"talk to me." that's all it said. it was a tuesday morning, i had been home for a few hours when i went to climb into my SUV. as i opened my unlocked door there this note sat staring directly at me from the driver's seat. "talk to me." oh...i thought, surprised, where did this come from? who would leave me this note? i was certain it hadn't been there earlier when i had run the children to school. someone must have just left it for me. i immediately began to rack my brain, wondering which friend needed me...which friend or neighbor or acquaintance was asking for my attention. i considered every angle, every possibility, as i climbed into my car and drove off. before i was even out of my neighborhood i began to think of people in my life who were going through something hard and heavy. one by one, faces and names rolled through my head. i was startled by how many came to mind... and all the while wondering who? who had left this note?
i stuck the post-it type note to my dashboard and continued to glance at it while running around town from errand to errand the rest of the morning. in fact, all day long i pondered. mused. considered. i even talked a little with God about it. as i drove from here to there, i prayed for this potentially needy friend...for this obviously lonely person. but i couldn't make sense of why they hadn't left their name. what was that all about? i was distressed. how was i ever supposed to figure out who it was? how was i ever going to figure out who it was that needed to talk? who it was that needed me?
i shared the occurence with one of my closest friends - knowing she wasn't the type to leave a note. she agreed it was strange. sad. a mystery. though i was worried about this hurting note-leaver, i can't say i didn't enjoy the intrigue of it all. i am a girl who grew up on nancy drew novels. though i didn't much like the thought of a sad friend, i certainly loved the idea of a good mystery. a puzzle. something to solve. i have no doubt when i someday have 5 children gone and a spare 5 minutes to spend i will be that slightly odd woman sleuthing around town with a notebook and pencil and a bunch of questions. but not now. now i can't ever seem to find a notebook or a pencil and if i do, it would be much more prudent for me to create a grocery list or update my calendar.
so there i was all week in my wondering. perhaps you noticed me looking hard at you. staring strangely at you from across the room. sizing you up. that was probably because i was assessing whether or not you had the look of a desperate note writer. this went on for several days. i scrutinized over countless individuals -- at least those within driving distance. my mind played out all kinds of scenarios as i was determined to solve the case of the stuck sticky note -- the case of the lonesome friend. i am not a bored woman, i assure you, but my musings did take me to to some pretty outlandish ideas. i'll save those for another writing.
my little mystery was going along quite nicely until this past weekend when i decided to share the odd discovery with my children. i did my mother's creative best to set the stage and paint the picture of intrigue. i had them all eating out of my hand as i wove together their mother's own personal puzzle. i was just about to the dramatic (lesson) part about how we don't always know when a friend is hurting, when my 11 year old daughter piped up, "mom, did the sticky note have a green kind of background?" "uumm... yes, honey, it did," i replied. could it be my own child ? i hadn't thought of that - gasp. but it wasn't her handwriting! just as i was about to grab her tightly to me and imploringly ask her why she felt she needed to leave a note ... she continued. "oh mom, that was a note attached to my art test. mrs. duffy put it on my paper so i would come see her about my test."
really? that was it? really? that was all? no sad friend. no lonely person? no one desperately in need of me? i was dumbfounded. my mystery unravelled and crashed hard at my sleuthing feet. no riddle. no intrigue. no nothing. just a note from the art teacher which somehow fell off of my daughter's test paper and onto the front seat of my car. it probably had somehow been attached to my rear end the entire morning. so my big puzzle had been solved -- anticlimactically, at that. i had to laugh at myself. i was almost embarrassed to think how far my mind had traveled all because of a little sticky note. my mother always said my imagination ran wild. she knew it when at age four i would pray dramatic and wordy, wordy prayers. "dear Lord, thank you for the babbling brooks and the sparkling streams..." that kind of thing. she knew it when i would orchestrate (i.e., force) my younger siblings and the neighborhood children into great backyard dramas and plays. i was always in charge. directing. creating. conjuring up something from nothing. i suppose even in my middle age, i am slightly prone to this same thing. apparently.
but here's the deal. even though this mystery ended with an anticlimactic fizzle, i believe my finding this note was no accident. i kind of believe this note --these words-- had a purpose in my life right now. maybe i wasn't supposed to be chasing a mystery around town, but it did cause me to stop and consider a lot of people. it caused me to pause. it caused me to pray. it caused me to wonder who in the world was hurting. i haven't been especially good at that lately. i've been all wrapped up in my own drama...my own chaos...and i haven't taken all that much time to think about what others might be going through. maybe cancer does that to you. maybe motherhood does that to you too. i don't know. but i think this week of wondering was good for me.
it isn't easy to look past our own stuff. we have so much competing for our time and attention. we drive by neighbors and race through check out lines. we offer a wave and a tight smile and keep going. at least i do. maybe you're better about stopping. but sometimes i feel my neighbors only know me by the tail lights of my yukon. they see me coming and going. and lately i seem to be only going--always off to somewhere. someplace. something. this makes me crazy. i want to have a kitchen counter where another woman would feel welcome to come at any time and sit and talk and share. but i am afraid that isn't happening much these days. at least not as much as i'd like. maybe i was supposed to find that sticky note --- maybe i did need a reminder note to think about someone else...pray for another. be available.
i am saving this note. it is on my bulletin board above my desk. a reminder -- not to make up pretend puzzles...but to slow down and make time to remember people.
please, talk with me.