For any of you waiting with bated breath to see how things turned out with Trey*, let me quickly put your fears to rest–I have been forgiven. Which again has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with Trey. He is gentle, loving, compassionate, and he knows what it means to truly forgive and to do so with grace. He thanked me for coming clean. He was glad I told him before he had an opportunity to find out on his own. He told me I hadn’t killed anyone, I’d just made a mistake. He asked me not to do it again. And he consoled me, because he knew how hard it was for me to admit that what I’d done, and how much I hurt myself, by doing it. He told me I was beating myself up, and to put the bat down. I don’t know that I could have equaled his grace, equanimity, and love had our positions been reversed, but I hope so. Thank you, Trey, you absolutely rock. ❤
Some time ago, I e-mailed a letter to people close to me on the subject of grace. I don’t recall from which dictionary this definition came:
- elegance: elegance, beauty, and smoothness of form or movement
- politeness: dignified, polite, and decent behavior
- generosity of spirit: a capacity to tolerate, accommodate, or forgive people
- prayer at mealtimes: a short prayer of thanks to God said before, or sometimes after, a meal
- finance Same as grace period
- pleasing quality: a pleasing and admirable quality or characteristic (usually used in the plural)
- gift of God to humankind: in Christianity, the infinite love, mercy, favor, and goodwill shown to humankind by God
- freedom from sin: in Christianity, the condition of being free of sin, e.g. through repentance to God
- music Same as grace note
I’m referring to grace as it appears in number three. Over the past several years, so many people have helped me understand this concept. I have in my life, as you have seen in Trey, amazing people who love me and support me in any way they can. My family and friends have helped me financially, physically, and most of them have supported me emotionally, with exactly those qualities above, a generosity of spirit, a capacity to tolerate, accommodate, and forgive. And there have been plenty of people in my life without those qualities. One being my brother, who called me a fucking psychopathic bitch and a loser, and my sister who doesn’t say those things but acts them out regularly, and my father, who doesn’t believe in mental illness and does not look at me with any sort of generosity, but judges me and always finds everything I do, think, or say suspect and wanting. This is the family I grew up with. I have another family–my birth family. My birth-father’s family, those I know anyway, I feel more in tune with than I do my nuclear family of origin. What’s even more interesting is that of the family I grew up with, I’ve lost and/or given up on my father (actually I still hold out hopes for him and we communicate superficially), my brother, and my sister. My mother and I have only grown closer. And of my birth family, I’ve gained closeness with my father, my brother, and my sister. Odd how life works, isn’t it? Uncanny.
Those people who have taken positions against me and who have gone out of their way to hurt me, I realize have their own problems, and I do not think on them. They only serve to highlight the work and sacrifices of those who have loved and helped me. I wouldn’t have made it to this place, this place where I have the conviction that I can again take my place in the world, this place of knowing that this is the year I make gains, this place of knowing that this is the year I stop losing, if it weren’t for their grace and assistance. I will never be able to repay their multitude of kindnesses. But I will try to be an equal participant in their lives. I will give them the love and time and care I can to the best of my ability. And to all of them, I say thank you for showing me the meaning of grace, for loving me, for helping me stand up when I fallen down again and again and again, for showing me when and where I have erred, for helping me see others’ perspectives, when my mind was so focused on me and trying to stay alive, for coming into my house and putting it to rights, and mostly for never giving up on me. Your love humbles me and keeps me coming back to try again. Please know you are loved and held in the highest esteem. To my children, most especially, to mother and father, to my family, to my cousins and aunts and uncles, to my friends, and to Trey, I most humbly thank you. And to my detractors, you only fan the fire of my desire to succeed. Keep the flames burning. You can no longer hurt me.
Okay, I can move on now. I can’t tell you how I feel, because I can’t access those feelings right now, separate them from this swirl of emotion flowing around me. I feel like an electrical storm, crackling and luminous and vital.
This could be because I got off my (rather large) ass and went to the gym this morning with a friend. It was glorious. I really do love to exercise. My therapist said, when I saw her Tuesday, to do some exercise to get endorphins flowing. And as serendipity continues to make an appearance in my life, my friend and former gym buddy (her life became complicated with studies) came this morning and picked me up to go to the gym. We haven’t spent much time together lately, and it was truly lovely to see her. She is a person whose generosity of spirit continues to grow. I see her grow, as she sees me grow. And what I see growing in her is love, compassion, appreciation, and tolerance–she expands as the Great Mother, the Mother Goddess, the Divine Feminine, would have her do. We talked about some things that were very difficult, but we emerged understanding each other better, and I hope having resolved some previously thorny issues. We had lunch together. The girl had never been to the FStar! Sacre bleu! Complètement impossible! I am so very relieved we have remedied this deficiency in her cultural gastronomic awareness. FStar is a home-grown state chain of hip bistros with incredible pastries, coffees, breakfasts, soups, sandwiches, dinners. It’s my home away from home, a place where you can hang out and study or talk without being run off, a solid community member. We are so proud of our Flying Stars (http://www.flyingstarcafe.com/index.html).
I spoke with my children tonight. Sometimes when we speak, getting them open up and converse is like pulling teeth, so tonight I was prepared. I had some fun “how well do you know each other” quizzes lined up. And I found out some interesting things about my children, like my son’s hero is the Red Baron, because of his honor and bravery. And I made my daughter laugh by taking a quiz about new year’s resolutions, and the computer spit out “Don’t be so naive!” at me. Why this was funny to her, I don’t know. But I love to hear her laugh. And she laughs so little. Their lives are so dull, so dreary, so stagnant with their father. They need me. They don’t need me as I was, but they need me as a responsible mother, grounded, balanced, and high-functioning as well as zany, fun, creative, nurturing, and utterly devoted and loving. I don’t know how much of the good things I was as I decompensated, but I do know that my children are and always have been my core, my life, my heart. I don’t know who I am without them.
It’s now the next day, morning, my favorite time of day. And I have news! My long distance love is coming to see me! He booked the flight! In two and a half short weeks, we will spend a week together! Gahh! I woke up happy! I have butterflies in my stomach! I have something and someone awesome to which I can look forward! WWWooooooooohhhooooooooooooo!! I gotta get busy!
It’s morning, and I have been completely off kilter these past two days. I need to take my medications. I need to wash dishes. I need to clean the dining room and living room. I need to find the mousetraps and take that little fucker out. I need to brush Lady. I need to stop writing and get moving!
1.) My children, my first loves–strong, gorgeous, and healthy
2.) Trey, he’s coming to me!
3.) Kathleen*, my sainted cousin
4.) Possibilities that become realities
5.) The shared wisdom of others
Everything is material for the seed of happiness, if you look into it with inquisitiveness and curiosity. The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment. There always is the potential to create an environment of blame — or one that is conducive to loving-kindness.
~ Pema Chodron