Monday, September 30, 2013


Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty." ~Mother Theresa

This week marks the third anniversary of my divorce.  It doesn't quite feel right to celebrate the ending of a covenant such as that.  Granted, it was necessary and the right move for us, but the thought of this makes me sad.

Yesterday I saw that a past love changed his status update to engaged.  That guy that was never going to get married again.  The one who brought me out of such a dark time.  I'm truly happy for him though.  That means he's healed.  He figured out how to finally love himself so he can now love someone else.

And last night I listened to the last voicemail I got from Wayne.  At the end of it he said "I love you."  Five days later he left.  I still can't figure out how this happened.  My love didn't fade - it's still as strong today as it was four months ago.  Broken and battered, but still there.  

But it's unwelcome.  


And that makes me feel unwanted.  

Unwanted.  Ouch.  Yeah... a failed marriage.  A discarded love.  A forgotten heart simply left behind.  They walked away and just left me standing there.

This takes me back to the nightmare class they called gym.  On dodge ball (AKA the cruelest game ever) day.  The worst.  The two coolest people got picked to be team captains.  Then they chose their friends: the popular kids; the athletic ones.  They went through the lines and, one by one, everyone is picked.  All I could do was pray that I wouldn't be last.  I mean, I had to be just a little bit better, a little cooler, than that kid at the end.  Every once in a while I ended up being that kid and it sucked.

Today I feel like that kid.  

I'm the last one in line.  

All the other kids have found a team.  

I am standing alone on the wall wishing I could fade into the cold cinder blocks. 

Now I get to Jesus-juke you.  Because it's OK that I'm last.  It doesn't matter that the cool kids didn't pick me.  I'm not the most popular.  I'm not the most athletic or the prettiest or even the most pulled together (far from it).  But there's one who chose me despite all of this and possibly because of it.  Jesus chose me.  He died on the cross for me.  He took every poke of that thorny crown and every swing of the hammer that forced the nails through his skin.  He did all that for me.  Because He loved me that much.  How could I let the fact that it didn't work with these guys take away from all of that?  

So, it doesn't matter that my ex and I couldn't work it out.  It doesn't matter that someone could just walk away.  What matters is that the love I've been given is so much greater than all of this.  And the love I have to give is so much greater than this.  And I know that someone very special is still waiting out there for me. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013


"The way Signor Brasini stopped, turned to his wife, put his big farmer's hands out and caressed her face.  Pulled her close to him and kissed her just like in the films.  He kissed her for a long time and then looked at her and smiled… And when I saw all that, I knew that their way would be my way.  Their way, not my father's...way - their way was how I wanted my life to be.  I knew that someday I would be loved by a man like Brasini.  I understood how things worked and how they didn't work." ~ Marlena De Blasi That Summer in Sicily

This is a story of a 9-year-old girl whose cold-hearted father sells her to a rich prince.  The prince inquires "How did you manage to emerge from such hurtful abandonment by your father without growing bitter yourself?"  She answered by telling of an experience she had in the market one day.

"Well", you're probably asking yourself, "why is this soccer mom writing about a little Italian girl?" It goes back to a challenge I was given to tell who my hero was from growing up.  I thought long and hard on this and realized that I didn't really have a person in my life that I would call hero.  I felt pretty bad about that but realized there had to be someone or something that motivated me to crawl out of the life I was born into.  Someone that made me believe in something better. 

My "Brasini" were the characters in my book.  Hundreds and probably thousands of books I kept my nose deeply buried in.  Every book in my school library was polished off.  Then I finished every last book at the public library close to my house.  The librarians would save the new books so that I could read them before anyone else.  

My books were my escape.  I lived in Narnia.  Then traveled through the universe on a tesseract.  You might find me swinging over a creek in Terabithia or solving mysteries with Encyclopedia Brown.  And then as I got older, murder mysteries to solve and then romances where the fair prince would come and steal me away from all of the pain.

But the characters - that was what hooked me.  Their normal families doing normal things in a house with a white picket fence.  "Their way was how I wanted my life to be."  They showed me there was something better.  There was no screaming and fighting.  No crying mom or worn-out dad.  No divorce.  No alcoholism.  In books I could be anyone.  I wasn't a scared, shy little girl who was afraid of her own shadow.  There were no limits as to where I could go or what I could do. Or to the kind of life I could have.  

I realize now that all of the fiction that I devoured caused me to romanticize every facet of my life:  my relationships, my career, and my family.  Just as I hid from reality in my books, I chose not to look at the reality of my reality.  I wanted to believe in the good.  I wanted everything to work out and I guess I thought if I just wished it that way that it would.  I mean - it always worked out in the books, right?

So, just as the books gave me my dreams, I have found a new set of heroes to help me rebuild my reality - a completely amazing community that is helping me to find my dreams and become the person I am meant to be.  It took me being broken to see through the fantasy world I had always hoped for into a little bit harsher, more serious world.  There is still beauty, but the sun does have to set, the thorns do make me bleed, and the prince may or may not carry me off into the sunset.  I am going to have to make it on my own.  I am going to have to make adult decisions and I won't always like the consequences.  But I have a feeling that the ending of this story is going to be ever so much better than any book I could write...

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What I Might Be...

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be." ~Lao Tsu

There is a positive side to being crushed and broken.  When your guts are exposed for all of the world to see, you are finally able to start seeing yourself for who you really are. Or aren't in my case.

You see - I was Superwoman.  

I could leap tall buildings with a single bound and traverse freeways at high speeds to get to a soccer game without getting a ticket or losing a kid.  I ran from one end of town to another because I was an awesome mom.  I stayed up until 4 a.m. to make cupcakes so everyone would know what a perfect family we had.

I was the fixer.  

I was the one to make everything better because I was so good at it.  I was the strong one.  I could face giants with just my slingshot and battle evil Principals to advocate for my children.  I was the loyal one.  I stuck it out even though the marriage had torn me to shreds and daily stole a little bit more of my soul.  Because it was the right thing to do.

I was the karate kid.

I earned my blackbelt in my early 40's.  I was a ultra-marathon athlete (5k actually) climbing over foreboding obstacles and crawling through the mud.  I was the biggest loser who lost 80 pounds in 6 months.  I worked out not to get in shape, but because I didn't want to be the fat bride in the wedding pictures when that finally happened.  I spend a small fortune on clothes and shoes and jewelry so I can look great for a guy because I am so afraid that he is going to see me for who I really am - a 42-year-old divorced mom with a few more stretch marks than she would like vegging in shorts and a tank top.  

I am a fraud.

I am not really any of those things - strong, confident, together, Superwoman, fixed.  What I am is a scared little girl that has no real idea how to make it in this world.  I am fighting by instinct alone, having grown up without any guidelines as to what a normal family is.  I don't know how to be a great mom while working 50 hours a week.  I am afraid to write what is really on my heart because I am so scared I am going to hurt someone else's feelings - totally disregarding my own.

I am afraid.

I am still that scared little girl in St. Jerome's playground sitting on the curb afraid to talk to anyone because I am afraid that no one will really like me when they see who I really am.  I am a frazzled, wannabe soccer mom who desperately wants a normal family with a dad and mom and a white picket fence, not a two bedroom apartment in the middle of 1300 other apartments that is a mess because today we had to run to karate, cub scouts, two soccer games on the other end of town, the grocery store, Wendy's drive -in, parent teacher conferences and then back to Walgreen's because the girls have a project due tomorrow and it's already way past their bedtime.  So I'll drive across town to meet you not because I'm so cool but because after all of that, I didn't have time to wash the dishes or make my bed.  

I am broken.

But now, being broken, all the pieces are laid out before me now like a shattered mirror.  I can see every imperfection reflecting back at me.  I can still see the good stuff too but I'm able to put them in perspective now.  I know all of the pieces are going to be put back together as I heal.  It won't be perfect.  It might not even be pretty.  Not all the pieces will fit just right, so there may be some extra putty holding it there.  But I know God will be that putty and if I just give in a be who I am instead of who I want everyone to think I am, it will be ok.  I will be ok.  And now I get to start seeing just who I might be...