Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Meet My Possee: Lady Diana, Casey Anthony, and Carrie Bradshaw

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Some company I keep, huh? Pardon me while I wax philosophical even tho' it is not Sunday. It's been that kind of day. The monster in the shadows still lurks even tho' he has been dragged out into the light and exposed. He reaches out in unexpected ways to tuck his sticky little tentacles into the most unexpected crevasses of our lives. Sadly, healthy boundaries we have put in place fail to erase his lasting effect. You cannot make order out of his chaos. You may think you have for a while. Then, there he is again...reminding you that he was there first.

I feel his cursed presence every single day in some unexpected way. I have come to realize that escaping him will never be possible. He will be part of the fabric of our lives no matter what we do. The question is: will we survive the effort of putting him in a dungeon where he belongs? Freedom is not free. The fight to secure it is costly, downright bloody. That's not just a truism in war. It's true in life. Knowing truth will always grant a measure of freedom, but it does not necessarily make you free indeed. 
As I pondered the effect of his presence in my husband's life and the domino effect into ours, I had a fleeting memory of Her former Royal Highness Lady Diana. She was in the midst of her famous interview with Martin Bashir for the BBC. Her sad eyes overwhelmed her face. They were devoid of the twinkle that had so often danced within them once she grew into her role as queen-in-waiting. She spoke in a measured, quiet tone. You could see the impact on her heart as she waged the battle of her life. History will one day evaluate her wins and losses – even her motivations. As for me, I will always remember one sad comment: “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” 

Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
When the last puzzle piece fell into place, I joined Princess Di's club. The nature of the unwanted 3rd was completely different, but the effect was much the same. I didn’t have to play 6 Degrees of Separation to define my relationship to her. I understood the sadness that echoed in those wide eyes that night. I understood it because I had seen the same haunted look in mine so often in the last 2 decades.

If you were close enough to a TV with cable or satellite access during opening arguments in the Casey Anthony trial, you heard it even if your TV wasn't on. The collective gasp was like the shot heard round the world. It seems her chubby, cherub of a 3-year-old was dead all along. In fact, there was more. Casey had learned her craft as a consummate liar because of secrets kept since she was a little girl. And, oh my, but didn't the talking heads unleash the frenzy that had remained pent up before the trial. In coffee shops, hair salons, and office break rooms, the debate began. Was the monster finally out of the closet of Casey's life, or was this news really another elaborate tale told in the battle for her life? 
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
I looked in the mirror and saw Casey's eyes staring back. Did she tell the truth? My guess is that we will never know. Either way, the fraidy cat in me shudders over the fraidy cat in her. Had I not walked the journey I have walked, I would not know the power of secret keepers to keep secrets. I would not know the depth to which secret keepers will sink to keep their sordid monsters hidden by the dark. I would not have known that some families are comfortable worshiping long dead war heroes buried in their family trees because that is preferable to confronting the skeletons rattling around in the family closet just behind them. 
It's a fraidy cat world, I tell you. I've seen the toll. I've counted the cost of how that toll is paid forward from one generation to the next. It is a gift that keeps on destroying because of the power of the secret keepers to keep on keeping secrets. 
I don't want to be Sex and the City's character Carrie Bradshaw when I grow up, but I want to be like her. Yea, I wouldn't mind the youthful exuberance nor the cool clothes and body to make them look right. I wouldn't mind it if my tribe had a cool place like NYC to call our own hangout. But, I wouldn't want to be devoid of so many of the things she lacks. I do want to sit at my keyboard and wax wise about the search for meaning and belonging and know that my peeps are waiting to read my article. I don't want my words to be only the pretty words of one that crafts a well written line. 
I want to be the one that can say, “When you are overwhelmed by the fraidy cats in your closet, you can find purpose, meaning, and comfort.” When I say that, I want it to ring so clear and so true that it sends shivers up your spine till you find yourself standing straighter and walking unafraid right into the middle of the thing you fear the most. 
Tonight is not that night. Tonight, I am wounded by the wounds of others. I see one who has fought valiantly to face the fraidy cat and yet remains ensnared. I see another who is so deeply wounded that escape into truth remains elusive. In fact, truth is so scary as to be avoided at all costs. Sickness of soul brings about rot, and the smell is foul and utterly isolating. I see broken relationships and lonely people. I see fraidy cats running amok everywhere I look. 
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Despite the reminder that the monster in the shadows remains our constant and unwanted companion even now, I know I am not alone. Your fear might have a different name, but you understand. I know because the phone has started to ring and inboxed messages have started to arrive. I'm not all things to all people, and I never want to be. Only Jesus can be that perfect. Still, it helps to know that I”m headed in the right direction as I keep doing the next thing. 
The next thing for me is the decision that I will never surrender to the monster that robbed us of all we could ever be. I will fight because we are worth it. I hope you will decide the same as you read this post. I hope you will choose to fight another day because you are worth it and have been since the day God spoke the stars into place and called you by name. 
Courtesy Mad Penguin Creative
Tonight, I leave you with the words of my young friend, Ian. Today his mom told me about a conversation they had recently. He was expressing sadness over the state of the world and the wars and unrest that perplex it. He told her how sometimes he just wished everyone could live in peace, get along, and love each other. Then, this wise young, old man said, “But, Mamma, if all we ever had was peace, no one would ever need God....”

Dear God, it's me, Carol Anne...we need you..we need you really badly, k? 
Joshua 1:3-9 I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set foot, you will be on land I have given you ... No one will be able to stand against you as long as you live. For I will be with you as I was with Moses. I will not fail you or abandon you. 

Carol Anne Wright Swett 2011

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