in the way
a soaking rain
pours down so steady
and fills up
the thirsty soil
but a necessary
where one without
quite as much
in the way
a soaking rain
pours down so steady
and fills up
the thirsty soil
but a necessary
where one without
quite as much
The street lamp
through the jail slit blinds
while I lay wide-eyed
trying to sleep
It lights my thoughts
the moment when you
got on your knees and begged me to stay
when I played the now dead song:
“I Will Always Love You”
(which wasn’t true)
Laying on the lamp-lit bed
even with lavender soaked eye-pads
I cannot escape
the path of memories
I’ve been watching lots of love stories and romantic comedies on Netflix lately. Maybe it’s because it’s spring and we have approached Beltane. Or maybe it’s something else?
I’m no stranger to love or relationships having had my fair share of both. But I’ve been single for a very long time now. Living alone is a beautiful thing with peaceful moments, the ability to control one’s own life and no disagreements over mundane things. This lifestyle has been one of choice and one I have sunk into as though it was a big comfy bed waiting to give me a good night’s rest. Believe me, I needed it.
My marriages and relationships were all different, and while not awful, obviously didn’t meet my needs at the time. Nor did the subsequent relationships I tried (and tried) after. So finally, I threw in the cards and fell into the quiet solitude of a peaceful life.
Friends and family have tried to push me into relationships and insisted ‘the right one’ is just waiting around the corner. And all the movies I watch insist it must be so. These love stories show couples meeting in the most unlikely places and falling in love within minutes of meeting one another. It makes someone like me feel, well, rather inadequate.
When I take a really close look at myself and my situation though, I know that these movies are purely fiction and real life does not happen like this at all. Look as one may, it is quite unlikely one will find someone so easily.
Especially, I think, once such as me… Oh I know what you all must be thinking. But no, I really do not fit in the typical box in many respects. This goes for many aspects in my life and why I also have a limited circle of close friends too, often finding as people get to know me, they find me ‘too different’ to become near and dear.
Mind you, I embrace this about myself! This off-beat, quirky part of me–but when it comes to meeting your average partner, well, yeah, not so much. I say this to you all there in my blogging community, because there are times that I wonder if I want to go through my whole life without sharing the love that I know I have inside me. Can I do it? Absolutely. But would it ever be possible to find that companion to share this crazy ride? It might be interesting at some point.
Life is so random. Matching up with that other quirky/tolerant person is probably very unlikely. It’s like chasing butterflies hoping they will stop long enough to share their beauty with you. Ah and to feel the butterflies again….
Will it ever be so….???
Today was such an interesting day at work. So different from my first 3 days. I learned more of my actual job, sat at my actual station, observed ‘the group’ in all their glory, made some simple phone calls, spoke on the over head intercom, played on the computer and was generally was immersed. You could say that I began to peep outside my shell.
But my biggest triumph came as I was leaving work. It was unexpected and completely rewarding, and it made me feel like maybe the job will work for me after all. (Yesterday I wasn’t sure for a variety of reasons actually).
You see, I had left the building and was heading to my car in the parking garage when I noticed an elderly woman struggling in a parking lot walking with a walker. I approached her and asked if she needed any help. She was clearly distressed and relayed to me that she was trying to find her husband, who had fallen and was brought to rehab. She was lost and had no idea where to find him.
Now mind you, I have no idea where to find anything either, but I was determined to help! So I assured her that together we would find him and that she shouldn’t worry. She told me he was 92, that she was upset with his doctor, that her daughter was sick also. The poor woman was very nearly in tears.
So the next person that came along, I asked where the rehab center was and luckily it was right nearby. We walked together there, but the woman was sure it wasn’t the right place as she didn’t recognize it. But I convinced her to go in any way so we could hopefully figure out where her husband might be. Meanwhile she was getting very anxious and upset.
When we got inside, I explained the situation to the receptionist and she checked, but found he wasn’t there. Some of the volunteers situated nearby suggested that he may actually have been brought to the nearby nursing home from the description the woman had given. Rather than make her drive there to find out, we decided to call it, so one of the volunteers looked up the number on her phone and I placed the call.
Sure enough, the missing husband was there! She was relieved, but now we had to figure out how to get her there. After discussion (I didn’t know where it was), it was decided that the volunteer would go in the woman’s car and then walk back–apparently it wasn’t far. The woman was very happy, because she was pretty much at the end of her rope.
She thanked me profusely, which was better than any paycheck I could have earned today! And I thought that even though I’m no longer a paramedic, I still got an opportunity to help someone out. It was pretty cool. It’s in line with the hospital’s code of customer service too–so it was all good. All in all, a pretty satisfying day!
As I lay in the heat of my tropical bed last night, listening for the jingling of Santa’s reindeer–I thought about how I just couldn’t get into the Christmas spirit this year. Not physically anyway. It just didn’t feel right somehow to drag what little I brought with me, and garnish my apartment, only to look out and see palm trees and feel 80 degree weather. Nope, does not compute as we used to say… The only thing that looks remotely “Christmas” are some cards sent to me that I did decide to put out.
So I thought about what defined this particular holiday for me, especially since I’m not Christian. I certainly have celebrated it, along with the other teeming throngs of stressed-out Americans. So I started to make a list, a list of what was missing this year that made it feel all wrong and why I simply let it slip by instead:
These are some that were missing.
I went for my walk here on Christmas day. It was strangely quiet. I imagined everyone inside with their families. It made me think about this global thing that happens today. It’s really quite amazing when you think about it. Everyone, everywhere doing the same thing.
Imagine if people could put that energy, the money spent, toward other things? Say even half of it. If there was a day, like Christmas, where the whole world concentrated on world hunger, or world peace, or global warming or violence against women or racism. If everyone took the energy they take preparing for this holiday, took the money they spend on it and put it towards one of these things…? What if….??
Do you think Jesus would mind?
Sometimes some of us are searching for things in life. We may not even realize for many years what we are searching for until we get to be adults. But as even as we twist through life, there are choices that are continually made in our lives that seem to follow a theme. And these choices or paths that appear to have the same scenery or types of players, all seem to add up to the fact there must be something particular we are seeking. Something that is either missing or that we are yearning to have as part of our story.
This really has become very clear to me within the last year or so. As an abandoned child, subsequently adopted into a caring home, a sense of belonging to a loving family always seemed to allude me. While my home was not a bad one, it did lack siblings and somehow it did seem to be missing some sort of closeness or deep sense of familial bonding.
With that sense of loss or lack, it felt like so many of my decisions or choices were based on this illusive desire to fill a deep, dark and empty space within my being. It’s not something I was always consciously aware of actually, although at times I did think about it openly. Like when I would meet a new potential boyfriend and would wonder if he had a big family and if they would end up ‘loving’ me.
It went beyond just the men I met, because they didn’t provide enough of the soil to fill this hole. Everyone is supposed to have a spouse when they grow up and move out. But I was still looking for that jump off point, the family to move out from and the people who would always be there if I needed them.
Everyone surrounding me seemed to have these extended families they had parties with and were going to their weddings, or on vacations with relatives. In my younger years, we did share time with my adopted family, but somehow I always felt the outsider. I’m not sure why–it was nothing tangible and everyone was good to me. And yet, my heart still felt lonely as I grew up.
With my second husband, I was about 25 when there was an emergency situation where his younger sister and brother had to come live with us. They were 11 and 9 at the time respectively. Our marriage was a strained one; we were young, he drank and we fought a lot. But these kids were in trouble and it was us or foster care so the decision was easy.
They lived with us for a number of years until the marriage was under such a strain that I simply had to leave. It was one of the hardest choices I ever had to make–not because of my husband, but because of them.
It is now many, many years later. His sister and I had only a bit of time where we weren’t in touch and this was due to some circumstances she could not control. Luckily, she now has her life back, and we have our wonderful relationship back. Except for the blip, we’ve always been close. Like sisters.
What I have come to realize about it all is this: what I was meant to have from that marriage was my relationship with her (and now her brother again too). She is not only my best friend and confidant, but the sister I never had (and always wanted). In fact, I’m not even sure having children has filled the gap in my life that she has filled. Maybe that will change as they get older, but for now, she gives me more than anyone has so far.
And recently, when I saw her brother and we reconnected, he has told me how much I influenced his life in many ways. It was amazing to hear since it was just a few years we lived together. She and I discussed it last night and I told her that I was so surprised. That’s when she said that she felt the same way. I simply broke down and cried. Because it hit me right then that this was the family I had always been searching for and yet, it was right there in front of me.
These two people cared about me and understood that the 25-year-old me simply did what I believed to be was right and taught them best I could. Now they say it was the foundation of a belief system based on strong ethics and compassion they carry with them in life. It’s one of the highest compliment I could possibly be paid.
Realizing after 58 years that family can surround you sometimes unknowingly and without really looking. And it slips into your heart through laughter, realizations, tears, years, pain, resurfacing, resurrection, mistakes and many, many conversations. It’s not always about genes or adoption papers or Aunts or Uncles. Sometimes it’s just about those that understand and accept you at a level like no-one else ever will and love you anyway.
As the holiday cards roll in, and the enclosed letters, it reminds me more and more how much I have changed and how different I am from so many people. Contemplating my life during my meditation today, I couldn’t help agree that youth is indeed wasted on the young. It’s only now that I seem to have the ability to remotely peer into the depth of my soul and have a glimmer of what I might want from this life.
In my younger years, I blasted through life and its critical junctures, like one of those crazy Chinese super sonic trains that travel at lightning speeds. I imagine the commuters that sit within them who might dare to look out, only seeing a blur of scenery fly by at any given moment: flashes of color with no discernible lines separating objects one from another.
Such is my past it seems. A blur of memories and decisions. Ones made without much thought to slow the train down to decide which track might be best to travel upon and certainly not like the trains of old chugging along slowly enough to get one’s bearings.
Husbands came and went. Jobs and more moves, enough to make one dizzy. Always this underlying sense of discontent, that just around the next bend might lie the answer to joy or inner peace.
My journey has been up and down following a path to the highest mountaintops and then into the lowest valleys of despair as I rode this churning rail car that never slowed down.
And now, as I’m finally coming closer to the final stages of my journey, and wisdom has come in bits and pieces…I finally see that I am really the conductor after all. I’m not sure if those new fangled trains have a caboose, but they must be steered somehow, by someone none-the-less. So the time has come to put the brakes on and slow life down.
I’ve learned surprising and valuable things about myself; things I inherently knew, but maybe were just confirmed. A personality test confirmed that I am in the 1% (INFJ) of the population. The literature describing this personality type was so affirming of many things I knew about myself but could never put my figure on. (If only I could send it to all my ex’s!).
I’m learning that being a racing freight train is not healthy or good, and I ended up making poor decisions my whole life because of it. But I also understand better now why I did it. And I forgive myself.
The most important thing is to figure out how to live the next years better. How to stand at a cross-road and make the right choice? How to decide when it’s right to leave something or someone? When it’s right to start something new? And simply not to be rash when doing anything.
While it’s true I will never be your typical person, I still have a lot more growing to do and even a longer road to joy. Someday that old train will pull into some station and I will simply step off, walk towards the horizon and never look back.
Not too many of us get to travel back in time. All the quotes say: live for today, forget about the past, don’t think about the future. Blah blah. But there can be something said about revisiting the past. About taking a peek down memory lane or even a good long walk, or better yet staring it right in the face.
This is exactly what I did the other night when I met with my ex-husband (well one of them) at a local restaurant. He was in town (living in a different state) visiting a son in college. Now, I have to add, this isn’t so odd because his sister and I are still very close after 30 years or so. She came to live with us as a child, along with her brother. So there is still this partial connection to him, and we do occasionally communicate. But I have not seen him in many, many years.
We both had remarried. I have been divorced again, and his wife sadly died of cancer. There were many years of no communication between us while we were both otherwise engaged in our other lives. But for me, at least, he remained somewhere on my radar screen I suppose.
One day a few years ago, as I was putting away Christmas decorations, I found a letter he wrote as we were in the process of divorcing. It was very old–probably close to 25 years. It was on New Year’s Day that I found it. His number was easy to google, so I called it and left a message. I didn’t hear back…right away. But eventually did, and this was what officially started our conversations.
They have been sporadic over the years, but his sister is our bridge, so I keep informed.
So recently, when he suggested meeting, I was fairly stunned. I never expected it, but welcomed it. As part of my whole self exploration/healing path, it seemed like another piece in the puzzle.
Of course it was fairly awkward for us both, and we looked A LOT older! But as the course of the evening wore on, it felt pretty comfortable. Funny how easy it is to lapse back into patterns, or at least notice them. The discussions we had were interesting, cleansing, weird and normal all at the same time. It was an odd little dance.
It’s like a mirror to see how much I’ve changed, who I am now, who I was then and to say I’m sorry for the dumb things I did (there were plenty of those). It was also good to hear him articulate his mistakes (whoa!). How often are we blessed with that gift? Yes, it truly was a very empowering evening.
I’m not sure where it takes us from here. Thanksgiving is coming up and we are all slated to be together again. It seems it’ll all be fine. That feels pretty good to me. It’s another rung on that ladder of life where you know you are taking the right step. That blast from the past sets me clearly in today and helps me to feel that while I am surely much older, I’ve gained some wisdom along the way.
Today driving to my early morning swim, because it was about 3 degrees out, I passed through a section of road and caught a strong smell of wood stove. In a flash it was as though someone had switched a movie on in my mind playing a past scene from my life. The smell immediately elicited a moment in time, back 40 or so years ago in my life. A small cabin where I would spend time with a man who would become my first husband.
It had no electricity and was heated only by a small wood stove. He always smelled of that wood, maybe because the space was so confined and rustic. He perceived himself a mountain man of sorts, even though we were only in northwest Connecticut. But that smell will ever be etched in my mind linked with him and those times of my youth.
And so are many smells that flash memories like a camera taking a picture before my eyes. I’ve read that this is part of our instinctual nature: to link our olfactory senses with memory. Maybe it saved us from predators, or helped us recall food sources or lead us to water.
Sometimes the things we smell remind us of wonderful memories, like the perfume of someone long gone. On the other hand our stomach can turn as we’re reminded of something unpleasant. For some reason the smell of certain cooking bread dough brings back the time when I had terrible morning sickness when I was pregnant!
Either way, it’s a fascinating trigger we have deep in our brain. Today when this memory flashed, it was so unexpected! It just popped into my head as I took a deep breath of that woody, smokey smell. And suddenly I was 19 again!
If we can just be open to our senses, all of them (maybe even our sixth sense ), then we can act as our ancestors. Act with more intuition and less technology. Follow our hearts more and money less. Think with our souls and not our brains. Let nature, instinct, senses, feeling and quiet understanding guide us through our daily lives. We all might just be surprised and be transported back in time reliving memories long gone.