I have had an amazing and hectic week. But a good one, nonetheless.
I am still riding the high of a writer’s retreat I had the privilege of attending at the end of last month. THANK YOU, LAURA! For all too short a time, twelve amazing women gathered, unplugged from the outside world and stretched our “selfs” with pen, paper (both virtual and actual) and support. We were strangers when we arrived and good friends when we hugged and went back to our lives. Yes, it CAN happen that quickly and deeply. And that is true magic.
One of the other great things I came away with was a renewed and revitalized awareness of the signs that come to us in quite interesting coincidences.
I grew up accustomed to betrayal from women. I could blame it mostly on Mom, but that is a trite excuse. Having taken on the role, and having stumbled with it, I can’t put it all in one ashtray. The more I think about it, we have some kind of intrinsic instinct to compete with, for, and against one another. In my experience, I did not encounter a lot of the alternative: nurturing. But I have learned it as well as learning to know which women are worthy of my trust and who I should encounter with caution. I trust myself. I need to nurture and be nurtured. Both require the willingness to be vulnerable and tender. But watch the radar…
The ladies of the retreat were universally supportive, nurturing and tender to one another. When you multiply that times the sacred number twelve, the room becomes illuminated with light and love. It is an experience beyond most words — even from a wordsmith. In numerology, when you add 1+2 and get three, another sacred number is born. Trilogy is all around us. Father, son, holy ghost. Wounder, wounded, healer. Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar at the adoration of the Christ child. Saint, sinner, redeemer.
So it did not escape my notice, that, after the incredible opening of hearts in Montana last month, I have received three requests to consider reopening my own heart. Opportunities for healing and reconciliation? A new bond to be forged? Hmmm….. Was this something I wanted?
The first one came from a friend from Chicago. They were going to be traveling through my rural area. She is a good person who struggled mightily with addictions and has come out the other side. Her journey involved not only her own demons, but several family deaths, a dire illness of her spouse with a lengthy recovery not to mention the normal and requisite bullshit of a life of abundance when one chooses not to walk to the standard drumbeat of prosperous suburban life. In her non sober life, she had let many people down. Myself included. I had walked away over a decade ago. But her journey is an inspiration to all who struggle with demons — or daemons. Let’s hear it for Facebook.
The second one was a girl, the daughter of a beloved caregiver, we had taken in to afford her the opportunity to get on the right path. Get a career, save money, find a job and move toward independent life. These were her aspirations. Instead, she stole money from my then pre-teen children and helped herself to three of my rings — including my mother’s wedding ring. I walked away after seeing that she had a felony conviction. They still think I overreacted.
The third was a friend who, though quite beautiful, couldn’t put down the bottle or the hooka. I learned how to bail a person out of jail thanks to her. This after her housesitting services rendered my lower level a kennel for my neglected dogs. I was more tolerant of insanity then. Being used to betrayal brings that gift as a bonus.
In the past month I have heard from all three.
My sober friend and I reconnected in a most healthy and wonderful way. We picked up right where we had left it so long ago. Sober, she is the delightful, generous and wonderful friend that had been presented when we met. It is so good to have the healthy friendship back. Forgiveness, repentance, admittance of frailties and flaws from both of us to one another is a great spackle to heal.
But what to do about the other two women of this odd cosmic triangle?
The first one is sort of a slam dunk for me. There has never been an apology for the betrayal, the loss of a treasured memory of my mother, the fact that somehow in her moral world it is okay to steal from seven year olds. There WAS an e-mail several years ago talking about how she was “in a better place” and “had a job and a small apartment”. But the words “I’m sorry.” or “I regret” have never been put to paper or crossed her lips. AND THAT MATTERS! Her contact came to me through that nebulous instrument, Facebook. It was a friend request. I guess the definition of friend is as fluid as justifying betrayal to good people who believed in you. I emphasize past tense here. Further, she has negatively affected our relationship with the only “grandma” my children knew. A mother, after all, is loyal… But I will NEVER accept that I “overreacted”.
“Mary, she had a CAVITY search when she was arrested!”
I didn’t send her to a spa. I had her arrested, quite rightly.
The third of the trilogy is much more disconcerting. When I left Chicago, there were several people with whom I did not share our leaving. I did this specifically and intentionally. She was one of them. The last contact I had was when she bopped into my driveway in the middle of the week, at dinner, on a school night and couldn’t string a subject/object/predicate together to make a coherent sentence. She wanted to smoke pot in my backyard, but “wasn’t an addict”. And now I get a note out of the blue to my snail mail. She knows my address, knows my twitter address, has seen my blog. What did I expect by getting a blog, Twitter account, and seeking recognition/support for my writing? In my naivete, I thought I was still anonymous. Hidden. That no one really followed me anyway. (Maybe that is the gift of this experience.) Her letter was also all about her journey. It was an attempt to apologize. It was a sincere attempt. I accept that she is, at least, aware of some of the damage done.
But I don’t know that I want that connection renewed.
I found out that I have been “unfriended” (who know that would become a verb?) by several people on Facebook. That is perfectly okay. When the whole FB “thing” started I thought it was cool to reconnect with people I hadn’t seen or talked to in years. I have learned that, sometimes, there is a reason. I don’t take it personally. They are okay. I am good. I don’t need to be friends with everyone I have ever encountered for any length of time. What I need is a heart connection with people who operate from a place of honor and integrity.
So, no thank you, Fox. I accept your apology. I wish you well. I will occasionally think of ”The Beaver Song” and smile. And no, to my audience, it is not vulgar. Bawdy, but not vulgar. Just sayin’.