Today I read the final chapter of the book of Colossians and I’m moved by what Paul wrote.
Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Colossians 4:18 ESV
I suppose he wanted all who had been with him as he preached from place to place.
My life has not always been this way. There was a lot of horror in my before.
I’m almost done with “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman
I crawl into bed, thinking I’ll finish and slumber steals my attention. I decide I want to be fully awake when I read the happy ending!
Maybe I’ll finish today before the holiday dinner, I’ll sit lit by sunshine and I’ll finish the good book.
Yesterday, I returned to a familiar place. I stepped towards the counter for customer service and I struggled through my transaction.
I turned from the counter and saw an acquaintance at the end of the closing time line.
My eyes met her smile and I rolled my eyes, nodded and mouthed “grouchy!”.
The customer service lady with such a beautiful and unusual name never smiles at me.
She looks at me as if I’m inconvenient. She hurries me, demands my answers to the every customer questions.
Her appearance never changes, faded blue uniform shirt, thick old glasses and her hair in a topknot that never does its job.
Her mottled soft grey hair has fallen out of place, the topknot doesn’t hold it all together.
I decide I’d like to see her smile and then I imagine this is Eleanor, her looks are what Eleanor’s would be I allow myself to believe.
I long to see her smile even though she kind of scares me.
Her mood is so palpable, I wonder is it contagious?
I don’t know.
Do I come back with more packages?
Do I stop sending my art?
Is this what the customer service lady is saying, am I not an artist?
Such is the scare of trauma. The most ridiculous interactions are triggers, are mood and mind changers.
So, I mouth “grouchy” to my friend’s daughter as a warning.
Be prepared. Hold on to your happy.
I sit in the parking lot and I wonder what would happen if I asked,
Why are you so unhappy?
Today, Thanksgiving morning, I sit in silence and leave the lamp off. I gaze towards the dining room/kitchen, to the wall that’s a busy collection.
Feathers, photos and notes.
Old pictures of smiling children, still here mamas, daddies and grandparents. Times of celebration seem so close they may as well be today.
That’s how the view makes me feel.
I think again about the topknot lady. I wonder how she’d take it if the next time I’m next in line, I asked her,
What makes you so happy?
And then look her in the eye and be strong in my grace, my love and my mercy.
And say Thanks and walk away, leaving her at least with that thought.
What makes me so happy?
Give thanks for it.
Later I’ll finish the Eleanor story, the one that I’m almost at the end, keep flipping to the chapter “Better Days”.
The story of giving love to someone complicated and unlovable, closed off and shelled up because of unspeakable trauma, chains.
The story of one accepting the warmth of another’s long suffering hand.
See, I love the story of Eleanor Oliphant; but, it’s Raymond in the book who makes me happy.
Remember what kept you in chains today and then remember the hands that set you free.
Continue and believe.
Give happy today.