loved you then as much as I could love. I remember thinking about pain when I was little and in the bathtub, and it seemed to me that we all start out with hearts that are solid, like rock, with no hollow places in them. Then pain comes along and hollows out our hearts. But the hollow places are where we can hold joy. So the more pain we have, the more joy our hearts can hold. Now I would ammend that to say both joy and love. Pain makes us able to love more. So, in an odd way, pain is its own reward.
 
Love you and your name,
Joan.
 


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