Thursday, May 24, 2012
Today I lugged two boxes, three clothing-gorged trash bags, and one over-the-door ironing board to Goodwill and handed them to the scraggly man who received them into the back of the warehouse where he would turn my trash into someone else's treasure. Last night, in my clutter purge I organized and straightened every shelf and drawer, searching for other things to add to my Goodwill cache. In the drawer beside my bed--the place where everything goes that doesn't have an assigned place--I found a few stray batteries, some stamps, crumpled memos from six months ago, three outdated housing manual, and an extra Hallmark card that said, "Thinking of you at this difficult time and wishing you peace." It's one of those .99 cent cards, an extra I picked up last time I was in the card aisle. I transferred it to another drawer newly dubbed my 'stationary drawer.' Wouldn't need the card anytime soon, surely, but I figured I'd keep it, 'cause eventually something sad will happen. I like being prepared. I finished my cleaning and went to bed in peace with the knowledge that everything was right in my world. Tonight, the card is lying beside me, opened, waiting to carry words of comfort to my coworker whose 15 month baby girl died last night in her sleep, silently, senselessly, peacefully. Not 3 months ago, I followed the little girl around the church nursery, coaxing her to give me the headband she'd pulled off her head; on Sunday I sat with her mother in church. This afternoon I gaped at the e-mail, announcing her death. Sometimes sadness sneaks in or strikes suddenly; it doesn't ask "ready or not" to warn us, and doesn't wait for you to stock up on sympathy cards. And inevitably, when it comes, I'm never truly prepared.