Thursday, September 30, 2010

I bought a basil plant in Rugby, TN this spring and brought some inside.  I stuck it in a glass jar to use as needed in cooking, and it rooted without me asking it to or anything.  It doesn't flower, therefore it's always usable.  Who thinks it will remain alive for me all winter in my kitchen?
Tomorrow is October and I still have zinnias (and tomatoes growing madly) in my yard.
Hagrid, my very cute and precocious puppy. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

So, what's with the elderly lady who stopped Pooh Bear and I on my way out of a restaurant yesterday to ask about my GRANDDAUGHTER?  Really?  "Nope, not my granddaughter," I announced looking over my shoulder.

"A niece?", she called a bit louder.

"Unh-uh," I stopped.

"Little friend?" she ventured.

I faced the inquiring person.  "My daughter.  She's my daughter."  You can stop guessing now.  I'm insulted enough.  She looks like a mini-me, and besides, do I really look that old?  No. 

Her husband chided her while catching my eye, "That was mean. She's obviously not happy you called  her a grandma."

You got that right, old man.  I mean, I could be a grandma technically.  I'm sure there are plenty my age, right?

Pooh Bear explained to me as we exited, "When we get home you can dye your roots, Mom." 

So, it was a grooming issue after all. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

There is something so magical when a perfect stranger meets ones son and after an entire minute of talking declares something I'd already spoken.  Last night I took Peace to see Amadeus at the Clarence Brown.  A little opera, a lot of terrific acting, amazing dialogue, and a beautiful mix of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra made up a fabulous evening to share with my son.

We were seated beside a woman we did not know.  She began to discuss texting and high school with my son.  She'd read about his school in the's getting rave reviews....She and Peace had lots to say about how he refuses to abbreviate and must use proper grammar while text messaging. She blurted out, "Do you like to write? Are you a writer?"  to which he answered, "Yes."  Then she looked straight at him and asked, "Would you think about becoming a journalist?"  I know Peace thought I'd secretly met her previously, bought her seat beside us at the play, and paid her to propose this question, because I've been talking to him about this very career for a year now.

Just last week, we talked to Barishynikov, a family friend, who has a degree in journalism.   Bary advised Peace to pursue something else as he sees the world of journalism has fallen mercilessly into the hands of blogger and other shady such characters.

I find it remarkable that Peace could get such a direct question from a stranger at a play in such a brief conversation.  I enjoy his writing.  Always have.  His depth astonishes me.  I admire who he is becoming.  I pray he finds his path, and it's straight to the heart of God and impacts humanity in the way he is made.

 And on a completely different note:  how is that this happened at the play as well?  Another woman let us pass by on the way to our assigned seats, and I bellowed a nice friendly and confident, "Hello, where do I know you from?"

She replied, "I work at St. Mary's."

"Nope, that's not it.....ummm.....did I sit by you at the circus in the winter while you took pictures for your grandkids?"

"Yes.  How on earth did you remember that?"

Long silence....

"I have no earthly idea, but nice to see you again.  I'm a little dumbfounded."

Thursday, September 09, 2010

A dear friend of mine explained some things to me over dinner the other evening.  She told me she drew strength from my strength over this year.  Her being such a capable, creative and beautiful person, I took this as an amazing compliment. In our conversation, she observed how she had personally struggled with being down, and was looking for a way out to something better.  She met with a counselor who jarred her into turning from seeing the sadness and moving toward gratitude instead.

I've wondered since our conversation if I had I put this principle intentionally into practice myself during my rough patch.  After consideration, I think I have. From the start of August 23, 2009, I adopted a way to make gratitude a way of living.   I realized fearful, hopeless, or blaming thoughts could get stuck me in the mud, spinning my wheels madly over something or someone I could not change.  So, I began to take the proverb of "No one can change anyone else.  One can only change oneself." to heart.  In fact, I bought myself a ring to replace my wedding band with the Ghandi quote, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Here's something of the thought life plan I implemented. If I was stuck and finally realized it, I'd identify the feeling.  Next, I'd examine it (if I had the luxury of time) and allow myself to say, "Yes, this hurts.  I'm angry or incredibly sad that I'm in this position."  I understood if I ignored the feeling, that it stayed with me- stuffed waiting like a snake in the bushes to strike at the next person who irritated an already irritable me.  Next, I'd capture the thought each time it came again, and sent it away more and more quickly.  Usually, I prayed for a "what next?" step to take instead.  For example, a thought of one of the participants in the demise of my marriage would haunt and I'd find myself trapped in "what I'd tell them if..." I'd take time to get to the bottom of the feeling, sad, mad, hurt and allow myself to feel it, "Is this what you wanted for me God?  Do these people not understand what they have wrought with their hands?  I am angry for what they have done to me personally. How could..." Eventually, I'd realize how no good fruit could come of the thought, much less the action, and I'd say, "God, what should I work on next?".    The answers were simple, "True, cull your all your stuff.  Everything you keep will be something you'll have to care for besides your children.  Things all need attention and these precious people will need all you've got."  This was a big work,  a long work, consuming....daunting at times. I goodwilled a googob of boxes, bags, and sold precious books thinking of a simple life with my children in the center.  This active process took my mind quickly from revenge toward creating my own beautiful life. 

When I've found myself down, I'll journal new things I wish to make of my life, or I'll return to previous notes I've made and work toward them.  It's a way to be active for my own good.  So, in a way, I set myself toward the positive, which I believe is related toward gratitude.

I am so very grateful for all that I am and have.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Crash Course in Compassion

So, this year has put me through a crash course in compassion.

There are many reasons haven't talked or blogged at all about my divorce.  One has been simply the embarassment of it all.  I heard many a version of "I saw that comin'" which only brought me greater pain than I was already experiencing.  I needed to hear at times, because it clued me into the depth of the issues.  Other times, I took the snide remarks concerning Buck as hurtful personal insults though I kept it all to myself.  I wanted nothing to do with bitterness which is where any amount of Buck bashing would have led.  I've found myself encouraging him in genuine ways instead, because divorce is such an ugly, harsh thing.  I've found my own encouragement in my faith, and God's grace seems to have been more than sufficient for me...sustaining and ever-present better describe His many gifts to me along the way.  And then there are the precious friends who have always been right alongside me, who never wavered in giving me much needed doses of love, respect, kindness, joy.  

But I've always had a chink in my armor-  I have a big problem with pity.  I loathe self pity. Pitiful people do not bring out the best in me, and I have to work very hard internally to be kind. I suppose I define pitiful people as adults who expect someone to take care of them and all their problems without personal action.  The last thing I'd ever like to be is pitied, and divorce is a swirling cauldron of gossip, blame and worse.  Divorced stay-at-home moms are an ultimate target of pity, "Poor True!  Are you going to have to WORK now and send all those children to the INSTITUTION of school?  Are you going to have to be apart from your children?  How will you make it financially?  Won't you be very lonely?  Can you make it without a husband?  If you are a Christian, why can't you just forgive him and stay married for your children?"  Upon hearing about my news, some well intentioned women felt compelled to explain to me how divorce could never happen to them.  I suppose the women weren't thinking how this shifts blame squarely upon me, as if I'd should been a better wife like them.  I did and still do lots of listening, little talking in these circumstances.  I'd already known for nine years there was no such thing as a fireproof marriage for me.

And I did some serious soul searching, as one might suppose.  I had to find a way out from all that pity to the surface where I could breathe.  From the start, I kept much to myself to stop all the chatter and suggestion for my life. Only with three friends and Jesus could and would I explore the depths of the "why me? and how?".   It has truly been enough to show me a clear path to my very own beautiful life.  No time or room for self pity.

In my examination of pity, I stumbled upon compassion.  I wondered why compassion seemed to work for me.  It certainly did not not leave the same bitter taste in my mouth.  Was it the element of sympathy or empathy at play which makes compassion something I'll allow for myself?  One day I posed the question to God who was faithful to answer.  The root of pity is paternalistic..."I'm in a better place than you that I'll never have to visit, and I feel sorry for you".  The root of compassion is community plus passion....:"let me walk beside you in community and have the same passion for your pain".  In pity, I am the lesser.  In compassion, I am an equal.  I felt tons lighter with this revelation. I've known and still know the comfort of dear friends, especially my friendship with Jesus, walking beside me in my difficult circumstance, acknowledging the injustice done to me, encouraging me toward strength, not dehumanizing Buck or minimizing my pain to reassure themselves.  What a gift.  I strive toward this gift for others instead.  May it be the work of us all.