Posts Tagged ‘divorce’

I’ve been in between pay checks since May. That’s a long time to be in between paychecks. This seems to be one of the other things that isn’t really clear about divorce — you have to learn to live on your own… financially. Everything was working out well until the last week (that’s usually the case, right?). I found myself down to the bare essentials. Making sure I had pancakes for breakfast and chips for the lunch boxes, oh… and of course chocolate milk. I remembered a money jar I had in my closet and decided I would cash it in — this would be the financial bridge I needed for the last remaining days of my own personal economic crunch.

I cashed in the jar and was amazed that it held $79.98 — amazed! My semi-stressed mood soared like I had just opened the door to the “Prize Patrol”. I clutched my winnings tight to my chest and headed straight for the gas station. My oversized-4-wheel-drive-gas-guzzling car had been screaming for a small drink of petrol all morning. I proudly walked inside and handed a crisp $20 bill to the attendant. Then proceeded to head back out to pump my gas (all the while thinking about how I would splurge at Starbucks after work on a venti sugar-free soy mocha hazelnut — nectar of the gods). On my walk back to my car, I also started thinking about buying something special for dinner that night — maybe I would splurge on shrimp and salmon at the store after work (the kids love shrimp and salmon night). There was a definite spring in my step at this point and I even took the time to smile coyly at a couple of customers as I approached my car. My phone rang and I couldn’t wait to answer it and tell whoever happened to be on the other end about that money jar and the $79.98. I listened intently as my friend told me about her morning and what was happening with work and where we were going to meet later on, then I mentioned that money jar and how bleak I was feeling before but now was walking on the sun with my winnings. I drove away and finished my conversation then cranked up the tunes as my new favorite song was playing — perfect timing. I was living in the zenest of moments. Then it dawned on me… I forgot to pump my gas.

I got so caught up in the feeling that I drove away without my $20 of gas… and for a brief second, my world stopped spinning. I turned the radio off, I screamed obscenities at the top of my lungs, I berated my careless behavior in such a financially poor time, and I thought about going back. I had just wasted $20 at a time when I couldn’t afford to be so careless.

But then, I let my imagination have its way with me — I imagined that another single mother of three in more dire need than me was steeling herself to pump her car full of gas and then speed away without paying. I imagined she had no other choice, I imagined she had no food at her house, I imagined her electricity was about to be cut off, I imagined her cell phone had long been disconnected. I imagined her kids needed shoes and clothes and food — I imagined they needed food. I imagined she cried herself to sleep trying to come up with a solution. I imagined she was out of solutions. I imagined she was young and scared and alone. I imagined she got caught, I imagined her children lonely and scared and crying for their mom. Then I imagined that she drove up to my pump to do her deed, and there… waiting for her, was $20 in gas. Just enough, I imagined, to get her to that job interview and secure her financial future for her and her kids. Just enough, I imagined, to give her hope for her future. Just enough, I imagined, to let her wake up to a new day. All because of my $20 that I forgot to pump.

So, I turned the radio back up and another amazing song was on — and I sang along at the top of my lungs and a tear fell down my face — a new day. I stopped at the next gas station and gave the attendant another crisp $20 bill from my money jar winnings. I laughed. I smiled at my forgetfulness. I decided I might do this again… on purpose this time. Leave $20 of gas for an unsuspecting single mother of three to find just in the nick of time to save her from herself.

I still had enough for my splurge at Starbucks and for the shrimp and salmon. All in all, a pretty good day. I’m filling my money jar back up… I wonder what stories it will have next month.

I developed a severe crush on this video and this project — I think you will too.

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I guess it comes as no surprise to some and a big surprise to others that in a few days, I will be officially single…again, after nearly eighteen years of marriage. I’ve made a point to tell only a few people, those that I have a bond with or those I have felt comfortable sharing such intimate news — the words are sometimes difficult to form. They sometimes don’t want to leave my lips. They sometimes get stuck in my throat. Not because I’m unsure of this particular path down which my journey through life is leading me — I came to grips with this a while ago, but more because of the way it is perceived by others.

My best friend had been separated from her husband and on the verge of divorce for months before she told me of their marital problems. She was embarrassed to admit that “she failed”. That’s what divorce is in our society, a failure. So when my turn came around to disclose information to her  — I was less than forthcoming as well. I held off on some important details until after our initial exchange on the subject…I sent her a text message that said, “I’m getting divorced and need to talk to my best friend”. She called within minutes and we talked of marriage and divorce and friends and life — and there were no questions I didn’t want to answer and there were no judgements I didn’t need to hear.

I don’t view my divorce as a failure or as a mistake or as a mid-life crisis or as an act against God (more on that later) — it is a choice to continue, to grow, to leap. I think some things in life come to us without offering a choice — they just are. Those are the things that really shape us by forcing us to make decisions about ourselves — we can’t really decide to change certain things, but we can decide to change ourselves. Somethings aren’t always about changing — somethings are meant to stay the same and we are meant to change… to avoid, to circumvent, to move past.

I don’t necessarily think the things or the people that we encounter in our lives are wrong in their steadfastness — we each are responsible for our own outcome. They simply choose to remain stuck and we choose to move forward. Sometimes we move forward in huge bounds and sometimes… sometimes much more frequently, we move forward by living daily in the small victories. Small victories that have meaning to us… and that’s the way it should be.

I think, for me, I’ve been stuck in the “big picture” and not realizing that the small daily victories have been leading me on and comforting me. Small daily victories like seeing a familiar face or hearing a comforting voice or reading carefully chosen words or writing… sometimes, just sometimes, the small victories add up and make the huge leaps seem much easier to navigate. Life isn’t always about the “big picture” or the enormous leaps. I’m beginning to take the small victories and embrace them, I’m beginning to take the small victories and cherish them — I’m beginning to notice the small victories. Small victories, the greatest wish of all.

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