A New Season of Life

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Life has changed in unanticipated ways these past two years.  Apparently, I don’t do well with change.  Wait…I take that back.  I welcome change, if that change is for the best.  Bring on something good.  Bring on something challenging even, and as long as there is a positive goal at the end of hard work, I’m all for it.  I am not stuck in my ways.  I am not afraid of new things or new experiences.  Unfortunately, though, the past two years have been full of changes that have brought loss and pain.  The past two years have been, without a doubt, the worst years of my life.

As Thanksgiving approached, I felt myself become happily excited by the thought of having all of the kids home and under one roof for the first time in months.  Something strange happened, though.  Each time I happily anticipated the days of togetherness, I found myself undermining my happiness.  I began to mentally “warn” myself to not expect too much. When I began to picture Hallmark moments, my mind quickly turned those moments into a Lifetime drama.  I pictured conflict and moments full of tension.  For the first time in my life, I was afraid of having my family gathered together all in one place.  I had come to expect loss, pain, failure, and dashed hopes.

To top it all off, and add to my endless stress, I was hosting the Thanksgiving feast for the first time in probably a decade.  We were expecting over 20 people for dinner, and somehow in the midst of preparing the food, I had to make arrangements for someone to pick up my mother and bring her to our home.  Between cooking, cleaning, and desperately wanting to redecorate the entire house, I worried that something was going to go terrible wrong and ruin the boys’ visit.  I wanted so much to have this be an enjoyable, special time for them.

I had taken several days of vacation so that I could be as relaxed as possible in getting everything ready for the boys’ homecoming and Thanksgiving dinner.  For the first time in years, I spent time alone in my own house.  I puttered around, organized, and cleaned.  It was a lovely feeling to get to know my own home again one on one.  While I enjoyed my quiet time at home, I also realized once again how lucky I am to have a job that I love so much.  I missed the hustle and bustle of the office.  I missed the purpose I feel in my workday.

The boys both had midterm exams early on Thanksgiving week.  They would both be taking the train home, but would not be coming in at the same time.  Andrew’s train was coming in late on Wednesday afternoon.  Luke was disappointed that he had a late afternoon exam.  He wouldn’t be arriving until 10:00 p.m.  That was OK, because his girlfriend was travelling home, too, and her parents were going to pick them both up at the station.

On Tuesday evening, the girls were in bed, and T and I had finally settled down in the living room to relax for a few moments before going to bed.  We both perked up when a car pulled into the driveway.  We looked out the front window, but didn’t know who it was.  T walked to the back door to welcome our guest, but no one came.  We rushed back to the front window.  Who was it?  By now, the girls had come downstairs.  All four of us stood looking out the window like a bunch of hillbillies!  We saw people milling about the car.  It was two men.  Finally, the suspense won over, and we opened up the front door (which no one ever uses) and stepped out onto the porch.  I’m not sure what we were thinking or assuming, but we just stood there….looking, not making a move toward the driveway.  T, the girls, and I just stood there looking out into the darkness.  Then, Lola bolted past all of us.  “It’s Luke!” she yelled.  Hallmark moment number one was watching her fling herself at her big brother.  We all ran out.  He ran towards us.  It was noisy, happy, and full of laughter.  Luke had surprised us.  He had come home a day early.  I called Andrew to tell him, and he said that he could hardly wait to get home.  By the next evening, Andrew was home, and my family was all gathered around the table together once again.  Happiness.  It was real.  Even after the past two years of hell, I was feeling crystal clear, pure joy.

Those days when all of the kids were back home were like none other I have experienced as a mother.  This visit was different.  We all seemed aware that these moments of family togetherness were now a rarity.  What was once a common, everyday part of our lives, was no more.  Luke lives in Milwaukee.  Andrew lives in Chicago.  They don’t just go to school in those places.  It is where they live.  They have signed leases.   They won’t be coming back next summer.  Home is now a place where they visit.  Of course, it is still their “home,” but it is no longer where their lives take place.  It’s where their memories are kept.  It’s where we gather as a family.  Although these facts were not spoken aloud, we all felt the change.  A new season, new dynamics, more changes had occurred in our family.

Thanksgiving day was wonderful.  I loved cooking, and T was a huge help.  I loved having the house full of family.  My mother was on good behavior.  The kids’ significant others joined for the day, too.  Emily’s boyfriend, who is absolutely wonderful, was also home from college.  It was his first time meeting the extended family, and as expected, they all loved him, too.

The biggest pleasure of all was the day after Thanksgiving.  While many people were hitting the Black Friday sales, we all headed out to the country.  Ever since I was a little girl, I have attended “Julmarknad” (Christmas Market) in a tiny village near my town.  I was shocked and filled with pleasure when boys both asked if we would still be going this year.  We headed out the next day, Christmas music blasting.  We feasted on Swedish rye bread and bought candy sticks in the general store.  On the way home, we pulled over to the side of the narrow country road to give Emily’s boyfriend, who grew up in a city,  a chance to pet a cow.  It was a wonderful, wonderful day.  Many times that day,  I held tight to moments I knew were perfect.

I had not planned any of the kids’ time beyond Thanksgiving dinner.  I didn’t expect the boys to hang out at home during their visit.  I had expected the usual comings and goings as they visited friends or invited people over.  That was fine with me.  I knew I would be happy just to visit with them during the times in between.  That didn’t happen, though.  They didn’t run around very much with friends.  They didn’t invite their buddies over.  For the most part, they were happy and content to be at home.  It was a wonderful surprise. We sat up late and talked.  We watched movies.  We ate, and we napped.  It was truly a wonderful visit.  No, it wasn’t a Hallmark movie, but thankfully, it wasn’t a Lifetime drama, either.  It was my life, and it was wonderful.

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Oh, Happy Day!

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“It takes sadness to know what happiness is, noise to appreciate silence, and absence to value presence.”

Today I caught myself smiling.  It was a real and genuine smile, AND…it’s November.  I was amazed.  As I walked down the hall to a meeting, I was still smiling.  Someone passed me, and they smiled back a little curiously.  I don’t even know why I was smiling.  I’m not sure if I even had a reason.  If I had to pick one reason, I would say that I was smiling from relief.  Another BAD November anniversary has passed, and it was easy to see how much better my life is right at this moment than it was last year at this time.

For all of us, life has a way of going in a direction of its own choosing.  Who among us is exactly where they thought they would be or doing exactly what they had planned?  I would venture a guess that there are relatively few of us lucky enough to have life cooperate to such an extent.

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”  

     ~ John Lennon

As for me, I am waking up from a shell-shocked two years of my life.  Escaping from the hell of depression is a pretty f-ing happy feeling.  That is why I am smiling.  YES!  I know that there will be more sad times.  Depression has a way of wrestling its way back into your life, but TODAY, not today.  So I am happy.

I feel a tinge of fear along with this happiness.  I am excited to have all of the kids home and under one roof next week for the first time in months.  I’m so excited, and so unused to feeling good, that it scares me.  I don’t want to jinx this feeling.

I spoke to both boys this week about their travel plans.  They both seem excited to be coming home, too.  Each of them asked me about a traditional day-trip we take each year on the day after Thanksgiving.  “Are we still going to go?”  I was taken aback.  I didn’t think either of them would want to go this year. They have such a limited amount of time for this visit.  I assumed that they would spend Friday catching up with their friends.  I felt humbled and honored that they were both saving that day to be together with their crazy, old mom.

Andrew called last night around 10 p.m.  He was absolutely beside himself with enthusiasm and excitement.  He had just finished his first film shoot where he was head sound guy.  He’s involved in making a short ( 10 minute) film on location in Chicago.  I’m not sure if I have ever heard such excitement, hope, and joy in his voice.  I have never felt such happiness in another person’s joy.  I’m praying, keeping my fingers crossed, and sending positive energy that he stays on this path of finding the happiness in his life.

And now the one confession that I have to make.  Oh, I wish I would learn to mind my own business, and T is about fit to be tied with me.  I sent Katy (Andrew’s beloved ex-girlfriend) an email.  All I said was “Hi, Katy.  I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking about you and hope things are going well.”

That one email turned into a series of messages.  (What did I think would happen???)  I caught her up on my family, and she told me what was going on with her sister and parents.  Her life hasn’t been easy this past year.  Her sister has been sick with a blood disease.  Her father (a mortgage broker) fell on hard times due to the downturn in the economy.  I think I knew these things from the final months when Andrew and Katy were still together.

What I did not know was that Katy spent all of her remaining college money on her sister’s medical treatments.  She is now in her final year of school and has enlisted in the Army.  They offered a full scholarship for her remaining education, and she will be going into the service as an engineer.  Good for her.  What a good sister and daughter!  And now the problem…  When Katy was in basic training last summer, a congenital heart condition was discovered.  (Does everyone I know have one?)  Katy will be having heart surgery in December.

The emails between Katy and I were actually quite brief.  In no way did we discuss Andrew and Katy’s relationship.  I have no idea if there is anyone special in her personal life.  I have no idea if she told me about the surgery assuming that I would tell Andrew.  I have no idea what to do!  T says that I need to say, “Good luck to you and happy holidays.”  In other words, he thinks I need to back off and stay out of it.  I’m not sure.  Like usual, my heart says one thing, and my head says something completely different.

I haven’t said a word to Andrew.  I haven’t even mentioned Katy’s name to him.  I will take T’s advice and stay out of it.  I’m certainly not a matchmaker, and I’m too jaded to believe in the fate of true love.  If Katy wants him to know, she will tell him herself.  I will back off and wish her well.  In my heart, though, I will say a prayer for her, and for them, and for true love.

 

Mixed Emotions

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I haven’t written in this blog for about a week.  I’ve been writing, but just not here.  As summer ends and cooler weather settles in, I find myself recalling many moments from my past.  I have been concentrating on remembering and gauging my progress from season to season.  I suppose you could call it a “self-inventory.”  Am I better off this year than I was last year?  Am I happier?  What lies ahead?  What do I keep?  What do I throw away?  What do I change?  What are my goals?  What am I striving to achieve?  Where do I want to be in my life next year at this time?

These past two years have not been happy.  Yet in the midst of all of the sadness, moments of joy continue to shine brightly enough to make their way through the murk and lighten my life.  Life has a way of doing that.  There is so much beauty and joy to be had in this life and in this world.  It’s contagious.  It’s almost impossible to ignore.

I’m sure I’m not the only one, but it seems that way too often I experience mixed emotions.  Some things are really good in my life, while other things really kind of suck.  There doesn’t ever seem to be a happy medium.  Maybe it’s because I am in the middle of so many other lives.  I have four kids who rely on me.  I am responsible for my mother.  Then there is work.  I manage volunteers.  I have to deal with committees and a board.  I am the person responsible for getting the volunteers excited, thanking them, guiding them in the right direction.  I feel like so much of my time is spent being ON.  Performing.  After certain committee meetings, it takes me literally hours to unwind.  That was the case last night.  I had a board meeting, and it had gone wonderfully well.  I was dead-on.  I was well-prepared, and the initiatives I introduced were well-received.  My adrenaline was flowing.  It was great, but I was revved up for hours even after I went home.  I couldn’t stop.  I burned off my excess energy by cleaning like a madwoman.  I vacuumed three flights of stairs.  I made dinner.  I ironed.  Yet, I was still full of energy.  I told T that it felt like I had testosterone flowing through my veins, and he better watch out or I would kick his ass.  Of course, I am exhausted today.

Obviously, I love my job.  It’s been one of the greatest surprises and greatest joys of my life.  I certainly didn’t set out to do what I do.  A decade ago, I didn’t even know such things existed.  If I had heard myself speaking as I do now on a daily basis, it would have seemed like a foreign language created from acronyms.  While I love what I do, I seem to be lacking balance.  One look at my calendar, and it’s obvious that there will be no let up in my schedule until the holidays.

As well-prepared as I was for the meeting yesterday, I was not prepared for receiving a phone call as I was walking down the hall, arms full and coffee in hand, to the meeting room.  It was a number that I didn’t recognize, so I answered the call.  “Pam, this is the Kidney Center.  Your mom is fine, but we need you to pick up a kit for a test we would like to perform on your mother’s stools.”  (Yuck!)  It was 4:00 p.m.  I asked when they needed me to pick this test kit up.  “Now.”  I told them that I was just about to walk into a meeting and asked if I could call back around 5:30.  “We won’t be here then.  We close at 5:00.”  My gosh!  Pretty decent of them to call me at work and expect me to drive over there, at least a 20 minute drive, within the next hour.  I asked them if this was an emergency or could it wait until the morning.  Yes, it could wait.

Today I called the Kidney Center while I was driving to work.  Their answering machine informed me that their hours were 9:00-2:30 today.  Just great.  I was tied up in meetings until 4:00.  I had hoped to leave at that time and take care of whatever it was that I needed to do.  I still really had no idea other than that they wanted to test my mother’s stools.  Truthfully, I feel that it is more a matter of racking up as many charges as possible on their well-insured patient’s account.  I called and left a message, but my call was never returned.  It is these little out of the blue things that drive me nuts.  Just when I think I have a handle on all of my responsibilities, something else always surfaces.

As I drove home from work, I looked out across the fields.  They are all bare now, and they’ll look like this for many months.  Another season has passed.  Have I used this season well?  I don’t think so.  I seem too often to be stuck in a place of sadness and loss.  As much as I try to recognize the beauty and joy around me, I am pulled back into remembering.

When I walked into the house, Emily was waiting for me in the kitchen.  She had been working on a Senior Memory Book writing assignment for school, and she wanted me to proofread what she had written.  She was on her way out the door, but wanted me make sure to talk to me before she left.  Ugh….  I was tired, and I had just gotten home.  I had to make dinner, do laundry, help Lola with her homework, now this.  I told Em that I would be happy to help her out, and she was gone.

Here is a portion of what she wrote.  The subject was “What person has had the most significant influence in your life?”

My mom is my best friend. I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for her guidance along the way.  She holds me up, and I hold her up.  Thinking about my life without her isn’t even feasible to me.  If I have a problem that I need help dealing with, she’s there no matter what.  Even though it seems like she has a million things on her plate at one time, she would drop it all to help me.  She helps me deal with my mistakes, whether it’s by telling me that she once made the same mistake, or just sitting there talking it out with me.  When she is going through a hard time and is in pain, I feel it along side her.  She and I are exactly alike in just about every way that I can think of.  She looks like me, talks like me, walks like me, thinks like me, and makes the same mistakes as me.  We even have the same favorite foods.  I can open my mouth and say one word, and I’ll have my mom rolling on the floor laughing.  Sometimes we get into fights that last a while, but we get over it and finally end up laughing.  I love my mom more than anyone on the planet, and I will never let our relationship fail.

I was honored.  I was happy, yet sad, all at the same time.  She does know me.  She knows how she has propped me up these past years.  Yes, she has been my best friend.  She has held my hand, laughed with me, and understood those moments when all I have needed was to have her quietly by my side.  I am so proud of the loyal, compassionate young woman she has become.  I am so very thankful that she feels that I have been there for her and that I will always be there for her.  Even while I am proud of her, I am ashamed that she has not had a better, happier, more perfect mother.

That is life, though, isn’t it?   While we strive or wish for a “perfect,” happy existence, that isn’t the real world.  Life is full of challenges and disappointments.  As hard as we try, sometimes things just don’t go our way.  I am sad that my sweet daughter has had to learn those lessons already at her tender age.  Sad, yes, but proud that she has continued to love through the pain of loss and  mistakes and has learned that laughter often follows tears.

 

 

In The Sky Around Me

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Something good happened today.  It was something REALLY good….but only to me.  There wasn’t anyone else on this earth who would care or understand how much this good thing meant to me.  It was a work-related victory.  Years of hard work, struggle, stress, wishing, hoping, jumping through hoops, and today the powers that be granted my wish.  I received the official phone call this morning.  I was still at home.  After a long workday yesterday, I was enjoying a relaxing morning at home.  I was getting ready to head to the office when the call came in on my cell phone.  I was standing in my bedroom, and I could see myself in the dresser mirror as I took the call.  I looked so damn happy!  Oh, I was.  Even though it was work-related, to me, it was very personal.  My job isn’t just my job.  It is a passion.  This program is my baby.  It’s in my heart.  I have worked for this for a long time.  There were times when I didn’t think it would happen, but today….it did!

When I finished up my phone call, I stood there for a moment.  Who could I tell? Who would share the joy and satisfaction that I was feeling.  I called the office.  “Oh, so what does that mean?”  OK, obviously not a big deal to them.  I called my boss, “Well, congratulations….and hey, by the way….” and on to another subject.  I called T.  “That’s great, hun.”   Of course, he cared, but he was busy at work.  As happy as this news had made me, I was beginning to feel dejected.  Is happiness still happiness if  no one is cares about it?  Is it happiness if there is no one there to share the joy?

I stood there alone in my happiness, and felt loss begin the creep in.  I wanted to tell my dad.  I have no sister, no brother.  My mom would have no clue what I was talking about.  My friends?  Oh, the friendships are still there, but I have sequestered myself.  I have been living cloistered within my depression, pain, and loss for so long, too long.  No, they haven’t given up on me.  They are good, caring people, but they would be shocked to receive a call from me out of the blue telling them about my job.  Well, that would only add fuel to the “Pam Has Gone Crazy” fire.

Thank you (and happy birthday!) to my dear blogging friend, Seasweetie, who responded immediately to my text.  “Please call me when you have a moment to listen to me ramble.”  She listened, and she cared.  A million blessings to her for indulging me.

Sharing moments, both good and bad, has become more significant to me now.   Throughout my life, I have taken it for granted that someone would always be there when I reached out.  Most times, I didn’t even have to reach.  I trusted that part of my life.  Sure,  many tragic things have happened over the years, but I had a support system.   My Dad.  There wasn’t a day that went by when he didn’t call me with a smile in his voice.  He is who carried me through the rough patches in my life.  I didn’t even realize it at the time, but it wasn’t my strength that got me through the bad times. It was the love and support of those around me.   My support system has malfunctioned.  It is broken.  Some of the parts are now missing.  I feel like I am stumbling around blindly through my life sometimes.  I am beginning to value the moments in my life when people are good and kind, and I try to pass those moments on to others.

Once again, as I drove to the office, I was touched by the beauty of the nature around me.  I am blessed to enjoy a beautiful, peaceful drive each morning and afternoon.  I opened the sunroof, and let the heat pour down on me.  I thought about the word love as I drove.  What does it mean?  What does the word love mean?  Is there a beginning, middle, and end to love?  I thought of my dad.  I don’t feel that he is really gone.  Yes, I know that he is gone from this earth, but I feel his presence around me.  I feel his love.  It is his love for me and mine for him that keep him alive.  Is that what love is?  Is love that unnamed thing that reaches beyond the human experience?

I looked up the dictionary definition of love.  I had planned on posting it here, but found it too lacking and unsatisfying.  Anyone who is interested in Merriam-Webster’s version of love can do a Google search on their own.  Love is a word that is bandied around too much in my opinion.  It’s a word that is too often used as a means to please people in the moment.  “Oh, I love you.”  or “Oh, I love the beautiful scarf you’re wearing.”  Yes, someone may delight you, amuse you, even turn you on, but that is not love.  A scarf may be beautiful, or warm, or expensive, but can you really love an inanimate object?  Gosh, I hope not!

Love is a verb.  Love is an “action word.”  Love is a very weighty action word that carries with it a sense of honor, respect, and responsibility.  My dad loved me through action.  Yes, through words, too, but mostly through action.  I was his daughter and he loved me.   Showing his love to me through his actions was never a burden to him.  It was a first thought, not a second or third.  My happiness was his happiness.  My sorrow was a sorrow that we shared.

As these thoughts of love, life, my dad, sorrow, joy, and pain all ran through my mind this morning, I thought of this phrase:  “It is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”  No.  I don’t believe that.  Real love is not something that is ever possible to lose.  Real and true love once given, cannot be lost.  Love is like the sky.  It goes on endlessly.

 

Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.

Emily Dickinson

Ugliness

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My hearts is tender.  It is battered and bruised today.  Well, my heart has been battered and bruised for quite a while.  It’s a good heart.  It wants to be happy and filled with joy.  In fact, my poor little heart jumps at the chance to believe in happiness.  My heart leaps when it thinks good things are about to happen.  It wants to believe the best in other people.  It wants to trust.  It wants to believe in the innate kindness and goodness in the other hearts it encounters in this life.

No matter how much the rest of me experiences, my heart remains so very innocent and vulnerable.  My heart is in charge here.  My heart guides me and reacts to my experiences in life.  Sometimes that is wonderful.  As I said, my heart it sweet.  My heart is what enables me to see the wonder of the world.  My heart is what helps me see the beauty of nature.  Where my brain sees a dog, my heart sees a friend.  My brain sees a shedding cat, but my heart reminds me of the times that shedding furball roams around the house crying out “Ma!  Ma!” until he finds me.  My brain sees the filthy homeless man who wanders around near my office each day on his bike packed with his earthly belongings, but my heart wonders at his story.  My heart is what makes me go out of my way to say hello to him each day.  My heart is happy when my hello brings a smile to this mentally ill man’s face.  My heart does a good job of helping me see the wonderous, miraculous, good in the world  Even at this very moment, my brain is smelling brownies fresh from the oven, but my heart is making me love T for knowing that my day was rough and chocolate would help.

That’s one reason I love my job so much.  I can use my brain to make a difference, however small, in the world.  That makes my heart happy.  It’s frustrating though sometimes.  Sometimes making a difference means that the bad guy gets riled up.   The fight against injustice isn’t easy.  Think about it.  If injustice exists, then that means that someone, or many, are having a good old time getting away with unjust behavior.  Who wouldn’t be happy to be the guy on top?  Who wouldn’t be happy to be able to get away with whatever they wanted and have the folks around them turn a blind eye?  Yeah, that  kind of person who is going along just fine with their life of unethical behavior isn’t very happy when Pollyanna comes waltzing in and saying “Hey!  That’s not fair!  Yes, those rules DO apply to YOU.  No, you are NOT able to twist and turn those rules to suit yourself as you see fit.”  No, the bad guys don’t like that at all.  Bad guys don’t like truth and fairness..not if it mean that truth and fairness is also applied to them.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a letter that had been sent to City Hall full of criticism and complaints about me.  Oh, how that hurt my heart!  Why would someone take the time to do something so rude and cruel?  It wasn’t the words that hurt so much as it was the image in my mind of someone actually taking the time, taking time out of their life and their day, to try to hurt me ON PURPOSE.  That particular incident has escalated.  The more I thought about that letter, the greater my concern grew.  The letter contained out and out lies.  If I didn’t have the respect and support of my co-workers, if that letter had been taken seriously, it could have seriously damaged my career.  Losing my career would have an impact on me AND my family.  Why would anyone want to hurt my family?  It scared me to think of the ripple effect that such a letter could have caused in my life.

What if this guy continued to cause problems for me?  Could this crazy person cause so much trouble that I was no longer an asset?  Would I become a liability?  What if he was relentless?  What if it was easier to get rid of me than to deal with this nutcase?  OK….yeah.  I was becoming obsessed, which is really nothing new.  🙂  I spoke to my boss about my concerns.  Once again, I can’t say enough good about this man who is my boss.  We were friends before I ever took this position, and I can’t imagine anyone I would rather work with.  There is such a bond of trust between us.  Someday I will write an entire blog entry about our history together.  He is my friend, and I can’t imagine a time or a thing that could ever change that.  He and I have shared significant, life-changing years of our lives together.  When I met him, he was a man married twenty-plus years with a small child.  Now…he is a gay man in a committed relationship.  His strength in dealing with and facing major honesty and changes in his life continue to inspired and impress me.

He listened to me, and he understood my concerns.  We consulted with the legal department, which really accomplished nothing, but did calm my fears that I would be hung out to dry.  While my fears of personal career damage have been calmed, my fears of personal safety have increased.  I knew that this person had a history of run-ins and confrontations, but now that I know even more, it is unsettling.  There are three current restraining orders outstanding, countless cases of legal action and false accusations.  Last weekend, a fast food worker was attacked by this man.  Charges are pending.  The list goes on and on.  The more I learn, the more confused I am about WHY this person is able to skate so close to the edges of the law and still manage to walk free.

Today I had lunch with two victims of his harassment.  They had not known each other prior to their common problems.  The issues he has with them are unrelated.  They both carry mace.  They wanted my help.   What can be done to protect us from his “legal” abuse?  He has done nothing illegal yet, or nothing that can be proven.  Even as I write this, I am worried.  What if he reads this?  But why would he?  How could he?  I write, because this is MY blog, and I refuse to be afraid.  I will not alter my life due to this.  I don’t like bad guys.  I have plenty of reasons not to like bad guys.  I don’t like people who think they can live blamelessly as they hurt those around them.  I have reasons to dislike that, too.

Yes, I will get involved.  I will help.  Once again, I find myself among strong women.  Together, we are strong.  More than once, it was said, “It feels so good to know it’s not just me.  I feels so good to know that I am not alone in this.”  Bad guys don’t stand chance when strong women stand united.

Today I was reminded of so many other times when my heart has hurt over selfish, thoughtless, ugly meanness.  I remembered the first time I when I really knew that my heart was tender.  It was two days after my dad died.  Never before had I felt so alone in the world.  I had lost the greatest love I had ever known in my life.  I had lost my safety net.  I was raw with pain.  I was driving to work that morning.  My dad was not yet laid to rest.  The funeral was the next day, but I was driving in to my office for an hour or so.  It was bitterly cold.  Although the traffic here is never really bad, it was rush hour.  I was on the expressway at the busiest overpass.  Some cars were entering.  Some were trying to exit.  Cars jockeyed for position.  Ahead of me, a car signaled to change lanes in order to exit.  Instead of letting the car change lanes, the car in front of me purposely sped up and then slowed down simply to make sure that his fellow motorist would not be able to exit as he had intended.  As I watched it happening, I began to sob.  My heart was so hurt.  My recent losses were so fresh and painful.  My heart could take no more, and the pain overflowed.

I remember how that senseless cruelty hurt me on that day.  When I pulled into the parking lot that morning, I had laid my head against the steering wheel as the knowledge of man’s inhumanity to man washed over me.  Why?  Why do human beings have this horrible capacity of cruelty inside of them?  That day, I cried for the man who had not been able to take the exit.  Where had he been going?  What if he was going to visit a loved one in the hospital?  What if, like me, he was hurting from a great loss?  Why is it so much easier sometimes to hurt people than to be kind?  Shouldn’t the desire to allow the guy to change lanes outweigh the desire to fuck up his morning?  I don’t understand such behavior.  Thankfully, I don’t understand.  Hopefully, I never will.