Thursday, December 16, 2010

Miss Haversham

Do you know Miss Haversham? I'm afraid I know her all too well. You might say that we are woefully kindred spirits. For you see, I know what happened to her that set her the way she was. Her life and demise are indeed a tragedy. In Charles Dickens' novel Great Expectations, we meet a decrepit, crusty old woman, with an ice-cold, steely heart. She was not always that way, in fact, quite the contrary. We learn that she was jilted by her fiancé just prior to their society wedding. When she received the news, she cloistered herself up in her big old house; closed the blinds; stopped the clocks. She left the wedding regalia all set up and remained in her wedding dress. Her life stopped at that moment in time. Her broken heart consumed her. She never recovered. She wasted away and died alone and bitter and filled with regret and what-could-have-beens.

Several years ago, I was living my dream. This dream was not based on the some over-the-top ideals of a sappy Disney movie, cloyed with princes and princesses, bunnies and rainbows. No, not at all. My dream was a life that included a beautiful wife and lovely daughter who made me feel valued and alive, and a career that I had toiled endlessly for years to prepare for. I was surrounded by exactly what I wanted and what I needed. However, in a flash, it was over. A dream that crumbled into dust before my eyes.

In that instant I closed up inside. My heart shattered. I became like Miss Haversham. Since that point I have poured years of my life down the drain because I just did not have the strength or desire to go on. I felt betrayed, lost, alone, and uncertain. I felt unloved and unlovable. Worthless trash of value to nobody. The windows in my once lovely house remained shuttered. Precious little seems to have changed. Too many echos of moments planned but never lived bounce off these walls. Yet I cling tightly to a wisp that drifts faintly across my mind, a whisper that reminds me of what I am still capable of, and that keeps me alive.