Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Thursday Tales: Meant to Be Someone Else

I was meant to be someone else.

I know that everyone says that at some point. They look at their life and where they are and they decide that this wasn't where they were meant to be. This is wasn't who they meant to be.  But I really mean it.

I was meant to be someone else. It's in the paperwork.

I'm sure I wasn't supposed to find the paperwork. I was in the attic, putting away some boxes for Mr. Baker, and I accidentally knocked one over.  As I put the files back in the banker box, my eyes fell on one with my name.


Well, what would you do?

I opened it.  I opened it and then I sat down.

My name is Jessica Tanker. I live at 375 Firefly Lane with my mom, my dad, my two sisters, and my dog. I'm a banker's apprentice because that's what it says on my paperwork. You do what the paperwork says. That's the rule. So I went to school, and I did well. And now, I work with Mr Baker at the First National Bank on Main Street.  That's what the paperwork should say.

But that's not what this paperwork said.

It was my picture, but not my name. Not my parents. Not my sisters. Maybe my dog. It wasn't my occupation or my history. It was like reading about someone else. Someone I'd read about in stories, someone I dreamed about being -- but... they were just dreams. Weren't they?

I slipped the file into my bag, and I went about my work.  And I went home. When dinner started, I slid it onto the table. I put my hands in my lap, my eyes on my plate, and I whispered, "Dad... who am I really?" I didn't look up.

The silence lasted a long time.  But my dad finally broke it by speaking to my mother across the table. "Marjorie...  lock the door. I guess it's time."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Your Hardened Heart

It hurt when they lied to you, when they couldn't see the plea in your heart. Didn't it?

And so you hardened yours, and you turned away, and you said it didn't matter. You said you were fine.

But you weren't. Not really. A hard heart isn't fine.

You tried to make it okay. And you tried to heal. And you tried to forgive. Maybe you were successful, maybe you weren't. And yet your heart is still hard.  Because if you don't soften it, then it can't be hurt again.

Then, you can't be hurt again.

But a hard heart doesn't get to feel much love, either. A hard heart is tough to find a way into, and repels a multitude of attempts.

You want to protect... but what you really need to do is trust.  Even if you get hurt again, what you need is trust.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Never Speak of It

We said we'd never speak of it. I know.

And so we don't, at least not in words.  
But the fact of it hangs in the air.

It's in the way we don't speak of it. It's in the sidelong glances and the heaviness of the silence. 
It's in the awkwardness and the stops and the starts. It's in the politeness. 
It's in the way we tiptoe around it, lest one of us slips.

We don't talk about it. We pretend it isn't there, and we're afraid of what speaking of it would do. 
How would it change things? What parts of us would it break? 
What parts could we never get back?

So we tiptoe, and we talk about other things. We stay where it's safe.

But I think we both know we're pretending... and that as long as we play it safe...

...we aren't playing it real.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Living Moderately in a Polarized World

I don't always notice it... usually it's when some major political issue or election comes up, like recently with the Hobby Lobby ruling. But, on a political scale, I believe moderately.  What does that mean?  I tend to run towards the middle... there are some things that I would fall on one party's side for, and there are other issues that I fall on the other. And I think that, because of this, it's easier for me to think sanely about the people who lie on the other side of the issue of the day -- because sometimes those people are people I agree with, and sometimes they aren't. But, whatever the issue... they're the same people, with the same heart.

But, our world has become one that isn't very moderate. I don't know if it's always been this way, or if it's just that I notice it more as I've gotten older, or if it's truly changed with the advent of the internet. People are polarized... They believe all the way one way... or all the way the other way.  And there isn't a lot of middle ground.

But, I think that what's worse is that, with the polarization, people have somehow lost the ability to see the people on their other side. People who believe otherly have become the bad guys, they have become objects of anger. People forget that the people who believe differently... they're just people. Maybe with different thoughts, but with the same hearts.

I don't really know how to live in a world like that, so usually I just stay quiet about what I believe... or even what I'm not sure to believe. (Except for the occasional "HMPH" blog... I'll be honest.)

That happened to me yesterday... in two different places, amongst two different "sides," I voiced my thoughts that I wasn't sure. There were parts of both sides' arguments that I could identify with, and I hadn't yet worked out in my head what I fully thought about everything. Truly... I was the person you wanted to dialogue with if you wanted to draw me to your side.

But, in both places, the responses were merely filled with anger... and I've learned long ago that, especially on the internet, anger isn't what I want to tangle with. That's not dialogue.  That's just anger.

The truth is... I don't want to be polarized. I don't want to be unable to see the hearts of other people who may disagree with me. I don't want to forget that there are people on the other side of what I believe. And I certainly don't want to treat anyone who believes differently than me with hatred.

And it's easy for me to sit here and say these things on issues that I revolve around on the middle. But, it's made me think about what things, perhaps outside of politics, I am polarized on. It's made me think about how I treat people on the other side. And it's made me think about how I treat people who are in the middle.

Maybe it's just made me think of how I treat people... good ways, bad ways, and ways I'd like to tweak.