Today I was searching for something in the garage; there is an old trunk out there filled with letters and memorabilia and I dared to slide it out, wipe off the dust and cobwebs, and take a look inside. I discovered it is the Trunk of Pain. I have no desire to dwell on details now – it was family stuff mostly, and as I revisited that ancient saga through the poignant specificity of letters written to me decades ago, I felt the pangs of heart-constricting sadness. It was stunning to realize how deeply rooted that pain is, and how sharp and new it still feels when suddenly awakened, even on a bright spring afternoon.
I shut the trunk and walked back up to the house trying to conjure up some comfort or consolation, trying to find – what was it my friend called it? — the lesson in the wounds. I thought about how important it is to remember the past and to honor the ones who were part of your heart, but I saw that there is also a danger in allowing the past to pull you back. I sensed the wisdom of the Buddhist perspective, of being in this very moment of the now. I paused and watched a hummingbird, and I picked an orange, and I thought, "This is a good moment, and this is where it all led me."
But I was lying to myself, because I still felt sad about the suffering of people I loved and because of all the good moments they never got to have. When I got back to the house I decided to call my daughter in England, just to hear her voice. Here is what she said:
"Can you call me tomorrow, Mom? I'm playing Scrabble."
And that's when I felt happy again.