Saturday, April 26, 2008

...iT tAkEs PraCtiCe NOT tO qUiT...


Quitting is natural. When I have faced a trial that doesn't seem to resolve itself quickly first to quit. When I feel pain or suffer natural response is to quit. I've been a quitter for most of my life. If I was scared...I quit. If I was hurt...I quit. If things got too tough..I quit.

My daughter's swim team coach once said, "After each race, your child should go to their coach before they go to you. The coach will tell your child something positive...something that needs to be corrected...and end with another positive comment." He continued to say, "We are not criticizing your child to make them feel bad, but to help correct their mistakes. We do this because I believe that a mistake that is not corrected, becomes a habit and a habit is harder to correct than a mistake." I think quitting was a habit for me. I know I never intended to become a quitter...but I was...for a long time.

I'm not a quitter anymore. I'm not a quitter because I practice not quitting everyday. They say that "Practice makes perfect." Just as a pianist does not play perfectly the first time they sit at a piano...I did not learn to endure the very moment that I made the decision to stop being a quitter. I don't remember one specific decision. I just know that little by little...I've learned that I can endure...I don't NEED to quit.

Everyday I practice. I practice NOT quitting. When I am sad and I want to climb in bed...when I want to quit my life...I get up and put one foot in front of the other. When I am scared...when I want to quit stepping outside of my comfort zone...I do what I can to face my fears. When someone disappoints me or hurts me...when I want to quit feeling used and close myself off to protect my feelings and my heart...I try to reach out and open more time. When I workout and I feel pain...when I want to quit pushing and stop...I take one more step and go for one more minute.

I'm NOT perfect. Sometimes, I still quit...but I'm getting better. Each time I persevere, I am stronger. Each time I practice not quitting...I become less of a quitter.

Monday, April 14, 2008

...aT hOmE iN mY hEaRt...

My friend and I saw each other the other day for the first time in many months. I had looked forward to seeing him with nervous anticipation. I was nervous about what it would be like after so much time had passed. I was afraid that we would be different...that conversation would be a struggle. I couldn't have been more wrong!

From the moment I saw him across the room...sitting at a table in our favorite Mexican restaurant...I felt comfortable. We talked. We laughed. It was as if no time had passed. We were able to pick up where we left off. That really did something for my heart and soul. As I've said before...I don't have many friends. I may be nice or polite or even friendly towards people...but I only let a few "special" people into my heart. I have missed my friend like crazy. Something reminds me of him almost everyday...a song...a exercise...many things trigger memories. He's gone and won't be back...I settled that with myself a long time ago. He's happy where he's I will put MY feelings aside and be happy for him too.

I don't know if I'm really dumb...or if I'm getting really old...or if I'm just very perceptive...but I seem to be learning more and more about life these days. After worrying about and anticipating our meeting for no reason...after having a lunch that was heaven to me (good food and one of my favorite people to share it with)...after driving away...still smiling 5 minutes down the highway...I realized that people may leave us physically, but if they are truly our friends...they never really go away because we keep them in our hearts.

When my friend called me a couple of months ago and said he was on his way "home" from Taiwan...I immediately thought that he was coming I thought of THIS as home. When I realized that he was referring to a place very far away...a place he now calls home...I have to admit, it made me a little sad. I understood him staying there, but couldn't handle him calling it "home". The word home means a lot to me. Home is a familiar place...a place filled with people that know our stories...our history. Home is a place we can come to at the end of a long, hard day...for rest...a safe haven...a place to recover and renew. Home is a place where we can be our true selves. Our home is a place where we can rejoice when something good happens...we can sing in the shower...and jump for joy on the bed. The walls of our home keep our secrets. It is our sanctuary.

What I realized the other day, was that...when I am with my friend, my soul is relaxed and my heart is at home. His mailing address is not what matters. What that regardless of where he lives...or where he calls home...I'm secure knowing that a part of him is always here with me. If he wants to call Montana's really okay...because he is always at home in my heart.

Thursday, April 10, 2008 the night before Christmas...

There are certain times in everyone's life that are memorable...times that are universally memorable. Christmas...getting married...having a baby...the first day of school...these are a few that come to my mind when I think of memorable times. They are times of excitement... nervousness... happiness... and anticipation.

I'm not a patient person. I don't like to wait...and I'm not one for surprises. I like to know how and when things are going to go that I can that I can get rid of some of that dreaded anticipation. I hate the way my mind races...trying to figure out what will happen. I worry about the outcome. Will it be as great as my mind has built it up to be? Will Santa bring what I wanted? Will my baby be healthy? Will the other kids at school like me? Will I be happy? What will I do if I'm not?

I realized tonight...that ridiculously enough...not only do I try to plan every detail so that things go the way I think they should...I try to plan my advance. The anticipation sucks...but as much as I dread it...the anticipation is part of what makes these times memorable...exciting...great.

Tonight feels kind of like the night before Christmas for me. I'm so excited. The day that I have been waiting for...for a here. I'm so happy. I will get something that I have wanted...something that I had given up on. I'm so scared. If this is not as good as I hope it will be...I'm not sure how I will react. I'd like to say that I can't control it...que sera sera...that life will go on...that it doesn't matter...but I'm not so sure about that.

My friend...the one I have missed terribly since he left months town. We are going to meet for lunch tomorrow at our favorite restaurant. I have been looking forward to tomorrow ALL WEEK! I can't wait to see him with my eyes. Sometimes, I almost feel like I am forgetting what he looks like. I can't wait to laugh...he ALWAYS makes me laugh.

Today I started to feel nervous...which I didn't expect. When we talk...when we are together...I am always comfortable. Unfortunately, the anticipation is starting to mess with my mind. I'm afraid we won't have anything to talk about. I'm afraid he is seeing me out of obligation..not desire...that he will be in a rush to get done and leave. I'm afraid that maybe he will have changed...maybe he won't think I'm so great anymore...that things will be awkward or not go well. I'm afraid that if things don't go well...that I will be sad...REALLY sad.

My mind plays tricks on me, but my heart is different. My heart reminds me that he is my friend...a true that is there NO MATTER WHAT. My heart remembers how happy I am when we spend time together...when we talk...when we laugh. My heart tells me not to enjoy the moment that I have waited for. It would be "easy" in a way to give up or brace myself for the worst, but I won't. I will be confident in my friendship. I will trust my friend. Tomorrow will be everything I am hoping for.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I've never considered myself lucky. I don't win contests. Opportunities don't just fall in my lap. I have to work for anything I get...I always have. I trip on cracks. I often say the wrong thing. I laugh at completely inappropriate times...times when I'm scared or nervous or when I am trying to avoid crying. It never rains and my umbrella turns inside out...getting me wet in spite of my effort to stay dry. I've always wanted to be lucky. When I was a little girl, I would sit in patches of clover...searching for a lucky four leaf clover...sometimes for hours. I never found one.

I don't get a chance to read much in my everyday life. If I'm sick or recovering...or if I'm on vacation...I'll read several books, but normally I don't take the time. Almost two months ago when I was laid up after surgery, I went through a week where I read 4 books. One book was a memoir written by the author of another novel I read years ago, Alice Sebold. She writes about her brutal rape and beating when she was a freshman in college and how it changed her life and her relationships as she struggled to deal with what happened to her. The title of her memoir is, "Lucky". It is titled as such because upon giving a description of the events and where they took place, the police told her that another girl had been killed and dismembered in the same place that she was attacked. They told her that in comparison...she was "lucky". It's an ironic title...a title that makes one stop and ask what it really means to be "lucky".

I started my marriage dirt poor. I cried every month when I had to pay the bills. We had one car...with no air conditioning. I got up at 4:30 AM to get ready to be at my job by 6AM at a convalescent home where I changed elderly people's diapers and fed them and sat with the ones that never got a visitor. We wore coats in our house in the winter because we couldn't afford to heat our tiny, old house. I watched other same age...that were married and lived in nice apartments and that drove new cars that their parents paid for. I felt jealous...unlucky. It's been a long time since then. We are no longer dirt poor. We are very comfortable. Now I know that we were not unlucky. We appreciate what we have and where we came from, because we had to work hard to achieve success. Now I realize that we were lucky to have had the opportunity to become stronger and more grateful during the years we struggled to "make ends meet".

I've had to watch my weight my whole life. I'm not naturally thin. I always looked at "skinny" people and wondered why I couldn't be lucky like them. At one point, I weighed 200 lbs. I was miserable. I lost the weight. It was hard and it took me a long time. I had to fight for every pound I lost. I still maintain my weight loss. Now, I know that I am the lucky one, because I am in better shape. I am stronger, because I have to work to be thin. It's a conscious choice and only I can take credit for what I have become.

I have never been a "popular" kind of girl. I always had friends growing up, but I never had many...and most were guys. I've always felt insecure and socially inept. I am easily misunderstood. People that don't know me think I am a snob. I'm not. I am better now than ever, but I still have few friends and spend most of my time alone. I look at the groups of women together in restaurants during lunch...talking...laughing. I watch them from my table...alone. I think how lucky they are. I wish I wasn't alone. I feel unlucky. Then I get a phone call from a dear friend and my perspective changes. I may not have many friends, but I care so deeply for the few I have. They are not disposable...or one in a pool of many. Each one holds a place in my heart. Each one has made a difference in my life. That is worth more than a lunch date full of giggles and fake small talk. I am lucky to have a few true friends that I cherish.

This ironic title has helped me reevaluate what it means to be lucky. Life doesn't have to be easy. Friends don't have to be many. Money does not have to come free. I don't need to win contests. Raindrops eventually dry up. It's okay to go be left wanting. Sometimes, lucky is a state of mind...a choice. I am lucky, because I work to be so.