Sometimes everything has to be enscribed across the heavens so you can find the one line already written inside you. Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that small, bright, and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart. David Whyte

Goodness At the Grocery Store

Nourishment in many forms
Stories appear that please my soul
Kindness offered without charge
At my local grocery store

Monday specials called to me
I headed out with handy walker
Whose compartment’s storage space
Has room for Lean Cuisine

Six-box limit I well know
And how to pack groceries myself
I skillfully rearrange my food
After checking out

The bagger that day newly hired
Packing while I paid my bill
Had ideas of his own
Of just how things should go

When I stopped to do my thing
Repacking groceries properly
I saw amazed his handiwork
Surely had done the job for me

It was too late to go back
To thank this wonderful young man
I hope he felt the joy I found
Exchanged in his creative gift


Writing 101,Day Four: The Serial Killer

In the posts for assignments about music yesterday, many writers talked about losses of relationships and sadness and moving on. I reflected that I married my two serious relationships and later divorced them when things were not working  out. It was a different time. I’m sure I felt loss after the divorce of my first husband, the father of my children. Tomorrow would have been our 55th wedding anniversary. We divorced in 1990 after thirty years of marriage. I married my second husband in 1995. We were married eighteen years and divorced a year ago. My story is not about divorce, though, but about what followed.

My first husband and I  were high school sweethearts. We had the traditional 50’s wedding. It was followed by the birth of three sons, buying our first home,  performing the expected male/female division of labor, and in the 60’s (not in the original playbook) growing apart into a parallel marriage. During our marriage I was alone in body and soul. I created a life for myself but was still lonely. I went to theological seminary to get a Masters of Divinity degree.  When my last son went off to college I completed my degree and only then felt free to strike off on my own. I asked for a divorce and received it. I pastored a little 150 year old church in a semi-rural area not far from the city where my former husband lived and where our sons returned to from time to time. My primary emotion during the upheaval of divorce was anger – an expression of my feelings not “allowed” in the context of my marriage.I learned to use  anger to fuel my breaking our of a very stuck place. I grieved what I could not give my sons in the way of a stable family and home. I did not regret my new freedom.

Several years later I went to my 40th high school reunion. My former husband was there with a lovely woman who was now his companion. Another classmate arrived with a photo album of pictures he had taken during elementary school, including one of me. He showed me the picture and asked if I knew that he had been in love with me in the 6th grade. I laughed and replied “No”. I wasn’t interested in boys then. That was the beginning of many conversations and my eventual decision to move to the city where he lived and marry him. I thought my sons would think me giddy but I was determined to follow my bliss. We had an untraditional wedding and lived an unconventional life. We had a great story! But not a true foundation. In time my husband spent more and more time with his work and later his grandchildren. Again I created a life for myself.  Now that I have left him I have so many memories that are triggered by music, reading about the places where we traveled, having supper alone, picturing the space I lived in with him, remembering my dreams of “what might have been” and  feeling the emptiness of living alone for the rest of my life. And knowing that I am where I belong. I’m grateful for my tears and the softness inside that reminds me of the good things we had together. He has a new wife now who suits him well. And I’m beginning a new life again, back where I started.

In the midst of my marriage to my second husband, my first husband re-entered my life. By then two of my sons and their families had moved back to their original home town. We’d all get together in one of my son’s home for Christmas. By then the family had grown to sixteen people, including my first husband’s companion and my second husband. As years went by my first husband and I reconnected over our long history and sharing grandchildren. When I flew to visit family he would pick me up at the airport. Now that I have moved back to where I began, he regularly invites me out for coffee and our conversations continue. In March he, his companion and I traveled together to our 60th high school reunion. The other day while we had coffee he was trying to think of the name of a cousin of his he hasn’t seen in a long time. I came up with her name. Later I realized that I am the only person on earth he could have had this conversation with. I know he has my back as long as we’re alive, but this is far more than that assurance. We are in a place beyond marriage. There is a saying that in Ghana you don’t know where you are going and you don’t know how to get there yet you arrive just the same.