Many begin the process at an early age, then abandon it with little remorse or afterthought, as a worthless project discarded for want of inherent value; and when, years and even decades later, it is discovered behind a bureau or a secret cubbyhole where trinkets and memorabilia retaining an eternal aura of privately precious remembrances are stored away, we shriek with joy as if the lottery had been won, a proposal has been declared, or a camouflaged vault containing the mysteries of gemstones and valuable cadavers had been pried open with but the wishes of gold pots at the end of a rainbow.
Then, as we turn the pages and delight in the innocence of bygone days, we regret that early abandonment turned away the gleeful idealism of a youth now a stranger, a mind intimately once known, but somehow forever a mirrored reflection of an identity of the same historicity in time and element, but yet in a parallel universe now non-existent but for memories kept securely in the destined vault of youthful summers.
Blank pages which abruptly reveal the terminal secrecy of thoughts and activities recorded once as sacred incantations of mysteries foreboding; whether of loves begotten or turmoils annotated in cloaked tears when others had retreated to the privacy of a house appearing in mirth, but ignoring the secret lives even in the midst of intimacy; now from the perspective of wisdom and maturity, do we laugh, or yearn for that innocence lost and the extinguished glow of naive eyes now dim with the experience of calloused beatings?
In more recent times, of course, we are told that one can actually lie to one’s self in a diary; but our own experiences tell us with greater certainty than the world can accord, that the tattered pages of bygone memories reveal truth as never before declared, and moreover, there is nothing more precious in life than the self-confessions of a heart once pure, only to be consecrated into the malignancy of a world which cares little.
It is, indeed, that transition from writing to the imaginary character of one’s own creation, to the intermediate level of testing the waters of reality, then to be pushed into the manifold chaos of the greater world, that constitutes the sin of destroying the human soul. But that we could turn back the hands of time and reenter the hallways of innocence; but, no, that would mean that the womb of our essence would be revisited, and the soil of our own impurity would desecrate the purity of those precious memories we safely tucked away. Then, one day, we open our eyes and we have “grown up”; and nowhere is there any room for such foolishness as hearts which once poured out for yearning of innocence betrayed.
Federal employees and U.S. Postal Service workers who suffer the inequities of workplace hostility, harassment — no, let’s just use the singular word which is simple, outdated, but still relevant — “meanness“, as in the child who has just had enough, screws up his face and cries out, “You are just plain mean!” — know of the experiential desecration of humanity, when a medical condition becomes revealed, and others who were perhaps identified “friends” and coworkers suddenly turn the proverbial “cold shoulder” upon the vulnerability opened, as a wound wrapped but now exposed.
Filing for Federal Disability Retirement benefits through the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, whether the Federal employee or U.S. Postal worker is under FERS, CSRS or CSRS Offset, is not unlike the youthful abandonment of the innocent diarist from bygone days. For, like that abandoned project scoffed at for want of perseverance or perhaps plain boredom, it is the treasure found at the end of the process which resuscitates the goals once considered and the future to be embraced; and, in the end, there is a difference between regret for a childhood forever gone, and a later stage now delivered, but where broken promises are ignored with a twinkle of a child’s forlorn gaze.
Robert R. McGill, Esquire