A Picture On The Wall

Posted on | March 28, 2014 | 1 Comment

as written July 2, 2013

A Picture On The Wall

I drove down and said goodbye to my ex-in-laws yesterday afternoon. And my ex-husband and step-son didn’t end up making the trip down. They didn’t answer their cell phones or respond…when they had committed to come. I was slightly hurt, but also realistic.

I have loved and always will love their beautiful children, all (still) growing an impressive 15 nieces and nephews. I didn’t even recognize one of them in the photos they showed me of their youngest’s wedding last June. Children whom I have welcomed into this world, baby-sat and snuggled and loved and hugged and taught and cared for. It’s an odd feeling, to be swept away from people who were so much of your life. And they, these children, keep growing. Keep changing. Keep getting taller. Changing, just like me. Like all of us.

We ate dinner in their sweltering and beautiful home. My mother-in-law cried a few times, but it was mostly…good. It wasn’t as ‘home’ feeling as it has been these last five years we’ve been divorced, but I’m suspecting that that’s right and appropriate. I love them. They were family. And then…they weren’t. But they’ll always be. And somehow, in that inexplainable space, it makes sense, without taking up any extra room inside me.

Most of their six children didn’t make the trip down to see me and say goodbye. Not because they don’t love me and wish me the best, but because…divorce changes things. It just does. I was sad as I drove away, making sure I gave lots of love to Brad and hugged my father-in-law through his awkwardness and she through her tears and the youngest sibling through her mane of crimped blond beauty. They wanted to hear about Nick and my life, and so…I told them. It was only slightly awkward, and mostly full of love like the people I have loved.

When I left, I didn’t look back. And I didn’t make the trek downstairs to see if my picture remained on their wall…

because it’s their wall. Whether I’m on it or not doesn’t make the reality of our lives any less hard or real than they are. What I do know – is that each of them love me, as I do them. God, bless them for all they stand in need of…for the years we spent as a family…until we meet again.

In The Night

Posted on | March 27, 2014 | No Comments

as written July 2, 2013

Forearm Tattoo

Last night I was overcome with anxiety so fierce and strong it took everything in me not to succumb to a full fledge anxiety attack. That’s never happened before. I’ve never been awoken in the middle of the night by feelings that I haven’t allowed myself to feel. Well…that changed. On the phone with Hailee, I opened up and told her about it.

“Control,” she said. “I am the QUEEN of sinus problems!” (which is what I’m struggling with). Once again, I am being asked and have chosen to let go of everything. It’s different than before, last time I had to give up dreams and hopes as well. This time around, I’m giving things up for those dreams and hopes.

Wow. Didn’t realize that until now. I’ve been really shut down; not writing, not feeling a whole lot, but at the same time – I AM doing this. Hailee reiterated it several times. “You’re doing it, Monica. As hard as it is, you’re still moving through it.”

My job, my home, my household, my items/things, my friends, my life, my (known) income-source…for a man who I am not yet married to. Who gives and makes no promises (but why do I want them before I trust him to do what he says he’ll do? You’ve learned the lesson that even ‘guarantees’ don’t secure anything), to a home that we won’t officially share yet, to a city I helped choose to move to but now don’t trust and don’t feel safe in. Once more, I am being asked and have chosen to let go of everything and just trust God and trust in the things that have felt right to my heart for over a year now. Ugh, I’ve had over a year of preparation, and I’m still struggling.

That’s okay, my love. There is no judgment in struggle, struggle is the finding of the way through.

Thank you for reminding me of that. I struggle with remembering it :) I’m also so grateful God has given me some financial comfort [being bought out of my shares], because He knew I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle it without that to help me through this transition…

Moving through my feelings…I don’t know how to lean on someone’s strength. I struggle with letting someone take care of me. Letting him provide and protect. I am in control of nothing, and it’s rearing its ugly head because all my comforts are being given, stripped, and sold away. So that demon is still there, it has lain dormant with so much comfort around me and self-sustaining and self-providing things: all of the list above.

The emotions welled up and ran down my face, intense waves of out-of-control-ness…this is so very hard for me. And I don’t know how to express that or make Nick understand it. All of this has tapped me out, utilizing every single resource I have inside me to do this hard impossible thing while at the same time remaining open and vulnerable to him. So it seems like the tiniest thing triggers my sky scraper protective walls and they go shooting up (as Nick so aptly described when he saw them) ‘pew pew pew pew!’ in nano-seconds of a trigger being pushed. Of any word or inclination or idea that is out of the norm, that isn’t what I want or am comfortable with — I don’t have the bandwidth to sustain all of it. I am holding on here, for dear life. It is all I can do, to stay mostly open to him while I lose everything else around me — without any security or promise of a guarantee…

So the little things I would normally be able to take in stride day in and day out truly almost make me come unglued. I am trying to roll with the punches, go with the flow — a flow that’s changing every single day, with no end in sight. Re-calibration and restarting the mainframe takes more energy and resources than I have, right now. Something has to give in order to do so — so the walls come up, without permission; a fight against my past and all my previous coping mechanisms. And then I have to work them back down again.

It is all that I can do, to move forward with this — and stay open to him. That is what I am capable of right now. Lord? Please tell me that’s enough. Even packing is overwhelming, and I am trying to go with it — because everything in me says ‘It’s time.’ It’s time. I know this. Then why is it still so hard, even though I know it’s right? Apparently I have an expectation that if I know it, it should be easier. It is all that I can do, what I am doing today. Please, I ask of thee, I beg of thee — please bless me to handle it better. Please, if it be thy will, bless me with comfort and peace as this comfort zone and life are systematically washed away…

Please. Give me thy grace to enjoy what is happening, while still honoring what I have done and what I am letting go of. I need thee, I need thy help in this. Most desperately. I feel weak when I think of Nick — that this woman can’t handle anything anymore. I have never felt like the weak one. I am always and forever the strong one. Please, help me to trust his strength and allow me to trust thy love that I can do this. Help me to understand how much I am dealing with so well, and be gentle with myself in understanding my limits. I still, cannot do all. The most important thing to me is that I don’t shut him out. That I stay open to him and to us. Help me be patient and gentle, knowing he is working out all his needs with you in his own way, and in your own way with him.

I know I haven’t let him all the way in yet. I know that won’t happen until we’re there, together. I know you sanction and bless this union, and for that I am so grateful. Thank you, Lord…for all of this. Help me to sleep tonight in security, knowing you have always carried me. Help me to trust in the words branded into my skin, “Behold, all things are become new.” I give up what life I have made, take it in my heart, and welcome in the next part of my life. Thank you for my life. Thank you for the breath you give and the support that sustains my every step. I love thee…

I am trying to trust you. Amen.

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To Find Fault

Posted on | March 10, 2014 | No Comments

as read July 1, 2013

To Find Fault

“‘He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help.’ – Abraham Lincoln. Our negative judgments of others very frequently inform us of our own shortcomings. In other words, what we dislike in others are often those things we hate about ourselves. Much better than criticizing another’s abhorrent behavior is a decision to look inwardly at our own collection of traits and attitudes. Our desire to criticize, to pass judgment, offers an excellent mirror of who we truly are. And the image we see reflected can guide our movements toward becoming healthier, happy individuals.

We can feel a bit of gladness for what our negative reactions are able to teach us – but we must be willing to learn from them. How exciting to contemplate that every hateful moment actually is offering us a positive opportunity for change.

It’s human to find fault, and we shouldn’t be overcome with shame. However, we hinder our own personal growth every time we quickly criticize another rather than rejoicing that we’ve been given an additional opportunity to move closer to the person we’re being called to become. Today I’ll look beyond others’ faults and recognize my own.”

The Promise of a New Day by Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg

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Work Smoothly. Lifetime Peace

Posted on | March 8, 2014 | No Comments

as written June 30, 2013

Bryant Park

“I just paid $20 for a buddhist temple and some anal beads?!” — Nick on the munk hustler who gave him a bracelet and gold card that said “Work Smoothly. Lifetime Peace.” Hahahahaha!

Nick spent two weeks in the big city, and picked me up Thursday evening @ JFK. We headed back into the city where I tried to re-calibrate my ‘operation: move cross country’ plan mode; as he realized he needs to be IN the city for work, not outside of it. So my expectations of green lawns and a less dense population went up in smoke. POOF! Argh. Ok, Mon…be flexible. Be flexible. Come on, you can do it!

Our first day there, we saw Man of Steel (new Superman movie) in a movie theater you had to take 4 escalators up to get to, walked through a museum of Buried Treasure with piratey stuff (his favorite), delicious food at Triple D’s America restaurant, and had a run-in with our first (and hopefully last) broker and saw the 505 apartments on 37th and 10th in mid-town. FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR 650 SQUARE FEET. I…don’t…have…words…for…this. That would buy 10,000 sq feet in Utah. And most other places in the entire country. Why did we decide to move here again?!

Saturday we saw two more high rise buildings, they were ok. Have to stop doing the math of how much real estate I could buy in Utah for a 1 bedroom high rise in NYC. Ate at hamburger joint. Went to see WWZ to get out of the ridiculous heat, and from the impending zombie apocalypse knew I wanted him to ‘make me good at shooting.’ Good hell. Got room service @ the Millenium hotel, chilled and relaxed and my beautiful man.

Sunday we walked around the city a lot, people watching….yoga in Times Square. Cops with AK-47s on the streets. Brunch at Juniors (best cheesecake supposedly, but I’ll have you know that Sunday brunch at Sundance’s Foundry Grill has an UNBEATABLE vanilla bean cheesecake. End of story.) Then we sat peacefully in Bryant park and I watched him play chess with a few others in the ‘cell phone free’ zone of the park. It was warm and breezy and totally New York-esque. It felt…good.

New York…ready or not, here we come! ‘Work smoothly,’ please!

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It Waves

Posted on | February 12, 2014 | No Comments

as read June 30, 2013

It Waves

“It’s 11:22 Mountain Time June 27, 2013 as I start this post. All my life I’ve thought there was an epic battle going on between good and evil in the world. Here are the good people, and here are the bad people, and we are us and they are them. And this battle, you know, was played out on so many levels, from religion to political parties and race and even gender. But no matter how the battle lines were drawn, there has always been this assumption that I was the good and someone else was the evil. Because I went to church, you see.

But then came along this intersection in my life where I decided to really study Christianity through their 12 Step process. And I’ve learned that a significant part of the fellowship of Christ is honoring and respecting equality.  And I know that’s a buzzy, charged word right now, but it still remains the best one I can use. And I think of it in the manner it’s used in the Book of Mormon:

“And there was a strict command throughout all the churches that there should be no persecutions among them, that there should be equality among all men; That they should let no pride nor haughtiness disturb their peace that every man should esteem his neighbor as himself, laboring with their own hands for their support.” [Mosiah 27:3-4 emphasis added]

I was taught recently that the opposite of equality is iniquity, “Immoral or grossly unfair behavior.” I’ve always thought of that word as a general term for sin, but it makes a lot of sense to me that all sin is rooted in inequality. Iniquity is sin started from a belief in inequality. I am the most unhappy when I believe that I am not as good as, or better than someone else and that unhappiness can set of a chain of consequences–from spending too much money, over eating, going into debt, to losing my love for my neighbor entirely.

So really, the only epic battle is the one inside of me. It’s the daily fight of letting go all the many, many things, ownerships, ideas, behaviors, attitudes, desires and ambitions that falsely lure me into thinking I am better than someone else. (Or everyone else, if I’m being super delusional…) The battle between good and evil isn’t something that exists between me and anyone else, it’s between me and my human heart. It’s not us vs. them, it’s me vs. me.

And my religion preaches something that is very dear to me these days, we declare that we “hope all things“–a phrase that swept into my bedroom as I made my bed this morning. I think it’s an invitation to replace iniquity (or inequality) with hope.

I hope the Supreme Court rulings yesterday bring peace to many people.

I hope those who found yesterdays rulings upsetting will also find peace.

I hope someday I will understand what I don’t understand.

I hope my children will understand more than me.

I hope I can forgive.

I hope I will be forgiven.

I hope when I die my funeral will be a declaration of what I believed and wanted to live. And not much more. But please don’t serve funeral potatoes thank you.

Anyway, arguments written by intelligent people have swept across this digital space for years and years and I’ve found myself lost in the sea of it all. You see, I’ve been looking for that battle in blogs and facebook posts and podcasts. I’ve been hoping to land myself on the forefront,  bravely earning shiny awards for moral courage. But that battle is a trick, all smoke and mirrors, a false legend serving my lust to be right. I’ve only ever wanted to be right…or more right than someone else.

And all along that battle has been waging–bloody carnage and a tremendous amount of casualties, I’m afraid–right here in the corridors of my own heart. What does it serve me to be right if many of my relationships have to die at that expense? And how can Christ heal these severe wounds if I continue to fight this relentless war with my pride?

I wave my white flag.”

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