I took a plane ride last week to come out to the Pacific Northwest to see my sons in their house in Oregon.
My travels took me from Toronto to Calgary, which reminded me longingly of Denver, then briefly to Seattle, then on into Portland.
I try and go the most economical way, so that in the future, I may venture out their way more often. This usually does not take me on the most direct route, but I find that there are sprigs of happiness, and people to meet along this uncommon path.
I met a delightful lady in Galgary who was from Camlooops, British Columbia. She was a librarian, and enroute to Nashville. We had a great chat. Her name was Kristen.
It fills me with such joy to see my sons in their new place. I’ve been trying to conjure up the appropriate words to express what my heart is feeling, but really, it’s bursting open, and being put back together all at the same time.
They are living with their two cousins, Dallas and Phillip, and with Natalie, who is my son, Logan’s girlfriend. She was brave enough to be willing to join Logan, in his dream of moving out here from Colorado, to Iive with his brother, in their new home.
There is a sense of family, and community here.
This home was not easy to get to. There were obstacles. A sense of home and belonging is so crucial for all of us, and when we don’t have that… we feel scattered and lost.
I have certainly felt very scattered these last few years. As you try to reassemble your life, after ginormous changes, it is confounding. Everything that you know seems upside down, and try as you might, normal is an elusive thin wafer, that you cannot grasp. Every time you feel like it is close, it floats away like a feather upon the wind.
Change is difficult. I wonder if I would ever accept it, unless it had not been thrust upon me through death, and divorce.
I have to accept what is, even though my brain desperately wants to argue, and keep me in a dream state, and living only on my memories.
The painful thing with living in the before, is that it is not the present, and if I choose to stay there, I will miss the today of it all.
Its a conundrum to be sure.
Memories do matter, but letting them dictate my present and my future, is just not helpful.
I am trying to “remember” that.. Ha..there I go again.. livin in the past.
Some things that I have ventured through, I do not want to do again. These serve to be a cautionary tale, and a note to self, to put on the “ Do not do again” list.
Could I have known how much pain going through labor to give birth to my children would cause me? The answer is “no”, I could not even wrap my head around how much that would hurt.
People say, “ when you give birth, you forget all about the pain when you see your newborn baby.” I say… “ liar liar pants on fire!”
Sure, to describe it accurately again is not easy, but I didn’t forget, nor do I want to. Pain is important.. it is crucial to our existence.
I think our memories can be cemented when linked to pain. If we just remember the good stuff, is this even reality, or is it a dream, and not even accurate, and does it discount the depths to our state… what we went through?
Memory pain warns us, and teaches us invaluable lessons. We try and run from pain, thinking that we just want to be happy, and that fulfillment only comes from a happy, carefree life, void of discomfort, or sadness. This is faulty thinking, and leads to much upheaval of the mind.
We mistakenly yearn that if we only got to the next place, and we are with that next more perfect person, then our lives would be happy, only then would we be pain free.
We tell ourselves lies.
Our human condition is about overcoming. It is about persevering and growth. It is not about staying in the before.
I have seen this happen. I have been around people who are so deeply rooted in their past, that they are like a stagnant pond, full of algae, and dead fish. They think they are content controlling their life from past experiences, but they are not. They are miserable. The fear of the unknown is so terrifying.. that they stay, branches broken, roots lacking water or nourishment… fixed.. like a cold stone gravestone…they become a monument to their former self.
It is impossible for life to remain as is, and the more we try and do this, the more unhappy a person will become.
Striding forward boldly, or evententatively, is rejuvenating, it brings fresh life… a new purpose and meaning, that was not there yesterday.
It is like the person who says that he or she doesn’t like surprises!
Whatt?? Do you not like life then? Is not every day a surprise of sorts? I can plan, and conjure up what I think will happen in my day, but can I really know conclusively what will really happen in front of me?
Every day is new, unopened, like a big present.
There are limitless possibilities, and discoveries. Who wants a gift wrapped in clear cellophane? Isn’t the joy of the not knowing, the thing that makes us catch our breath with wonder, expectation, and trepidation?
When I receive a gift from somebody that loves me, the thing that is the most dear to me, is when they get you the thing, that you didn’t even know you were missing.
I remember when Zach bought me a sketchbook, paints, and pencil crayons.. I almost broke into tears. A few Christmases ago, he bought me a laptop that was white, so that it would encourage me to continue writing.
Logan sent me flowers one Mother’s Day with a poem that said,
”You are the air in my lungs, the fields where I run, the anywhere that I’m floating.”
Are you kidding me?… Priceless..
They know you.. they get you.. they are your people, and to be known, and loved just for being you is the incredible gift of the present..
This is crucial to our existence.. this is happiness,this is joy.
The kids have set up their house the way they like it. They have our big brown leather sectional in their living room. It’s set up like a giant movie theatre, with a projection camera, and a 200 inch fabric movie screen.
Logan purchased this screen the other day, and it had many creases, so he ironed it on the wall.. I remarked that it was probably the only ironing he would ever do.
They are figuring it out. It’s fascinating the way that all five of them can come together, and pay the mortgage, and the utilities, and give each other enough personal space to thrive, while respecting, and caring for each others’ needs.
As their Mamma, I am super content, to see them living and and working things out.
I know this house has brought healing to them. It has to me too.
The unexpected can being such satisfaction to your day.
There is, very interestingly, a neighbor who has decided she will make it very difficult to “ love thy neighbor!”
Logan has named her “ Debbie Bitchington.” She has yelled at the kids, glared, fumed, and generally been “ mad as a hornet,” consistently. I caught eyes the other day at her as I stepped onto the front porch. She was washing her car, and just stared me down. Normally.. I would wave, and say hi.. but I froze…I was scared!
How pathetic am I? I went back into the house, and hid just like a scared mouse…
The kids don’t want to put patio furniture on their front porch, because they don’t want to have to deal with her. Yes.. she has already called the police on them, and yelled over one day asking Zach if it was “ Heroin Thursday?”
Zach cracked me right up, when he gave me a list of responses that he wanted to say.
” Is that a thing?”
” Clearly… she does not know anything about heroin, because I wouldn’t be just doing it on a Thursday?”
” Why Thursday?”
It has caused all of us to wonder why on earth this woman is so mad.. and unhappy?
They found out that this woman has a reputation with the surrounding neighborhood for being this way consistently to all people.
I find this exhausting.. How much good energy is taken up being miserable… such a waste…
What happened to her in the past that keeps her locked in this state of pain? Just wow! Talk about a teachable moment for me, and for all of these young people.
I’m working on how to approach her. I thought I could potentially yell, “ Jesus loves you!” From behind the fence, then dart back in the house before she threw a toaster at my head… but then I decided on prayer..
This prayer thing should not be my last “ go to,” but that’s what I’m doing now….
I still have almost a week left.. so still time left to Love my neighbor!