Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Plugged In To The Past

Joe has been spending the past few days getting ready to expunge a lot of paper from our apartment. We are clogged with paper. We have files with paper gone yellow and brittle with age. When Joe gets busy with a project, the side effect is that I do too. Over the last few days he's been setting piles down beside me with the unspoken but clearly understood expectation that I will sort through each big pile and turn them into smaller keep and not keep piles. I have been complying because, well, I don't really have any other option.

There are some benefits to doing this kind of thing. I just went through a pile and I found two things. I want to write about each thing separately. Today I want to show you this:

I was brought up short when I found this in the stack of papers that was set beside me this morning. It shook me a little bit, actually, more than a little bit.

As you know I've taken a bit of a leave from blogging as I've been incredibly busy and I got really tired from travel and wedding and other demands on my time. During this time, I've been thinking a lot about the work that I do and the work that I've done. I've been thinking about things that people of my age begin to think about. Life. Choices. Regrets, Celebrations.

In the middle of all that, I get this piece of paper.

It was a gift when given to me.

It's a gift now.

I had just finished doing a workshop for people with intellectual disabilities on rights and responsibility and voice. It had been a really moving experience for me, and, as they always are, it was fun. Several people came to speak to me after the class and thanked me for the workshop. One fellow, sat where he was and was frantically drawing this picture. He brought it to me and shyly handed to me. He said that it showed what he learned from the workshop.

He explained that he listened, got great ideas, got plugged in to his own voice and that he knew he had a responsibility to speak out.

I told him that I loved the picture.

And I did.

And I do.

It's not getting shredded. It's staying here, with me, to remind me again of why I lived the life that I lived and why I made the choices I made and that though I had regrets there have been a lot of celebrations.

I suppose we all go through times when we need to ponder. When the letters that form the word 'listen' rearrange themselves into the word 'silent.' I am still going through that period. It's not a comfortable place to be, but I think I'm well into the journey I need to take. I need to be able to embrace the next part of my life by understanding what came before.

This little piece of paper helped.

And I wanted to share it with you.