A suitcase full of dust by Brian Patten.

I packed a suitcase
I put dust in it
And then more dust.
I packed bits and pieces
Of what was still living.

I packed a suitcase
A heart howled inside it.
A face stared up from it,
Its tongue wagging in the dust.

With each passing second
The complaints it made
Seemed more obsolete.
I packed a suitcase full of dust.

I went outside.
I was afraid people would stop me and ask
Why I was travelling about with dust.

There seemed nowhere to go
But to another place of dust…

Swearing fidelity to all
That is clean and free of dust
I pack a suitcase full of dust.

I have been carrying that suitcase for a long, long time. I am so tired of carrying it. I have been filling it up for my whole life with false gods and fears. negative thought patterns that keep me on life’s dead-end street, sapping my energy and joy.

I would like to leave the suitcase behind me, as if by accident, on a train platform or in a luggage rack. to walk away, my heels clicking on the pavement more and more quickly as I escape un-noticed.

but no, it is labelled with my name. and I remember where I left it. it draws me back. I return to the left-luggage locker, wearily fish the key from my purse, and tug the suitcase heavily to the ground. its handle feels familiar and smooth. it fits my hand all too well.

so, I am trying to unpack the suitcase. which is more difficult by far than merely discarding it. the negative thought patterns retreat before me like a receding wave. they lessen dramatically over time, so now what was a constant onslaught is now an occasional ripple.

but the suitcase also contains old pain, things I had packed away, other things of which I am ashamed. responsibilities shirked and relationships where I have let others down. and to take them out and examine them, deal with them as they should be dealt with, is sometimes excruciating.

and like Pandora the only thing, the only thing left I can find at the bottom of my jar is hope. hope that things will get better. and I am building on that hope every day. I love this quote from Anne Lamott:

‘Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.’

this is work, here. but it is necessary and it is important. so, on a good day (like today) I am not downcast, but hopeful. hope – full.

19 days to go to one year.

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