Wednesday, October 31, 2007

heading home

It's V-E-R-Y scary...

Yep, very scary. Not Halloween, but goodness. Every time my life feels so good, I get nervous. Every time someone else has some rotten luck, I get nervous. When my kids were little and they were all going through a good stage at the same time (um, did this really happen or did I dream it one night?), I got nervous. Why is it that when things are good, we just plain feel anxious that they can't stay that way? And if it keeps on being good for very long we think that our good/evil balance sheet is getting heavy on the good side and then we'll get audited by that great Accountant in the sky and be fined or dealt an extra dose of sorrow or need or fear.

I also wonder if I'm spending my good times wisely. Do I share? Do I appreciate what I've got? Am I too satisfied or complacent or not compassionate enough? I keep thinking about that old saying that love is something if you give it away you end up getting more--but then I always think, "That's w-a-y too easy."

Okay, Universe. I'm going to take the good that you're handing out. I'm going to try not to worry about any trouble that's over the horizon. But if you don't mind, I might save a little goodness just in case.

bigger than you and me

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

the spins

My husband cautions me when I relate this story or that not to "spin it out." I'm amazed at how often we make up a story about something that could not be farther from the truth.

I had been sending a weekly card to my friend with cancer. Some of the messages were a little out there, but she's known me since college--I was crazy then and I'm crazy now. I started to worry that I had been over the top. This is where the story starts its spinning. I try to figure out a way to get in touch with her thinking I would get a hint from her voice if she thought I was nuts. Her number was unlisted. I called another Meredith friend. She and her husband work together in a family business, and I left a message for her to call me if she had the number. Then I emailed someone on the Caringbridge site that was a designated contact for people who wanted to get a message to the family. I found my friend's work email address and sent a message there too but got an automated reply that someone was checking her mail for her and would get the message to her if it was important. (whirr whirr) At this point I'm worried that I'm looking like a crazy stalker kind of person. What if all these people are letting her know I'm frantically trying to contact her? And why won't anybody call me or email be back? THEN there was a new post on her Caringbridge site and I didn't get an email notification. (whirr whirr) My sick friend has asked everyone to please not have any contact with that crazy Mamie. "Take her name off the notification list. And no, I don't need her offer of help"....See how it all gets out of control?

The truth of the matter was that the friend at the jewelry store was out of the country visiting her mom and had divorced the husband and was out of the jewelry business. The contact for the family was dealing with organizing food and transportation and the new issue of the husband's death. And the Internet isn't infallible--I just didn't get the notification. Period. When I finally talked to my friend last night she told me she loved my cards and looked forward to getting them each week.

Why do we build on our insecurities? Why can't we have faith in ourselves--faith that the universe is working with us for the best outcomes. Faith that we're good people and are recognized as such. Maybe next time I'll have a little patience to see what is really going on before I spin out. But I doubt it.



For one friend, I can hardly think that she is waking up today feeling that the day is full of promise. She was diagnosed several weeks ago with cancer and has been undergoing some intense treatments which have left her feeling sick and drained. Then yesterday her husband of 30+ years died. What will make her want to get up day after day from now on? Will it be enough that her daughter--an adult--has lost her father and sorely needs her mother by her side? Will it be an attitude of "by damn the universe will not defeat me!" or "I together with my faith and family and friends can overcome any obstacle"? I can't imagine what she feels right now. I'm as sad as I can be for her, but my sadness is only the tip of her iceberg.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Bald Head Island

writing our truths

I've been doing a lot of writing lately. I'm facing the question of how to put my work out there without hurting any one's feelings though.

I wanted to send in this piece I wrote to Newsweek's My Turn. When I read it to my writing group they said that I needed to read it to my husband because it was humorously critical of him. They felt I needed his approval to put it in public print. So I asked him if he would listen. As I read, I got a few nervous laughs from him, some criticism at my "poetic liberty" with some of the facts. Finally about two paragraphs from the end he said he'd had enough. If I was going to tell a story tell the truth.

Well, that's the dilemma as I see it. Although I was exaggerating some, the truth was hurtful to him. He looked totally defeated by the piece and deflated too. I felt horrible. It was a joke at his expense. I finally apologized enough that he perked up, but I know the truth of the essay will stick with him and hound him.

It's the same way with most of my non-fiction pieces. Although I may not always see clearly, I report things as I see them. How do you write what's in your head and your heart, make it interesting and engaging and your truth, without stepping on any toes?

I'm going to keep thinking about this. But in the meantime I'm going to keep writing those things that I feel inside that have to be put on paper. I just may not share them as freely.

Sunday, October 28, 2007