Saturday, July 2, 2011

the card

I walked into the church kitchen just as one woman handed it to the woman beside her. It's easy to tell when the card isn't intended for you. The transition is smooth, the pen is taken up and the writing gets written, and the card moves through sets of hands until you take your turn. When you're the card's intended though, conspiracy is immediate. Unspoken. A turned shoulder shields it from view. It's placed behind her back on the countertop. Maybe it's forgotten in the last gulps of coffee as the children arrive for another day of VBS.

This card was.


The shoulders and the backs walked away with their now empty hands and their thoughtful hearts and remembered not the card on the countertop in the church kitchen, on my birthday.

Later I went back to the kitchen for some something needed by the crafty kids in the craft room, and there it was. Intended for me, this card. I considered peeking.


Later the card would be put into my hands by the ones who took the time to write, those who were glad I was born.

But later never came and the card ended up who knows where and my feelings were just the teensiest bit hurt that day. And the next. I decided sometime that week that being upset over a card wasn't worth the trouble.

I adored those women. Something got forgotten, but I wasn't forgotten. I didn't get to read their words, but I got to read their eyes, their actions, their spoken words. That was good enough. Still, there was a bit of a sting that eventually faded.

And I too, even I, forgot the card.

I hadn't thought about it for years. It happened two moves ago, three churches ago, but the other day I was talking with someone about how no matter where we live VBS seems to always coincide with my birthday. Somewhere in that thought process I remembered the card.

Later a question hit me.

Who found the card?

That day, the next day, someday someone found the card that was intended for me and never delivered to me.

But maybe they thought I carelessly, thoughtlessly left it behind.

Walked away.


Tracy P. said...

Oh my goodness Stefanie. There is so much to this. Lee has quoted a former manager on more than one occasion in saying that somebody else's perception can be your reality. The shoe fits on both feet.

I don't get my feelings hurt very often, but when I do, I am most assuredly my own worst enemy.

dkzody said...

What a story. Thanks so much for sharing as it has many lessons. Both for the sender and receiver of such cards.

For many years I was so observant of everyone's birthdays and holidays. I made gifts and cards and took extra pains with all the work. I addressed and mailed cards and packages all around the world. And, I got a few thank yous. But no one ever remembered my birthday or any of my special occasions. No one sent treat packages to me. So. I. Stopped.

I don't send cards and I don't even send Facebook greetings, which, by the way, I think are a horrible substitute for an actual card. A few dear people remember my birthday, but most don't. Since I no longer send the greetings, I don't expect them either.Disappointment comes when expectations aren't met.