happy haunting 2

Hello! Given my last post, I can promise you that I have NOT been on a bender.

I have not run off with gypsies.

I have not gone on vacation to the Bahamas. (But that last one? Sounds like a good idea.)

My job at Believe is finally winding down and I hit a bit of a “Now What?” rut.

Such thoughts that have been cluttering my mind have included, but are not limited to:

* Do I want another full-time writing job?
* Am I better off with benefits at a local company?
* Do I take a few freelance writing gigs and Ebay on the side?
* Do I take down Happily Ticked Off and start a more ‘fun’ blog?
* Do I continue to push my book out there or just let it go as a cathartic memoir experience?

It’s dawned on me – in the way that only a crushing depression exhaustion can – that I’ve spent an awful lot of my mothering doing what I “should” rather than what I’d like. On one hand, welcome to reality, right? Not all of us women are taking the path of Elizabeth Gilbert and eat, pray, loving ourselves across 3 continents in search of a new lover and soul. Some of us – okay, me – are attempting to find transformation from the sacred walls of our own little suburb.

With the balm of time, it’s becoming clear that things don’t have to be black and white. It’s not “make major changes for happiness” or “stay stuck.” For me, it’s being open to the possibility that despite a tough walk through the desert, there is indeed a well of water waiting.

After a meeting I attended last week, a woman came up to me. I had spoken at the podium – sharing the story from the previous post. She was in a wheel chair. Her hands were crippled. She wore a hat that threatened to fall into her coffee cup at any moment. Her eyes danced as she put her twisted fingers over my own.

“You are just like me,” she told me.

“An over sharerer?” I ventured?

“No… well, yes. And listen, sweetie, sharing is good. It’s the only way.” (Take that, Mom.)

“I guess so,” I said back. “It sure feels good in these rooms. But in the real world, it’s kind of looked down on. I mean, apparently my kid’s sixth grade teacher doesn’t need to know I had the kind of day where if I smoked doobage – which I don’t – I’d be lighting up in the carpool line.”

“This particular 12-step isn’t for doobage, sister,” she said. “But on a side note, I will say… it helps these hands.”

I smiled back at her. “Are you glad you gave up wine?” I asked her.

“I am,” she said – and I could tell she meant it. “Feelings are never fun, but when you realize that your connection to God can be so much more powerful than an escape, you’ll realize that in giving stuff up you gain so much more than you ever could have imagined possible. It’s life on life’s terms. It’s a way of living fully and richly. It’s relationship vs. hiding.”

It sounded so good. But I’d only been at this for four months. I was still suspicious. “You really believe that?” I asked her.

“I do. And you do, too, or you wouldn’t be here.” she said.

“Look,” she continued, “I was a mother. I had a husband and a job and all the shit that comes with this chair. And I can promise you that nothing – NOTHING – has ever been more magical than taking my life for what it is, connecting with other people who want to do better, and living a real, authentic, amazing, grace filled life.”

Then she handed me a bouquet of flowers.

“Really? But… why?” I stuttered.

“I always bring them to meetings. I never know who will need them. Today, that person is you.”

What could I do? I took them, hugged her, and passed on her kindness to a fellow gal in the room.

From what I gathered from her share, this gal was a single mom – a waitress – and she was bummed about working on Halloween. I wrote my # on a  piece of paper, gave it to her, and told her if she wanted she could hang at my place for a few hours that evening. She gave me the same look I must have given the wheel chair angel.

“Really?” she asked.

“Why not?” I told her. “We’ll make pumpkin shaped quesadillas, light some candles and let the kids jump on the trampolines before getting jacked on sugar.”

Two days later, on a chilly October 31, my new friend and her two-year old showed up at my door. And despite some anxiety about life’s uncertainties, I became more certain of one thing: connection. We humans need each other. We are not designed to do life alone. It’s in giving back we forget about ourselves. It’s a one day at a time life…sometimes a one hour at a time… sometimes a one second at a time.

If you’d have told me last year that I’d be without a job, dealing with bigger tics than ever before, and attending AA meetings, I’d have told you that you had lost your mind.

Or maybe, like the little acts of kindness I’m learning to receive and give, I’d just say it was magic.

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