Saturday, December 14, 2002

I'm holding an unopened letter in my hand. It's addressed very sweetly in her best handwriting. There's a happy snowman sticker on the back, his scarf flying in the breeze. One stick arm is waving. The other holds an American flag. Scribbled on the front in red is, "Happy Holiday to all postal workers."

Yes, this appears to be a sweet, innocent holiday greeting from mother to daughter. Yet, my heart is beating fast and my hands sweat in anxiety. My instincts scream, "Danger!" and "Poison!!!"

I don't know if I dare open it - especially after the last card she sent. I've lit candles and incense in hopes of scaring the daemons away, but there are no external daemons. Fear is my daemon. It's amazing the power she still holds over me - the power of a disapproving mother who overuses the whip of shame and the mace of guilt on her powerless victims.

I have had so much love in my life, lately. I'm afraid that if I open this letter, I will become blind again to all the love I'm now able to see.

Nothing says I have to open this letter. I could just return it. "Return to sender. Keep your words of poison. I do not want them."

Thinking ... I have not yet decided what to do.

...
...
...

Just open it.

...

Not poison. A plea. The power has shifted from mother to daughter. If I wanted to, I could be cruel and lash out and hurt back as much as I've been hurt. There is absolutely no desire within me to do so. A few years ago, I might have been cruel, but the love that life has shown me has made me stronger than that. There is already enough hurt and sadness in the world without inflicting more.

The door has opened. And, I'm afraid.