Wisdom to Combat the Moving-Forward-And-Leaving- the-Past-Behind Blues

35015Rebekkah and I were driving from Red Rock to Austin the other day. It is about an hour drive, and we were conversing about some research she had heard about. She said anthropologists noted that whenever they arrived in the place where they would immerse themselves in a new culture, surrounding themselves with new people, new customs, new smells, new tastes…everything unfamiliar, they would experience a deep depression. But, she remarked, they also said that this black feeling would go away on average, about two weeks into the experience.

Texas isn’t a new place for me, but it has been over a decade since I cs-lewis-quote-better-things-550x320lived here for real. Last year, I was here two months, but Dad was really sick, and the wounds from losing my husband were still tender. This time, I blew up my bridges in Oklahoma. I did this on purpose. I learned a lot from my nomadic childhood, and leaving foundations in places that are, as a whole, not good for you, will leave you open to the temptation to return again and rebuild. It isn’t really necessary to go into detail why Tulsa is bad for both my kids and me. Suffice it to say, we simply should not go back and try again. But, I did not blow up bridges to people I love who were only good to me. Tulsa as a whole, is not where I should be. But I will carry a piece of her with me forever, in the shapes and memories of people who I love.

download (2)I left behind people that I will miss terribly. The Lord gave me Janice and Larry, who both taught me to stay calm, and not be so extreme all the time. Holly taught me what it looks like to walk and not faint, and walk and walk and walk, and still, not faint. Sonya and Kendra, some of my very favorite people, gave me Oliver. ‘Nuff said, right?

Stephanie made me feel like there were other eccentric souls just like me, and I 14feae356bda6cfe978afc0e40e434a3don’t have to feel alone so much. (I have every intention of using all my persuasive skills to lure her to live here in Texas among other weirdos like us!) I left behind Rob and his sweet little girls and some of my other Red & Gold friends, and my very best Oklahoma friend ever, Kim. I will miss you most of all, Kim-alicious!!

24772This move cost me something, as they all do. But most of all, I left behind Chef. I cried like the first day I realized my marriage was lost to me forever, and then I wiped away the tears, put the car in drive, and left that sadness behind with the rest of the broken hopes and dreams born, burned, and buried in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Chef is truly on his journey with the Lord alone now. No more interference from me.

Unlike a whole unfamiliar culture, Texas reminds me daily of its own c-s-lewis-quoteunchanging personality, and in a way, it welcomes me back. I recognize the smells of wildflowers and mesquite trees. I can pick out the cicadas’ songs from the choir of other nocturnal insects that sing at night. The heat is different here, and every single allergy I’ve had in Oklahoma has instantly disappeared. I was born and bred here, and my immune system is delighted.

download (2)My Oklahoma dogs, despite their rocket scientist rat poison incident, run and play like I have never seen them frolic.  They don’t know why, but they are positive they deserve this slice of heaven as a reward of some kind.

It’s been less than a week, and I’m finally emerging from the fog of a new life thatQuotes-C-S-Lewis-the-golden-trio-char-jezzi-and-anj-32352771-528-199 looks so different than any I’ve had before. This time, I’m not a freshly separated woman, wounded and still bleeding. I’m just another girl, moving to Texas to be near a family I love. The future looks hopeful, though unfocused. I’ve learned throughout my life, just because I can’t imagine what something is going to feel like, it doesn’t mean I won’t like the way it feels. I am relaxed. I am cheerful. I am hopeful. And I am excited.

17abc9dd53eb1a7f5a6a8d56132c2b18Whenever I find myself down, I like to drag out C.S. Lewis’ books, and peruse through his unearthly wisdom about being a foreigner longing for home. I thought tonight, EHAS would share a little of his timeless quotes. We are all trying to walk and not faint these days, wouldn’t you say?

I hope you have a new forest of dreams growing in your lives! Life shouldn’t be full of droughts! Yes. Sometimes, fires of life can wipe out acres and acres of hopes and dreams; but, don’t grieve too long for what once grew in your heart, and is no more. Instead, delight yourself in the new life that will begin to grow there. There is a time to weep; but remember, there is time to laugh again too.

~ Bird

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Declaration of Independence from My Past

11707778_10153067752834053_380987110297520234_oThis holiday weekend was a bit odd this year at my house. My first ex-husband (there have been two) Driver brought his seven year old daughter up to spend the weekend with Dj. Driver is Dj’s biological father, but Chef raised him since he was in diapers. We haven’t seen nor heard much from Driver all these years, so being around him was….different. Dj and his little half-sister, Faith, adore each other, so of course, she was invited to come hang with her brother any time she wanted. Frankly, it was refreshing to have a little kid around, asking billions of questions, watching children’s movies, and catching ourselves whenever we let a bad word slip. I really liked that part. I didn’t enjoy being in the presence of her father as much. I walked away from Driver. I had reasons, but I could have handled it all better, and I botched it bad enough to hurt him. I hate that. It is even worse when 25 years later, he still seems very hurt by it. Not bitter. Hurt. That sucks big time. Bitterness is easy to deflect for me; just plain wounded but willing to forgive easily and quickly…. unbearably hard for me to deal with.

I was married to Chef over 20 years, but only briefly married to Driver. It goes without saying, I simply never really got to know much about him. We were very young,

Chef - Master StoryTeller
Chef

and very different all that time ago, and any mention of the subject of my brief marriage to Driver instantly makes me uncomfortable. He was very familiar at times, which made me freak just a little. Chef is the person I think of as my husband; evidently, Driver has always continued to see me as his wife. It was not an experience I can repeat any time soon.

Right after Driver and Faith left, I found myself drawn to Chef’s. I can’t really explain why. We aren’t reconciling. I just felt like seeing the man who I feel married to, instead of the one who still feels married to me. Talk about timing. I haven’t seen or spoken to Chef is some time. When I got there, I was surprised and saddened that he has been dealing with a health issue, making plans to leave the state, and desperately trying to move on with what is left of his life.

Chef is going blind.

10923783_10152687027739053_1402233057617616683_oHe has been battling cancer for awhile now, but there is something more tragic about him losing his eyesight. My own inability to make this problem go away, or even to just share the burden with him, like we used to do, made me feel physically sick. I listened, comforted, and held him as he cried for all of the mistakes, and the losses he’s suffered, and the fear of the future that now has the added horror of being experienced shrouded in the dark. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, especially Chef. He’s moving away, leaving behind the broken dreams, which includes me, and hoping to find some happiness for whatever time he has left. I beg the Lord to give him exactly that. I can’t give Chef what I don’t have anymore, but I have forgiven him, and I have no desire to see him suffer. I guess this is what real forgiveness feels like. I’m surprised that this hurts me, and I am ashamed to admit, I kind of wish the numb indifference, or even the rage were still with me, because they seemed to shelter me from giving a shit.

I spent the weekend visiting my past. I see how different I am through Driver’s eyes, and I’m glad for a lot of the changes in me. Like pretty much everyone else, I was an idiot when I was 20. It is always a relief to find out you outgrew some of your worst traits. I felt sad for Driver’s wounds I caused, but Chef’s pain was so much worse. I sat looking at this hot mess I’ve loved for so long, and I silently acknowledged yet again, yes. Knowing how awful the ending would hurt me, I would have loved him all the same. He was worth it. I don’t regret him, and clearly, I will always love him.

It was an exhausting trip down memory lane, but I think a cleansing one. Maybe I celebrated my own kind of declaration of independence this weekend. I have made peace with my past, and I declare independence from the guilt, regret, and anything else negative that has been simmering in my heart all these years. That time is over, and there is plenty of things I wish I could have done differently, but I didn’t. I own the consequences, and they’ve incorporated themselves into the really good parts of my life too. I can’t truly say I’m sorry about any of them anymore, so I don’t plan to again. I like how my life played out…the good as well as the bad.

My Christian friends, please pray for Chef. This is terrifying for anyone, but he is alone going through this, and that is so much worse. Thank you.

~ Bird