As we all sat in a circle, our meditation teacher, Phyllis Pilgrim, told a story of how she, her brother, and her mother spent some time in a Japanese internment camp years ago. As an adult, she asked her mom: “How did you always keep a smile on your face?”
Her mom replied: “Everyday I made a point to see something beautiful, hear something beautiful, and say something beautiful.”
A friend of mine is going through divorce. It is quite the process, as some of you may know, and I have been privy to as much as she choses to share along the way. Things are a bit more complicated because they have children. Naturally, she was anxious about telling the kids when they separated. She worried about what will happen, how the relationship with her kids will enfold, what will the future bring, etc. Remarkably, though, both were committed to co-parenting great kids. Now new anxiety started over how the little ones will take it. There were lots of tears shed before she and her husband sat down with the kids.
During my phone conversations with mom I shared those concerns hoping to gain some perspective and give the right advice/feedback since I don’t have kids.
She started with how kids are more resilient than you think. The younger they are, the easier they can adapt. A couple of my friends, who had been through it, had said the same. Still, I insisted about how devastated my friend is and how she broke down when we last spoke.
The reassuring tone stopped.
“Let me ask you this. Are the kids healthy?
“Are the parents well? Healthy? Loving? Committed to being there for the kids afterwards?”
“Then darling, it’s just divorce.”
“Well, divorce was created for a reason, for people who are at a point where they can’t live together any longer. People lost their sons in the war. Remember the massive earthquake? Think of all the kids whose parents died in the earthquake. And you know what? Even after all those tragedies, lives went on. Your friend, her husband, and their children are alive and well. It’s just divorce.”
Ha. Where was that sentence when I was going through divorce?
Those of you who read my posts regularly know my mom’s ability to see the positive in every situation. If not, read Not So Foxy Lady or A Message From the Universe. She is arriving in the U.S today and I thought of doing a special project. Those of you who have issues and feel stuck please post it and we’ll have mom tackle it.
Let’s have some fun with mom.
This brush with Sandy reminded me of another mom story.
I grew up hearing things like: If you play with matches, you’ll wet the bed; or after you sneeze you should stop what you are doing and say the equivalent of seven hail Mary’s (Muslims say peace be upon Mohammad), before resuming whatever it is you were doing. Now add to that the years of residency. Doctors are like athletes. Very superstitious. As a result I have a habit of connecting totally unrelated matters with a high degree of certainty.
About a year and a half ago I was dating someone and was still in the evaluation stage, a bit uncertain. One night, as one of the storm chicks: Bonnie, Julia or Irene, was roaring thunder and throwing needles of rain at the windows in a blast of fury, we (the gentleman caller and yours truly) were making plans for a future rendezvous. All of a sudden a loud bang shot me up from my chair. Then everything went dark and the phone silent. This sound was different than a thunder. In the dark I walked to the balcony and opened the door. Pine tree branches popped into the living room. Christ almighty. Another treetop? You see, Mother Nature had graced me with the first one years ago, when I had just started college. She decided to throw the top of a tree on my Toyota tercel (well technically mom’s) while I was driving to school in a storm.
I pushed the branches back out and shut the door. In the morning I went to explore the situation. The double trunk tree that the previous owner of this house had called “love tree,” that my ex and I had inherited in a fit of sentimentality, now had one trunk. The other had fallen down, making a hole in our former TV-room, its top branches on the balcony. After shedding a few tears just out of helplessness and needing some time to digest the disaster, I got in my car and drove away, probably to the gym.
Naturally, I called mom to give her the big news.
“Ma. I think this is a message from the universe. Maybe I shouldn’t be dating this man.” It never occurred to me that the tree once belonged to another couple. Perhaps they were in trouble? No sir. This was my message.
Mom listened carefully, then answered: “Well or maybe the universe has another message for you.”
“What other message?”
“What was the tree that got hit? The couple-tree, love-tree, right? The one of you and your ex.”
“What room did it ruin?”
“Where he spent most of his time, right?”
“Well darling, then the message is clear. The universe just put an end to that relationship. It’s telling you to move on. Now go plan your date and have a good time, will you? You are not getting any younger.”