There is a scene in Dances With Wolves in which Kevin Costner's character, Lt. Dunbar, is traveling westward toward his post, riding along with freightmaster, Timmons (Robert Pastorelli), a rough-hewn personality who had hauled cargo over those isolated and dangerous trails for many years. Timmons was the antithesis of Dunbar, a straight-laced officer, each button upon his uniform polished to a high gleam.
Driving the rickety freight wagon, pulled by a team of mules, Timmons navigates down through a grassy coulee, where there is clear evidence of a tragic ending to the dreams of a traveling homesteader's family. Their mules lie dead in the harness and the tall stalks of grass wave over the bodies of the interlopers, savagely killed by marauding Indians.
Timmons and Dunbar dismount and walk through the carnage. At one point, Dunbar hears Timmons laughing uproariously, looking down at something. Dunbar strides over to discover that what Timmons finds so humorous is a skull with an arrow sticking out of it. Dunbar asks Timmons why he is laughing, and Timmons, in a memorable example of dark humor, says through rotted teeth: "Someone's back home wond'rin' why she don't write!"
This scene came to me today, as I struggled as I do each day with my conscience. I need to call my family and visit with them. I have relatives who will not linger many years more. I love them and want to hear their voices. I know they love me and are "back home wond'rin' " why I don't call.
I have friends who are very dear to me, living far away, and whom I find it very important to keep a relationship going with. Yet, I battle with the idea of calling them. Every day, my conscience haunts me about this.
Such a simple thing as a phone call. Why wouldn't I just easily pick up the phone and dial?
I've searched my heart about this and find several reasons:
*I have so little energy and so when I find I have some energy during a day, I will use it to get things done around my home.
*Visiting with people on the phone tires me so much. Since my head injury, I struggle with "abstract thinking," which is precisely what chatting on a phone requires.
* Most people want to talk about me. About how I feel. What my surgery plans are. I am so tired of thinking about me, that I try hard to steer the conversation toward THEIR news, their plans. I don't like revisiting all of medical stuff I live with each day. I know that friends are asking because they care, and calling and just talking about themselves seems positively rude and thoughtless. I felt the same way, before my present situation. Now, I want to think about something new, about others' plans...
* But that is an iffy subject because certain plans make me sad. If I hear about a friend going to a cowboy poetry gathering or a trail ride or horse show, it saddens my heart. Instead of just sorting out what I DO want to talk about, it's easier to just not talk at all!
*Physically holding the phone causes pain, and holding my head/neck perfectly still in order to hold the receiver steady at my ear will really cause symptoms to flare.
However, when someone calls me, I always enjoy the visit! If I have to initiate the call, sometimes I wonder if I ever would. Making a call seems like such a chore! But when a friend or
family member calls me, I so enjoy chatting and hearing their news.
Yet there are certain days when I feel like there's that symbolic arrow in the back of my head, and I worry about folks back home "wond'rin' why I don't write (or call)!"