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You’ve Got (a little) Mail: A Lesson for a Wordless Day (Friday, June 17, 2011)

July 22, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

You’ve Got (a little) Mail: A Lesson for a Wordless Day

I wish I had something to say to you today. Words of joy, sorrow, anger, love, surprise wonder, or just anything that would make me seem smart, wise or funny. Today, and maybe everyday, I have no sense of humor. I would like to make you laugh, but “I don’t know funny from nothin’.” And I doubt that anything you say, today will make me laugh.
I have no words today because I think I have used them up—at least for the moment, or at least the energy that gets them from the deep wells of my subconscious or the shallow wells that quickly evaporate. Tired of talking. Tired of keeping secrets. Tired of talking around the secrets, walking day to day with them on my back. Oh, maybe I do have words. I will carry them by myself.
Maybe I can leave you with a story that a friend shared with me some time ago, but I am just beginning to understand it in a way that is critical to my life. It might mean nothing to you right now. It may never mean anything to you, and that’s okay. Still, it was planted as a seed, and its spouts have pierced the cracks in the pavement. And, in important ways, it goes with last week’s post, “Love Lessons,”one about which several of you have, publicly or privately, have shared a small bit of the wisdom that helps give it meaning or perspective.
I am not a big advocate of the self-help genre, but the story shared by my friend comes from Melodis Beattie—I think. (I think she—or her followers, have a pretty good sense of humor. When I worked at the Hungry Mind Bookstore, she was scheduled to do a reading. She didn’t show. Our readings coordinator was pretty worried, anxious. Phone calls where made, trying to get someone from publicity at her publisher or a publicist.
The publisher made a mistake with her busy schedule. But we has a pretty big crowd waiting to see her. Laura, the readings coordinator, still quite nervous had to deliver the news that Melody was not coming. People were not upset. I think they came to see each other as much as they did the author. They kept coming up to her, saying the same phrase: “Don’t own this.” It made her laugh.)
What I offer is a paraphrase and adaption, and twice removed from it’s original. I would like to take credit for this or even give my friend credit for it, but it is a simple story that fits right now. The story goes like this:A woman moves into a new house, but mail for someone else, likely the previous owner, comes. One letter. She marks it and gives it back to the letter carrier, saying they don’t live here. That should take care of it.

The next day, more pieces of mail come, and she tells the carrier again. Okay.

The day after that, more pieces come. She thinks it’s time to go down to the post office, with all the mail and says, “This person does not live here. You can stop delivering the mail for them.”

They acknowledge the mistake. She gets an assurance from them. Problem solved.

The next day, a ton of mail comes. There’s even more mail for the person and it is choking out the space for the woman’s mail. She writes a letter to the post office. And calls them. They promise her that they will take care of the problem. That it will be taken care of in the next day or two. But the mail keeps coming. It’s not just filling her mail box and leaving no space for her mail, but it is taking up space in her house.

And she continues to complain, and the post office gets tired of hearing from her, that her complaints are a problem—THAT SHE IS THE problem, and they say, again, that they have heard her and that her complaints are unnecessary.
But they acknowledged that there’s a problem. But they said they were going to change it. Why do we hang on to those words?
And maybe that is why I have so few words for today. And maybe there is the joy, sorrow, anger, love, surprise wonder, or humor somewhere in here. I will laugh about it tomorrow.
Like some of our relationships, the ones we choose, are born into, or are of happenstance or circumstance—the house is precious and we can’t just let it go, but at some point, too much mail or poison has been left in it to make it work as a house and it just has to be let go. So we can live.
With love, see you next week.  And maybe by then, I will have learned this lesson a little better.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 25, 2011 2:16 pm

    “Co-dependent Postal Nightmare” is one of my FAVORITE stories! The same book, “CoDependent No More” by Melodie Beattie, features another favorite story which you can read here http://www.facebook.com/l/ddcc3/jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/5228.htm XOXOXOX”

    June 17, 2011 4:40 PM

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