Another Amazing Divorce Essay, Not Mine

Today, I’m struggling through my first cold in over a year. It’s actually somewhat of a relief. I questioned whether my immune system was in overdrive this past year, never letting me get the colds that passed through the other family members in my household. I am the only one with this cold today; I am the beginning (and hopefully the end) point.

Instead of working on my book or tinkering away at essays today, I spent most of the day holed up in bed, with a box of tissue and a glass of water, trying to keep my nasty germs confined. I read and slept; read and slept; read and slept. Then I went to do the school pickup route and after-school activity runs. Now, I’m back in bed.

I’ve been seeing lots of blue jays lately. The other day, I read this phenomenal essay by Kerry Neville. This essay is about blue jays and divorce and the need for hope in our lives. Sometimes, divorce is necessary; sometimes it is the kindest thing we can do for our children and other family members. Don’t stay in the box if the box is killing you.

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A photo of me taken the summer I turned 30; Getting a nose ring did not free me from my box.

A Rilke Sonnet in a Month of Dental Pain

Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. And as you ring,
what batters you becomes your strength.

Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, this intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world shall cease to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
And to the rushing water speak, I am.

Rainer Maria Rilke

The Challenge

The challenge now seems to be to hold our hearts open wide, in a continuous grieving for the victims of violence, some of it loud and dramatic, some silent and almost escaping notice; to feel how we breathe the same air, drink from the same well, look to the same fields for sustenance. The challenge in all of this collective heartache, is to remain soft enough inside to hold onto the kind of love that keeps us fighting for better days for all of humanity.

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Breaking the Cycle

I’ve been rear-ended three times in the past eleven months. The last rear-ending just happened on Saturday morning, on Yale’s campus, just blocks before I returned my rental car to Hertz, where they tried to hold me hostage until I would produce a claim number from the insurance company; the insurance company told me that the claim number would not be forthcoming until Monday. I asked my unpleasant Hertz customer service representative, named Tyler, if he’d like to keep me in the Hertz office until Monday morning. It seemed as if Tyler was upset that I had created work for him. He never, by the way, asked me if I was okay after having just been rear-ended fifteen or so minutes earlier.

The young man who rear-ended me was also quite nasty about the whole thing. He didn’t want to give me his insurance information and when I asked for it, took out his card and started writing incomplete (and illegible) information on a sheet of paper. Thank goodness for smart phones; I asked to photograph his insurance card and am grateful that I thought to do so, otherwise I’d have had no clue about his actual insurance information. This young man was annoyed that I had yielded for a pedestrian; clearly, I was making him late for something or another.

After about 45-minutes of distressing interactions with both the driver of the other vehicle and then, my Hertz representative, I was given a ride to Union Station (finally, the Hertz rep released me when I called my husband to tell him that I was being treated like a criminal and perhaps, being falsely imprisoned–because I went to law school once upon a time) to catch my train to NYC to visit my daughter.

The (different) Hertz employee who gave me that ride offered me some welcomed kindness and compassion. He asked about how I was feeling after the accident, he asked if I was a mother, he then wished me a Happy Mother’s Day; he also inquired after the health and well-being of my children, which I was pleased to report was good. He reminded me that our health and well-being were what really mattered. The rest was just things. On that ride to the station, I was mentally telling myself that bad things come in three’s. At the moment I was thinking this, the driver said to me, “Bad things come in three’s–you should be done now.” Confirmation? Oh I hope so. I had a series of three car accidents (none my fault) in 2005-2006, exactly ten years ago. I do hope I am done now, once again. That Hertz driver seemed like an angel, piloting me away from the horrible Hertz return center, where I thought I might be spending my weekend.

In spite of the rule of three’s (is it a rule, a superstition?), I find myself wanting to examine the energetic patterns in my life in 2005-2006 and to notice whether they, in any way, mirror the energetic patterns that have governed my life this past year. Is there something that I can do to break this current cycle, I wonder?

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