Sometimes Sorrow Brings Its Own Kind Of Joy

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The first one-and-one-half years after the “Maybe Divorce” were full of sorrowful hours and weeks. Often I imagined myself like Eeyore as he experienced a “splendid” day. Sometimes it felt like I dived into a tank of oil filled with alligators, weighted down as I tried to keep my ass away from the razor-sharp feelings and anger that was making ribbons of my heart. During those times, I was never sure I could rise to the top…but I did and I have. And in doing so, I have discovered something amazing. That those days of sorrow, when I thought the world might be better off without me, that those pain-filled, soul-searching, scorched earth days taught me the most because they allowed me to find joy again in the little things. Things that went unnoticed prior to the “Maybe Divorce.”

My son’s laugh now brings joy to my heart. It is one that is unrestrained with smacks, giggles, and a love of slap-stick humor that rises up from the bottom-of-his-toes. His laughter booms around the house bouncing off the walls and climbing the stairs drifting like a melody to my ears. When I hear that joyous laughter of his, I automatically smile because my heart pings like an arrow shot straight to the center of it full of all the goodness that a hearty laugh makes you feel.

Andre’s sense of humor brings me lots of joy. While he struggles with social skills, because of his autism, one thing he holds is a wicked sense of the absurd. While there are times he uses his wickedness to tear me down, often I find that in the heat of the moment his sense of humor defuses my fuse and I begin laughing so hard that tears come to my eyes. Don Rickles would have loved this kid.

The youngest brings me joy just by being around here. Her fun breezy nature makes the day feel like there are just a few more rays of sun lifting me up and holding me above the chaos. Her natural joy in contagious and it makes me see things in life to be joyous about like painted toenails with rhinestones, fresh baked cookies and a game of Farkle.

The grandkids sense of discovery brings me a sense of renewal and joy. Each of them reminds me that time is precious and that when I see things through their eyes I am young again and can find joy in simple things like caterpillars, the color purple or watching streams of water flow out of the can as we are watering my garden. They make it easy to find those simple streams of joy and keep them nearby as they slowly drip down my arm and make a puddle near my feet.

West makes joy enter my life just by calling. As a busy executive he doesn’t have much time for his family…not complaining…it is just a fact. To hear his voice reminds me of that little boy who would grab me by the neck and pull my head to his whispering, “Mommy, I love you.” A surge of joy zips down my vertebrae like the thrill one gets when riding a zip line when those tender thoughts of yesteryear surface just by hearing him tell me about his life.

Our two oldest daughters whom I had difficulties relating to as teenagers now talk to me on a daily basis. At one point in our lives I thought there was the possibility that their silent treatments might last for weeks at a time. Yet, these days there is a deep sense of respect and love that reminds me that when joy is out of reach, it will sweep in again like the ocean tide and wet your toes just when you least expect it.

These days my husband is bringing me a sense of joy once again. Although some days it feels like we are climbing a mountain, at this point in time I am able to trust that we are making a journey to one other with each slow and steady step. Sometimes it feels like we are on Everest and are needing to carry an oxygen bottle with us to survive but more days than not it feels like we can discard that bottle and live on the small occasional joys that we find connecting with each other again. It is a work in progress.

But by far the person bringing me the most joy these days is me.  Decreasing the negative self-talk and seeing all the wonderous and joyful things that make me, ME, has given me a sense of happiness and pleasure that I once denied myself. I feel joy in meditating and aligning my psyche with the beauty contained within my soul. I am no longer content to live life as if a river controls my destiny by pushing me through the current instead of me acting as my own oarswoman and charting my own path. Today I seek JOY and find it much easier than I once did because I look for the little things instead of the grand occasions and I am able to still find contentment on those days when it is elusive.

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I guess at this point in my life finding the small JOYS in my life are enough. And while my family helps me recognize some of those things that bring me happiness; I now know that it is my job to seek those things that make me joyful and live my life as if it is full of joy even when it sometimes is not and on those days there is always….

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What If You Could Start Over?

 

I am at my favorite place in the world. As I look out my window I see the marine layer starting to retreat back to its place on the horizon. A deer is outside nibbling on the tender shoots of wild grasses that dot the yard while the sun illuminates the tall pine trees producing a golden glow. I hear my grandkids their voices filled with excitement and wonder playing on the deck while my ¬†daughter tries in vain to keep the sound down to a dull roar, “Shhh…It’s Grandma’s birthday and all she wants for her birthday is to sleep in.” All this beauty and new life before me and I have only been awake for five minutes. Sometimes life is just perfect. I think today is one of those days.

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But what if I could start over? Wave a wand and magically start again. Be someone different, live somewhere different, and do something different. Would I do it? Yes. Most definitely.

I would laugh more. A throw-your-head-back-full-throttle-other-people-be-damned laugh with a few snorts and tears thrown in for good measure. This new person would worry less, have the patience of a saint, criticize others less and help others see all they did have instead of the few things that they didn’t. I would let others make their own mistakes instead of trying to control the outcomes that they were meant to experience for themselves. And I would have started consciously living in the present moment while stopping the negative self-talk much earlier in life. Yes, this would be the someone different that I would be.

If I could start over again I would live on an island slapping mosquitos at dusk while waving at everyone who passed by because I knew them all. Where I lived would have a strong sense of community and respect for the earth with magnificent sun rises to start your day with equally spectacular sun sets to settle your soul from the business of the day. A place that makes its own rum…lots of it.

If I could start over again I would do work that was meaningful to me. Work that provided my soul with a sense of purpose. An advocate of some sort perhaps. A researcher studying dolphins or an archeologist digging up the island’s past. Or maybe the person everyone came to talk with and share their troubles because I was seen as a wise old crone.

Yes, I would love to try this life on. See how it fits. Does is feel warm and inviting like a baby cooing on a snuggly blanket? Or does it itch because the seams are supposed to fit someone else’s ideal life?

And as I contemplate all of the “what if’s” the phone rings and my husband and children yell out “Happy Birthday!” and that “other life” drifts away like the fog outside my window and everything suddenly becomes clear. I feel joy deep joy and satisfaction. I have people who love me and I am beginning to truly love and appreciate who I am at this stage in my life. I have all that really matters to me… all things precious that feed my soul and renew my life on a daily basis. I am completely and utterly blessed.

Happy Birthday to me!

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Words

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We are walking along the cliffs. The wind is blowing. Huge waves are crashing against massive boulders in anticipation of the storm that is blowing in. B huddles deeper into his coat as the air picks up my words and delivers them to the man beside me.

“Everyday, you can choose to love or you can choose not to,” I say to B. “And so I choose to love you today and I will choose to love you forever.”

“That’s nice,” he says flashing that smile I have known and loved for so many years. The smile that I suddenly want to slap right off of his face.

THAT’S NICE?????!!!! REALLY….AFTER OVER 30 YEARS TOGETHER IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT? DON’T YOU KNOW YET THAT…

I am a woman who needs words. I write for a living for God’s sake! I love hearing double vowels, romantic words, and certain letters rolling off the tongue like the sound of an L, which can be so incredibly sexy when you are at the right place in time with the right person. I like hearing sharp bursts of words from children who have found dragons and mermaids and have to tell you all about the experience in 2.3 seconds or less so you see them before they vanish in thin air. I like words that are carefully chosen like a mother who measures cough syrup for her child in order to get the correct dose thus ensuring no harm. I like playful words like tumble and words with double meanings. I like words that are said with a laugh oozing up out of the throat, desperate words that are said while waiting for hot sex, and the words you whisper to a baby as their heads slump onto your chest their eyes fuzzy with Mr Sandman’s visit and almost nearly closed.

I LOVE WORDS!

So what is a woman to do when she is married to a man who doesn’t? Can she be happy without an “I love you too, honey” coming back at her? Can she feel understood and cherished when the words she needs to hear do not come out of his mouth? I’ve lived without them for so long why do I desire them now? Is this what a “maybe divorce” does to you? It makes you word crazy?

I realize to many this isn’t a problem at all. There are much more serious things in the world. B doesn’t beat me. He goes to work everyday. He doesn’t abuse me. He is great in bed…isn’t that enough? I mean…. REALLY…ISN’T THAT GOOD ENOUGH?

How many times I have heard my girlfriends tell me they wished they had a husband like mine….so kind and sweet….and he even does housework!

Why can’t that be enough?

I know many women whose lovers have said all the right words and meant none of them. Better to have no words than lies? Better to endure omissions rather than half-truths? I have no clue… but I do know that often B doesn’t respond with¬†reassuring words and after these past two years of hell I find I want them. I might even need them.

All I know is that without words life is dull…like living in a black and white movie. It’s like eating salad everyday for dinner and skipping the dessert. Life without meaningful words looks like a bare bulb dangling in a stark white room. Its like a warm beer when it is 103 degrees outside and feels like that pit you get in your stomach when a cop pulls you over for speeding.

I want words. I want endearments, I want to know what you are feeling. I am tired of missed opportunities or the absence of words that leave me confused and hanging. Because without the proper words it feels as if storm clouds have entered my head and the disappointment is whipping up the winds that blow through my mind and turning what could have been a gentle spring shower into a raging hurricane. So button your coat and sink even further into it because a storm is coming. And I think it is me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grateful

Today I saw this on Facebook

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It got me thinking ….

What if, when I opened my eyes at the first break of dawn, I was grateful to see the sunlight streaming in my window.

What if, when I stumbled into my bathroom all bleary-eyed, I was grateful for indoor plumbing.

What if, when I was making breakfast for my kids, I was grateful to have food to serve them

What if, during the herculean task of getting everyone out the door, I was grateful to have my kids to start my day with.

What if, when folding the mountains of laundry that accumulates around this house, I was grateful to have the luxury of having to fold more than one shirt when so many have only one shirt in tatters

What if, when I turned on the tap, I was grateful to have abundant clean water flowing from it when that basic right is denied to so many

What if, instead of worrying about what I don’t have, I was grateful for all I have been given

What if, instead of wishing B was different, I told him how much I appreciate all that he is.

What if, instead of praying for someone, I showed my gratitude for my fellow humans by buying a homeless person a meal and talking with them while they ate.

What if, when listening to a friend who is going through a rough spot, I gave them my heart and some kind words and I was grateful that what they were experiencing was not what was happening to me

What it, instead of grumbling that my husband forgot to take out the trash (again!), I was grateful for all the chores he did do around the house without me asking.

What if, when feeling sick, I felt grateful that there was medicine that would make me healthy again.

What if, instead of asking B to change, I looked at what needs to change within myself.

What if, when making dinner, I felt grateful for all the people growing my food

What if, instead of being hateful, I was grateful

So what if I were just grateful for everything?

I would be happier, more content, joyful, satisfied, delighted, cheerful, and giving

What a great day that would be!