Monday, August 25, 2008

Nurture, Nature, and Hoping for the Best

We all know that children are like gardens; each child is as different as a lilac bush and a tomato plant, but they all require certain care in order to grow to their full, unique potential. And although in most cases, we will reap what we sow, we also have to figure in those months of drought, or those seasons of locusts that threaten to destroy what we've carefully tendered for so long. In the case of teens however, the season of drought could be a dehydration episode from a week-long losing streak at beer pong; and we all know the "locusts," those friends/boyfriends/girlfriends that seem to want nothing more than to take our precious flowers and eat them alive. But somehow, we manage to get through it. Finally, it's time for the harvest; the bountiful cornucopia of knowledge, maturity, confidence, and independence.

Sunday, we dropped my daughter Kayla off at college. Well, "drop off" seems a bit minimal. It was more like we moved her and every ounce of her belongings in, and all that was missing was the chihuaha. My Elle Woods wanna-be seemed as though she was completely taking over her double-dorm room (oh, excuse's not a "dorm", it's a "student residential hall" or some nonsense like that), and I feared that Kayla's very sweet roommate and her family might think my daughter a tad high-maintenance. I personally never viewed her as such until that day. Sadly, most of what she brought were items that both her stepmother and I felt that we could not live without...I could pretty much guarantee that we could have made it up in one car instead of two if we had just stayed out of the packing end of it. But alas, there is a bridge and a toll between Kayla and the rest of us, and I guess we just wanted to make sure we could avoid paying $5.00 each way just to bring her a lint roller or some triple antibiotic. She's pretty much all set.

So here I am, wondering where on earth the last eighteen years of my life went, and reflecting on whether or not I nurtured her as well as I could have, should have. The subject is really moot. I think we all do the best we can at a job that has no formal training and doesn't even come with a manual. We wing it, and we hope for the best. And I might say that right now, I'm happy with the way Kayla blossomed. I look forward to seeing her in full bloom someday, and she has many wonderful seasons ahead of her.

Now, onto my real garden of soil, weeds, and hopeful plantings. The strawberries are coming along as expected...I did get four or five tiny, sweet fruits back in June, and I think that's appropriate for a first planting. I hear that next year, they'll be taking over my yard. The grapes did not fare so well; as a matter of fact, they were looking rather anemic this morning. I decided to feed them with some makeshift plant food: egg shells, lettuce bottoms, lemon skins. I have no idea what I'm doing, but it sort of resembled compost in its early stages. I'm hoping the vine thinks it's yummy.

But my fig tree...aahhh, this is the trophy of my yard. I don't know why I plant
ed it...something to do with my late grandfather growing figs most of his life, and no one carrying on the tradition (the same goes for the grapes...I planted them with the hopes of resurrecting his tradition of growing his own fruit and making his own wine. Why this skill was never passed down through the generations is beyond me). I was never particularly close to my grandfather--he passed away at the ripe, old age of 92 when I was a teen--but I'm really starting to appreciate how he lived his life. He grew his own food, and he consumed it. Of course, he also started each day with a supposed concoction of whiskey, raw eggs, and sugar. But hey, he was still standing on his own two feet until he died...

I digress. Back to my figs.

As I've mentioned, I wasn't sure if I'd like figs, but after reading about their nutritional value, I decided I was going to have to eat them whether they tasted
good or not (for example, figs contain the highest overall mineral content of all fruits: a quarter-cup serving provides 244 mg of potassium, 53 mg of calcium, and 1.2 mg of iron). Although the newly-planted tree only produced about 15 fruits this year, next year we should be plenty prepared to can, preserve, and just plain eat these tasty, nutritious little dumplings. I'm feeling very hopeful, and I feel like I really accomplished something this summer. Lots of things, actually.

Now, if only I could figure out the task of pruning and protecting this tree (which I have to do with items such as burlap, I hear). But that's another story f
or another day.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Fresh, New Start

Over the last few months, my appearances on Blogger have been short, not always sweet, and very sporadic, to say the least. When I started dabbling in the Wonderful World of Blogging, this was not my intention. I vowed to create and post an article at least once a week; looking back, I did briefly accomplish this. However, general interest topics were becoming more and more elusive to me, and all this writing about myself started to seem a wee bit self-centered and--dare I say it?--narcissistic (those of you who know me, know this is one of my favorite words to use to describe many people here in my neck of the woods). It was all about me, me, me...or rather, my problems, my problems, my problems.

At one point in the not-so-distant-past, I was feeling very depressed and did not want to bring my relatively upbeat blog down into the abyss of I simply chose not to write at all. I "closed up" my blog with a farewell that included expressing my hopes to rekindle some of my artistic ability and turn it into (hopefully) something that might lead me towards a real career doing what I love. That never materialized, and the people closest to me noticed. Some of their attitudes may have even bordered on pity. It was quite embarrassing.

In time, however, I realized that the only way for me to get back on track with my life was to make some drastic changes to it...some of which were not at all easy or comfortable. But the most vital alteration to my day-to-day existence was my decision to quit my job after three fairly secure, routine years. The position had become one of stress and frustration, all of which I was taking out on my family and even my friends. Something had to give, and it had to give at once.

My relationships with the people surrounding me are precious; I have taken the time to feed these relationships, care for and nurture them, and I have been rewarded with a bounty of love and trust as a result. I took the time to sow this love and trust carefully and abundantly; unfortunately, I found that I also had to take time to do some pruning. I had to weed out anyone or anything that I felt was harmful and destructive, and would cause strangulation of what I considered to be strong roots.

What I reaped has been priceless. The quantity of relationships I once had may not be there, but the quality of the ones that have remained will carry me into my old age. With my resignation, the concern over my relationships was taken care of. One down, a few more to go.

As for my art, I have something in the works that should be ready for copyright in the next two weeks. I believe in my project with my whole heart, and have taken steps to market it internationally via the world-wide web.

Two down. Are there more?

Yes, there is this one thing. I still love to write. I still love to blog. So with the advent of my return, I have decided to try to take the blog in a different sort of direction (for me, anyway). Instead of whining about family relationships, delving into world issues, and being overly-concerned with my financial future, I have decided to journal my attempt at getting back to the root (pun intended) of what I really love: nature, growth, and simplicity. I have decided, along with my husband, that the time has come to make all those "dreams" I have written about a reality. Just because I can't have my country home right this minute, doesn't mean I can't start to learn how to do everything I want to once I do live there. Although there are many things we long to acheive, one of them is trying to learn how to self-sustain. And there ain't no reason on earth I can't start practicing right here on Long Island!

This spring, I planted several Italian Essentials, as I like to call them: tomatoes, basil, parsley, oregano, grapes, and a fig tree. This is my start. This is my pre-school, or perhaps even my kinder-"garden." By the time we own that country home, we'll practically have master's degrees on everything important, like how to store vegetables and fruits for winter use, to that most crucial of subjects, Wine-Making 101 (admittedly, I doubt I can self-sustain without a nice red). Today I even started to make my own compost and joined an international home-gardening community web site.

Dang it, this time I'm determined to just do it. And I really think I will.

Many thanks to my inspiration for this post, Simply Me. Her PA garden (not to mention her pure, easy, country hospitality) makes me long to be a better person, let alone a better gardener. I want to eat and share home-grown salad every day, not just on weekend getaways!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Lesson...I Think

I killed two birds yesterday. Not one, but two.

Of course, it was an accident. I didn’t intend to render my feathered friends lifeless in one split second, but it happened.

I was driving along a side street with four of my individuals. I was in my company van, which is actually a 2008 Honda Odyssey, and not an immense 15-seater which one would usually expect me to be driving, considering the company I work for. We had just finished shopping for an elderly man, who is housebound, and were on our way to drop his groceries off to him.

As I coasted slowly down a side street, I noticed two birds entwined in what I assumed was a mating dance of some sort: flittering up and down, twirling around, and generally lacking any concern for the rest of the goings-on in the world, namely a van driving down the street.

And then it happened.

As I opened my mouth and spoke “Look at those silly birds!” they careened uncaringly down towards my wheel well. I heard a slight thump, and then took a large gasp of air.

“Oh no, I think I hit the birds!” I cried. As I peered through the rear view mirror, I saw it: a small wing sticking up from a brown lump in the middle of the street, almost as if it was waving “bye-bye.” My individuals were partially worried, but willing to keep on driving. I, however, had to turn the van around to view the horror of what I had done.

As I pulled up, I did not see two bodies, but one conglomeration of feathers and guts. Relieved that one bird possibly escaped this torturous demise, I rolled down my window to grieve over the one with less luck.

And then I saw them…legs. Not two, but four. I had killed these birds so heinously that their little bodies actually blended together as if they were one. Which quite possibly was their original intent, but I assume in a much more rewarding and satisfying way.

I’m still trying to figure out the lesson here, or the irony. I’m not having much luck, though.

Sort of like the time I decapitated a squirrel on Halloween, just as little ghouls, goblins and princesses were starting to appear in the streets in their quest for treats. I ran it over after it played “red light, green light”, going back and forth in the street, when it finally ignored the command of “red light” and decided to keep on going anyway, heading for my car on the driver’s side. I slammed on my brakes and noticed that it didn’t come out on the passenger side as I had hoped. I turned to look out my window, wondering if anyone had actually witnessed this murder firsthand. I saw two little old ladies in their lawn chairs at the house next to me, their mouths hanging open with painful looks on their faces.

“…He didn’t make it, did he?” I asked them.

They shook their heads “no.”

“…I ran him over, didn’t I?”

They nodded their heads “yes.”

I got out of my car and nearly passed out from the carnage. I’m not even sure what happened to the top of his head…all that was left was his bottom jaw and the rest of his body.

The ladies kindly gave me a garbage bag and a roll of paper towels. I picked up the poor little varmint and put him in the bag (and he was a hefty little critter, too…I’m betting he weighed at least five pounds). I know I could have left him there, but I figured it would be a really bad “trick” for the kids to see as they crossed the street from one house to the next. I cried as I threw him out in my garbage pail on the side of my house, and whispered a small “I’m sorry” to the universe.

Again…what was the lesson here?

I know they were only animals, but to take a life is ghastly even so. Yes, I am the person who will try to scoot the bee out of the house before I spray it with hair spray (hey, it works, and it’s not as poisonous as Raid). I am the person who cried uncontrollably when I saw the rat dying from the food he ate in the trap the county had placed in my yard. I have a definite fondness for all of God’s creatures, sometimes to a fault.

Perhaps these things happen to remind us of how precious life is, and how quickly it can be over. Maybe God allows his lesser creatures to be sacrificed so that we can be awakened to the relationships that are dying around us, the relationships that could end in a split second and won’t ever be healed because of our pride, our stubbornness.

I know I have a few of those relationships in my life. I’m sure we all do. I’ve been reflecting on how to mend them, how to restore them to their original beauty. But just as the critters made bad choices that hurt them, this is how it is in life as well. The birds’ lifeless little bodies will never be separated and the squirrel will never get his head back. So we have to accept it, mourn it, and bury it (…or at least throw it in the garbage). And then we move on.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

On Reflections and Good-byes

“Do we have a plan?” I turn my body around from my comfortable right-side fetus position and roll to face my husbands inquiring eyes.

Sleepily, I ask him, “What do you mean, ‘a plan’?”

“A PLAN,” he stresses. “You know, like, for our future. We spend all this time ‘dreaming’ about what we want and what we’ll have, but what do we actually do that will lead us to having it?”

He did have a point. I have spent so much time writing of my dreams and desires on this blog, but have yet to put into place any sort of plan of action to help make them a reality. In my half-awake fog, I asked him if we could talk about it in the morning. He looked concerned, his eyebrows lying arch-less, straight across his forehead showing an emotion that was not quite describable at that moment. He swung to lay on his back and stared at the ceiling. I closed my eyes and fell asleep within seconds, not giving much more thought to his query.

On Sunday mornings, I enjoy watching Joel Osteen, a “smiling” pastor who some find more inspirational than gospel-driven, but someone who makes me feel good about the future nonetheless. In my area, he is on several different television stations consecutively from 7:30 a.m. until 9 a.m., of which I usually catch the 8:30 showing on USA network. I turned the T.V. on in my usual fashion, stirring my husband enough to make him sleepily give me the remote, and lowering the volume so he can quickly go back to sleep.

This morning, however, he did not go back to sleep. As a matter of fact, he sprung up in bed and said, “Make it louder!” After Joel’s usual introduction that included a mild joke, he immediately went into his sermon…which just happened to be all about “having a plan for your future.” He described such things as identifying what are merely fantasies and what are actual God-given dreams; he urged his listeners to write down their plan of action for one year, five years, ten years, even twenty; and he gave examples of how sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to make the changes necessary to move on in life and to achieve your goals. This is the point in the message where his words started to hit home for me.

What some of you might not be aware of is that I was given a gift from God. Well, over the years, I have been given many gifts from God—my children, my husband, my friends. But what I’m talking about is the gift he gave me that was ingrained in me from the moment of my conception. I was blessed with the ability to draw and create, the gift of artistic ability and imagination. I would be remiss if I did not mention how I’ve spent years pushing this gift aside—it would even become a burden sometimes—and how I took for granted the complements and praise that I would receive for my creations.

About two years ago, I found a folder full of drawings and paint designs from a brief stint I held at a local college twenty years prior, majoring in art. I pulled out sheets of paper with characters that I had created, some that almost frightened me at their irony (the tiny island with one lone palm tree in the middle of the ocean with several cartoon sea creatures conversing around it; and the various vegetables with faces, arms, legs, and even names that I had created around the same time. For those of you who are lost right now, I’m speculating that I could have had a hand in creating “Spongebob Squarepants” and “Veggie Tales” had I believed in my own artistic ability when I was younger). I began to realize that by ignoring my gift, I was quite possibly throwing away the opportunity to have a very successful future.

And so, at this time, I have decided to make the very large sacrifice of discontinuing my blog until further notice. This decision makes me extremely sad, as I feel that it has been an outlet and a source of inspiration to me for the last year and a half. Reading all of your blogs and “blogging” with my “blogging buddies” has been a gift and something I looked forward to on an almost daily basis. I have learned so many different things from all of you, each one heartfelt and cherished. Although we’ve never met, I feel as if we’ve been friends for years. And it saddens me more than you know to have to give up this wonderful community of gifted writers and dear human beings for now.

I have decided to make the attempt to push myself a little farther, to force myself to grow. I can not sit back anymore and believe for a day when my dreams come true; I have to be pro-active and make them happen myself. I will consciously take the time I’ve spent on my computer, and turn it into something that I hope will become very productive for my family, and most of all, for myself. I know I have success up my sleeve. It’s time for me to pull it out.

So farewell—for now—my dear friends. I have come to adore each and every one of you, and I will be sure to check in with all of you every now and then. You have all inspired me, and I am lucky to know such wonderful people. God bless you.

(Please feel free to drop me a line now and then at I would love to hear from you!)

Friday, January 18, 2008


I used to think I was a woman of little patience. As a matter of fact, “God give me patience” was a daily, if not hourly, mantra of mine ever since I gave birth to my two children (and acquired two new ones from a remarriage).

As life moved on, and those stressful incidents still occurred (does any parent get through the child-rearing years unscathed?), I became frustrated that all I seemed to do was ask for patience, and all that seemed to happen was that I encountered more episodes in my life that required, well, patience.

And then my “Eureka!” moment happened. How would I know that God was giving me patience unless it was tested? What I should have been praying for was, “God, please just let me sail through life without a worry.” NOT.

Let’s fast forward to my current position as a lead activities coach, working with developmentally disabled young adults. If ever there was a job where one’s patience would be tested, this is it. Although most of my individuals are adept at performing their duties and interacting appropriately in the community, there are occasions where one of them will not handle a situation in the best manner (for instance, this week on my birthday, one of my individuals pulled my hair and slapped me because I honked the horn of our minivan to prevent someone from backing into us). But in actuality, they are not the problem. It’s the general public that I need patience with.

Today, while I was food shopping for a senior citizen with four of my individuals, I encountered impatience at its finest—and it wasn’t expressed by me. After our last item was scanned at the register, I told the young cashier that we needed five packs of cigarettes—Kent 100’s, to be exact. The young man got his manager over, and she unlocked the cigarette cabinet. She perused up and down, across and diagonal, to locate even a single pack of our desired brand—but no luck. She explained that all they had were regular Kents (since I’ve never been a smoker, I had to ask her what the difference was). I inquired as to whether or not they could be returned if he was not happy with them. She told me she would check, and she’d be right back.

As I turned around, I noticed a woman had unloaded her groceries behind me. She looked at me in a somewhat annoyed manner, and I graciously told her that I was sorry for any delay I was causing. The cashier looked at me and said, “Your total is $41.50.” I politely told him that I was waiting to see if I could purchase five packs of cigarettes, and I couldn’t pay yet. With this, the woman behind me scowled, “Can’t you just pay for what’s there, and pay for the cigarettes later?”

(I felt my heart start racing, and my blood start pumping. She didn’t really just say that, did she?)

I politely told her that it was impossible for me to do that, being that the senior citizen we were shopping for only gave us one check. She scoffed at me and said, “Well, he shouldn’t be smoking, anyway!! Why don’t you just get him another brand??”

(Okay, did she just say that, too? My blood starts pounding in my ears to the beat of my now-dashing heart.)

I finally looked her in the eye and said, “Ma’am. If I was shopping for your father…and he was all alone in a studio apartment…and he gave me a list of things that he wanted, and I was responsible to purchase them for him…wouldn’t you be happy that someone cared enough to get exactly what he wrote on his list?”

With complete disgust, she exclaimed that everything was “ridiculous”, and she didn’t have time to wait there any longer. She abruptly started throwing her items back into her cart, and then backed out without looking, crashing into another woman who was unfortunate enough to stand in Checkout Aisle 9. She turned and looked at this other woman, snarling that she shouldn’t bother waiting there, and that I was taking too much time (happily, the other woman just shrugged her shoulders and gave her a blank stare). As she gave me one last, nasty look, I looked at her and said, “Ma’am, instead of becoming all upset over being in line at the supermarket, why don’t you look at it this way? Maybe—just maybe—you were meant to wait. Did you ever stop to think that because you had to wait behind me a few extra minutes, I may have prevented you from having a car accident later in the day?”

Well, that was about all she could take.

She said something about “rude”, and stormed off into the sea of carts waiting at Checkout Aisles 8, 7, and 5.

For a moment I stood there, astonished. Here I am, explaining to her that I’m shopping for a man who is unable to do it himself. With me, I have four individuals with special needs, two of whom are very obviously handicapped with Down ’s syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. And with all of that in consideration, this woman could not even spare three minutes out of her selfish time. Let’s be real; who doesn’t wait in line at the supermarket? Isn’t it a given?

Ironically, the second she stomped off in her rage, the manager came up to me and told me to purchase the cigarettes; they would have no problem returning them as long as we had our receipt. We paid for everything with the single check the man had given us, got our receipt, and walked toward the exit.

As we strolled down the exit aisle, I couldn’t help but wonder if our friend, Ms. Uptight, was in the midst of checking out (as the woman who was behind her at Checkout Aisle 9 was almost finished doing). Gleefully, I spotted her standing behind not one, but two people at Checkout Aisle 7. And better than that, she spotted us.

Walking through the parking lot, it occurred to me: Perhaps all those years of praying for patience had finally paid off. Although I may have gotten more instant gratification from throwing a bagel at her head and telling her to jump off a bridge, I held onto my dignity (and the dignity of the individuals I was with). I was proud that I kept it together. And in the end, as un-dignified as this may sound, I came out on top (in other words, I *WON*!)…

Friday, January 11, 2008

All in a Day's Work

The waves lulled gently, softly…their easy motion becoming more powerful, louder, closer…the sound was overbearing now, as if the swell was right in front of me and ready to break over my head…

Oh, wait. It’s just my Homedics alarm clock. Although it says 6:20am, I subconsciously know that it is 6:08am in real world time, and I flail my arm around its vicinity until my hand makes contact with the snooze button. The surf will be up at least three or four more times before I actually put my feet on solid ground.

I decide to make eggs for my three high-school kids, who are good-naturedly chiding each other to move over in our tiny bathroom so each one can take turns spitting out toothpaste or plucking their eyebrows over the sink. I had stopped doing this for about a year and a half; however, I began to realize that they were running out of the house with empty stomachs more often than not, and the thought of them running out of fuel in the middle of Global History was not a notion I relished. Hence, the frying pan has come out of weekday retirement once again.


I hurriedly park my car in the lot, and look over to the passenger seat to grab my bag and my lunch. As I lift up my thermal cup, I realize the top wasn’t screwed on right and now there is a one-inch puddle of Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast Tea (with a generous dose of milk and one sugar) sitting in the round cup holder in my console. I sigh, run into work, seize a generous amount of paper towels, run back out to my car, and stuff them into the puddle. Procrastinator that I am, I decide to let the towels soak up the mess, which I will attend to later. The soaked cloths are still there as I write this fourteen hours later.

My workday is hectic, as usual. There is paperwork to be done, reports to be filed, and no office with peace and quiet that would help me to attain these goals. One of the senior citizens that we shop for calls me up early in the morning, crying: “Lisa, I think this is it. I haven’t eaten in five days, and I’ve lost six pounds. I think the Lord is taking me home, and it’s my time. I have to go to the hospital, but I’m too weak…can you please come here with some people and help me pack a bag? Sob….”

Well, I know very well that this is not Mrs. C’s time. As a matter of fact, I tend to think that Mrs. C. is just about as healthy as a horse, physically…but emotionally and mentally, she is suffering. All alone, with no children, I have grown attached to this persnickety woman in her eighties who talks of her Christianity often, but seems to become irritated with just about everyone who doesn’t comply with her wishes regarding food items, mail retrieval, and scotch tape.

I talk to my supervisor and take two of my individuals to her home to help her pack, wash up, put fruit in the refrigerator, take out the garbage, and wash and dry some dishes. Oh, and I also put in a phone call to her doctor, who—ironically—has been my doctor for half of my life. She is worried that he is too busy to call her back (and she’s probably right, although that was not the case 22 years ago). I pull some clout with the receptionist, and they call her back five minutes later. She doesn’t want to wait in his office for two hours—she’d rather wait in the hospital for four. I leave her all dressed and ready to call the ambulance, and she blesses me over and over. She hands my individuals all the singles she has in her wallet--$3.00—and tells us to wish her luck.


After the buses finally leave the hub site at 3:20 and all is quiet, I hear a buzzing noise coming from my bag. Realizing that I hadn’t turned my ringer back on since a school meeting Wednesday night, I flip open my phone to see five missed calls. My son informs me that our older dog, Freedom, has gotten sick all over the kitchen floor and he’s never seen so much crap in his entire life. He takes a picture of it with his phone and texts it to me. It’s not a pretty sight.

I race home to view what looks like serpentine land mines of poo in every square inch of my kitchen. Astonished, I stand there in disbelief that one dog, even a large one like Freedom, could possibly have bowels that copious. As I clean up the fallout of what I surmise was the result of either the morning’s pouring rain or an item of food or drink that wasn’t on the doggie menu, the phone rings. I pick it up and hear Mrs. C. on the other end: “Oh, Lisa…this is terrible, I’ve been at the hospital for hours, and I can’t get a cab home! I don’t know who else to ask…could you please come here and pick me up?”

Of course, I say “Of course…” followed by, “…Just give me a few minutes to finish something!”

I rush out of the house and race to the hospital. Mrs. C. is waiting for me, looking and sounding like someone who is definitely not…um…sick.

“How did you make out?” I ponder as I drive her home.

“Oh, Lisa…this is just my stomach acting up from that virus I had the other day. I’ll be fine, and my blood is perfect! But oh, Lord, Lisa…there was a ninety-seven year old woman next to me, and I tell you, I do NOT want to be here when I’m ninety-seven. I just don’t know why God keeps me around when I just want to go home to Him.”

The conversation then goes into her neighbors who refuse to get her mail for her or who snub her. She wants to know why she’s being tested. I think to myself…don’t we all?

I come back home and decide that I definitely need to cook something containing onions and garlic to get rid of the smell that two washings with boiling hot water and Lysol disinfectant have not removed. When that doesn’t work, I put up an apple pie candle. Eventually, I just cook some flounder. Honestly, I’d rather smell fish.


My ex swings by to pick up my son. He’s taking him to Dallas to see the Giants play the Cowboys. I can’t pay my water bill, but he can make plans to fly out of state to see one of the most talked about games in years, and multiply his expenses by two by bringing my son along with him. Sigh.


This evening, as I stood in the kitchen cleaning up some dishes, my husband snuck up behind me and hugged me while he kissed my ear. Some soft country music that he had found on his navigation ipod was playing in the background. He swayed me back and forth and I closed my eyes as he whispered, “I love you.” Time stood still, and the stresses of the day all faded into the mixed potpourri of odors that still lingered in the air. As I melted into his arms, I thought to myself before I opened my eyes…”Whether or not you are poor or wealthy…fortunate or unfortunate…right now, with your eyes closed, all that matters is how you feel in this moment…you can open your eyes and see wealth, or you can open your eyes and see poverty. But in this instant, the only thing that truly matters is how you feel in the here and now.”

Yes, my life can be stressful. It is definitely hectic, and it is sometimes really unfair. But the realization of living in the moment is becoming so tangible to me. I am really starting to understand the importance of being “present” in the present…I spend an awful lot of time dreaming of my future. But really all I have is today…this minute. And you know what? It’s not all that bad.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ringing Out the Old

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne.

Although I have sung these lyrics at the stroke of midnight every January first for most of my born days, seldom have I ever stopped to think about what they really mean. Apparently, the definition of "Auld Lang Syne" means "old long since," or "old long ago." So as I follow the theme of the song in accordance with the New Year, I find myself faced with some provoking questions: Should old relationships be forgot, and never brought to mind? Should old times be forgotten as well?

At the stroke of midnight on 1/1/08, I was confronted with the cold, hard truth...and the answer, in my case, was a resounding "yes."

For almost three years now, I have been caught in a limbo of love, compassion, anger, and hurt. A relationship that was very dear to me was ruined as a result of a lie, or rather many lies, told by someone with the power to manipulate those closest to him with the artful precision of a master puppeteer. This relationship did not die an instant death; because of the relative connection, our paths continued to cross on holidays and special occasions, therefore preventing a wake, a funeral, and a mourning period, so that I could finally move toward the final acceptance of knowing that what once was, would be no more. I wanted so desperately to heal, to have closure.

I was naive enough to believe that healing might actually come out of these forced reunions; that old feelings of silliness and sisterhood might override any current feelings of betrayal and underlying loathe. I tried to make it right, to make it "normal." Lord knows, I tried. But eventually I came to realize that it wasn't up to me, nor was it in my power, to try to control the situation. You see, the man behind the curtain was running the entire show, and continued to maneuver all the controls even after the curtain was pulled back to expose all of his deceit. As long as he had those by his side who still believed he was the great and powerful man he pretended he was, who still needed to live in their emerald castle and drive on golden streets, he could fly his balloon wherever he wanted, dropping sandbags down to squash the rest of us who continued to look up instead of down.

This year, I've decided to make a resolution, perhaps for the first time in twenty years. I resolved that, for now at least, I have to let go of the prospect of restoring this relationship to it's original condition. I have to let go of the responsibility of "making it all better." I have done all I can, and there is only one person now who can repair this broken connection. I can not allow myself to feel hope and promise, only to be shot down and critically wounded by someone who has allowed themselves to be under the influence of so many people and things. This battle has consumed me in every sense of the has affected other relationships, it has stifled my talents, and it has turned me into someone I don't recognize anymore. I can not let something so negative have so much power in my life. In other words, I have to let it go. I have to let it go for good.

-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Perhaps one day we will drink that cup of kindness together; perhaps we can do it for "auld lange syne", and completely bypass the years of emptiness and unrest. But I can not think about that day at this time. For now, it is over, and I will accept it. I will move on, and not waste one more minute of my life worrying over something that's not mine to worry about anymore . I will place it where it belongs--in God's hands--and let Him do the rest. Perhaps He's been telling me all along that this battle was never mine to fight to begin with...after all, the lines were so unfairly drawn. So I will accept human defeat, and let it lie in the fate of the supernatural. The only relationship I will work at healing right now is the one between me and my soul.