Yesterday, the mail lady delivered a box. An ordinary brown box with my name and address on a card taped Fort Knoxian on the face. From her hands to my couch it went. Deal later – and there it sat.
Such a simple thing – a box. Not too heavy, not too big. But this box carried with it, from thousands of air miles past, the jeweled contents of a life. Not just any life, a mother’s life. My mother’s life.
Wadded up newspaper provided a protective vigil around two jewelry boxes, two photo albums – one of my own making, and four bags of costume earrings, watches, bracelets, baubles and necklaces. One of the four revealed a multi-colored rainbow of pleather, button-up wristlets – funny to be sure. Confuzzled – most definitive.
I opened each bag as I perched on the edge of my love seat. I showed my husband item after item – knowing I would not wear many. But, I understood from whence they had come. The sixties, the seventies, the eighties – from beaches, and trees and plasticated factories. With each piece, I could feel laughter and joy and wonder at such discoveries. The pride of ownership, of identification, of individualness displayed on my coffee table.
From the last bag, a child’s pink plexi-bracelet flopped onto the table. I fidgeted it over and read two words – “I WILL.”
Such a simple phrase – I will. Full of infinite delight and discovery. And the promise of another day, another way – another. In that moment I wanted to cry – for her, for me, for all the water under a lifetime’s bridge.
I smiled. In that instant, I knew, I understood, I forgave and I got it. I will is not passive; it is not that lame intention. It is the beginning of action – “I will whatever it is.” And it is so. That is the sum. The sum of a lifetime – not of failure or regret or anger. It is the sum of a will to live, to act, to breathe, to believe. It is. And I will. What will you?