Wineskins Archive

February 12, 2014

Pitty Party (Mar-Apr 2002)

Filed under: — @ 1:28 pm and

By Brenda Poarch
March-April 2002

I had a pity party this week. No, there were no balloons or streamers on the wall. No one yelled “Surprise” as I walked through the door. Invitations had not been sent out ahead of time, but it was a party just the same. There were guests and presents and a mess to clean up when we were through. There was a guest of honor, me, and I reveled in the attention. I had not planned on having a party, and in some ways, I was quite unprepared, but party we did.

The first guest to arrive was guilt. He brought a large box wrapped in multi-colored paper. He grinned as he watched me open his carefully wrapped gift. Inside were layers and layers of things large and small I had not done. There were meals I could not cook, homework I was unable to help with and promises I could not keep. There were also children, who needed a mother but had none because I was too sick to be one, and a husband who slept downstairs so I could have the bed. Bills and debts were adding up. It was a grand present indeed; no detail was left unlisted. As I finally reached the bottom of the box I was consumed. How worthless was I, how useless! I had let everyone down. I was consumed with the guilt, wondering why my family would or even should put up with such a wife and mother as me. Thank you, I smiled slightly as I returned guilt’s gaze. He was pleased with himself and the gift.

“Open mine next,” came a voice from across the table. Fear stood there tall and strong with his small box outstretched. There was no bow or brightly colored paper on this gift. It was tightly wrapped with dark blue paper, so blue it almost seemed black, or maybe it was black. I took the box and set it on the table. My hands trembled as I tore the paper and folded back the cardboard flaps. The box looked empty, so I reached inside to feel around. My arm was immediately pulled into the shoulder. A vast emptiness engulfed me and threatened to swallow me whole. I struggled to remove my arm, but the suction pulled me in further into the black hole of fear. What if the treatments don’t work, what if the cancer comes back? What if I am never well, what if the radiation destroys my body? What if I do not wake up from surgery? On and on my mind raced, naming in great detail all the things that could go wrong, all the things I was unsure of…afraid of. “No!” I screamed out loud, as I jerked my arm back from the box. I sat at the table drenched with my own sweat, my heart pounding, my breath coming in quick gulps. As I looked across the table, Fear stood, looking at me, undaunted by my reaction to his gift. “I am glad you like it,” he said almost under his breath, and then he smiled.

Depression was ready with his gift. No effort would it take to open his present. He slung it on me like confetti during a parade. It floated through the air, clung to my hair and my clothing. I could feel it entering my body as I breathed. My energy was washing to the floor, pooling on the tile like so many mud puddles waiting for some small child to enjoy. Only I was not enjoying this. This was my party, I was the guest of honor, the presents were for me, but I did not want them. As I slumped to the floor too drained to move, my three guests stood around me, obviously pleased with their visit. I heard the door close softly as they left. Too consumed by their presents to move, filled with guilt, fear and depression, I lay on the floor and wondered if this is how it will end? Then the phone rang.

“Hello,” said a voice on the other end, “I just called to check on you. I have been thinking about you and wondering how you are doing.” “I am fine,” I lied, too embarrassed by the truth to admit the day’s events. “Things are fine at work, just wanted you to know we miss you, but don’t come back until you are ready.” Things are fine? You miss me? You not mad I am gone? I started to move. “Take care now, bye.”

I sat up. “Someone cares,” I thought. At work, they miss me! I crawled to my computer to check my e-mail. “Hi, sis, thinking of you, how are you, really?” My sister was thinking of me! She wants to know how I am! Feeling a small measure of strength return, I struggled to the couch and fell into a deep sleep, only to be awakened again by the phone. “Hello,” said a sweet familiar voice, “I have been thinking of you all week and struggling with not wanting to ‘bug you’.” But I wanted you to know I care and I have been PRAYING for you. For me, you have been praying for me? Hours later that same sweet voice was at my door bearing flowers. “They fell into my basket,” she claimed. She stayed and she visited and she got me to laugh… and my strength was returning.

A card is delivered in the mail from a dear friend states away. “Just thought you might like to get something in the mail other that bills,” the cute baby is saying on the front. Food is delivered to my door by busy people with busy lives, but they still take time to serve. “I love you,” my children say, “I’ll do it for you mom, it’s Okay.” They kiss my “yoda” head. My husband snuggles next to me and takes my hand; he does not have to say anything, not after 25 years.

I am loved? I matter? I count? I am important? Even sick…even diseased…even frail… I AM LOVED!

I looked out my window, only to see my three former ‘party guests’ standing at the door waiting for another chance to enter. I rise, saying nothing, walk to the kitchen table, and scoop up the “party gifts.” “No, thank you!” I announce as I throw them out the door. Your presence is not needed here and neither are your gifts! Please take these and never return to my door again. Then they were gone.

I had a pity party this week, but I don’t recommend it. There were no balloons or streamers, only unwelcome guest and negative presents. These party animals are always ready to party though, if you give them a chance. I pray I can be strong enough to never let them in my door again. But if I do…will you come to my party too and ask them to leave? You will never know how much your love and caring give me strength.

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