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

download (1) l_07a9c930-5d9b-11e1-85d6-950300600002 18c6326b9228e34bc10dca933c81b7e4 11040399_10153126784909053_4756062943775278211_o cslewis-son-of-god-550x320 Sparrow in a Barrell download (1) Quotation-C-S-Lewis-anger-man-Meetville-Quotes-90839

Then Fate Stepped In And Kicked A Million People Right In Their Proverbial Collective Groins

I am one of the many, many fans that read Eye of the World by Robert Jordan over 20 years ago. I don’t get roped into things like becoming a Trekkie or stuff like that, but I did wheel of timebecome fanatical about The Wheel of Time books, and had they had a convention somewhere, I’d have totally attended. How amazing a writer this man was to be able to lodge that creation from his imagination into our souls, and then be able to maintain that connection with us over the span of decades? That is a writer that was blessed with a true gift, not just a little natural talent.

Back when I was still pregnant with my youngest daughter, Caitlyn, I began reading a science fiction/fantasy series called the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. After initially bitching at my then-husband Dennis about bringing me a science fiction book, for Pete’s sake, a flood hit our town, and it was either read that book or sit in the silent apartment doing nothing. Electricity was out, and boredom is a torture I avoid at all cost. My thoughts have been know to scare even me. Better to keep my warped brain busy.

I picked up the unfairly maligned book, Eye of the World; two days later, I was transformed into a sleep-deprived, somewhat malnourished, frantically obsessed new Eye of the World fan who was scraping up the money to get the sequel, The Great Hunt in a manner that only someone who has been addicted to heroin or cocaine can truly understand and relate to.  I had just joined the massive amount of fans that were loyal to this author and his series, and  waited with anticipation each year for the each new book to come out. After a couple of years, the one year turnaround would then become a two year wait between books, and so on. I’d grumble but I knew no matter what, I’d be one of the first in line when the next book came out. I was committed to the story.

Finally, one day,  after 20+ long years of wading through this epic tale, one tiny piece at a time; after reading and rereading every complex book written in the series in preparation for another tiny morsel of information about to be released to bookstores soon; and after all the suffering the long silences between books, joy came in the form of a media announcement that the next book was the last one. Finally, all would be revealed.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Fate became a roaring bitch, stepped in and dealt a huge swath of  unsuspecting science fiction fans a hard kick to our proverbial  groin.

robert jordanThe author contracted a deadly blood disorder, lingered briefly…,long enough to announce his impending recovery and allowing our hopes to go up….,  and then he promptly died, just like that. To the grave, he was taking end of the story!!  Brains reeled all over the place trying to fathom this turn of events. I know that I personally fully expected him to live until he’d finished the book, obviously having the ability to control the timing of his own death if the reason was important enough. And what could be more important than the ending to a story you spread out over two decades about a bunch of people who never existed living on a planet that also never existed, and doing things that we will never do? Frankly, death was just going to have to wait his turn. Mr. Jordan had work to do first.

I know.

I for one didn’t like my reaction to the news of Mr. Jordan’s death, and I was ashamed that I cared so much more for the story of people that didn’t count at all in the big picture, nor would ever matter to anything other than this one story, and so very little for the real people that were losing Robert Jordan the real father, real husband, real friend, and real person. But I also realized that the balance of a story is what I find defines its worth to me. A story that doesn’t have an ending does not appeal to me at all.

In the end, though, Fate’s evil ploy to destroy The Wheel of Time series for us all failed, and using Mr. Jordan’s own notes,  another writer was commissioned write the ending. I had assumed the final book would probably suck since Jordan’s style is complex and probably can’t be mimicked well or easily, but at least we’d know what Jordan had planned for an ending. A crappy ending is better than no ending. It was something.

Three books and four years later, we Wheel of Time fans had our ending, and rather amazingly, it was written as well as Jordan himself.

Now, to get to my point. I am not now, nor will I ever be, anywhere near the kind of writer Robert Jordan was, nor am I comparing myself, my story, or anything with him at all. I just know that my entire opinion of the series he wrote would have changed if it never had an ending written. My opinion of my own story is what I’m evaluating these days.

I like things that have a clear beginning, middle, and then an end. I love the balance in all things in our universe, including artistic forms of expression.  I find a story that is told sporadically, floating without any rhythm, or doesn’t seem to be cohesive is just a waste of time to read. I won’t like it. There is a symmetry to what I find attractive; in every song, every dance, every story, every poem, every picture or painting…in everything under the sun that appeals to me, there is some kind of flow that takes me all the way through.

chef on his bikeUnfortunately, lately, I’m thinking that my own story about Chef, The Bandidos, Bernice, and all the rest of the events surrounding this last year is just exactly the lopsided, unfocused kind of story I hate. There seems to be great big shadows throughout the blog version of my story, distracted repeatedly by the introduction of something else that has momentarily caught my eye or the inability at the time to be specific about something that was happening to me for fear of it being heard by the wrong people. It’s an important story in my life… possibly the most important one up until this point… and I want to tell it correctly. This has been my plan for a long time, but I never could get the first few words to pass through my brain to my fingers and onto the screen. Memories would cause the pain to spike up again, and the perspective would be temporarily ruined. I had to wait until it had lost some of its power.

I think I’m ready to do just that now.

For the next few posts, I’m writing the story of my marriage’s death, only from the survivor’s point of view this time. I have spent a year with most of you, telling the most painful tale of betrayal as it was unfolding, sometimes drunk off my butt, but always with powerful emotions coloring everything. Now, I’d like to tell it again, all at once, but  with the perspective of having survived the wounds. Time tends to make things look different.

Perspective is frightenly powerful to how we understand and remember our lives.

Hope you like it.

— Bird