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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Valentine's Day, A Reflection On All I've Come to Love

This was the first Valentine's Day in 40 years that I either wasn't dating and in a relationship with someone or married.  This was also the last holiday that my husband and I celebrated last year, just before we separated, and I remember at that time thinking about how hard all of the holidays were going to be without a man in my life to share them with.  But for reasons I can only attribute to the grace of God, or perhaps the revelations that time and space have brought regarding the nature of my marriage, it hasn't been hard, not even a little bit.  

I don't say that with bitterness or vengeance, I more than anyone am shocked that I haven't grieved more or fallen into depression. I think part of the reason is because I don't have a lot of time to sit around and mope and pine for what was.  My mother's health related appointments and helping my daughter to adjust and getting her on the right path takes up a lot of my time already, and then with 12 hours of school factored into the equation it all equals for a pretty full and busy life.  But I must say that I attribute contentment more than anything else, as the basis for why I am so at peace with life.   

Since moving back to Texas I've made a concentrated effort to focus only on the day at hand and to try not to think too far into the future.  When I think about the future I can become unsettled and even fearful at times. I've been out of the workforce for 17 years, so I don't have a polished resume that makes me very appealing, and my age plays against me for so many positions because I'm not that far from the age when I should be retiring when instead I need to embark upon a career.  The separation also left me with a significant amount of debt and medical expenses that I am currently contemplating how to pay, which sadly may result in bankruptcy. It's not the way I want things to be, but due to my circumstances I'm not sure I have any other choice.  So when I start to consider my future with bankruptcy on my credit score it can all begin to look rather grim.  But any time my mind starts to wonder into those dark places, thankfully I have the presence of mind to halt my thoughts and re-focus.  

A year ago abandonment was my biggest fear, and then it happened and when I woke up the next day and the sun was still shining and I was still breathing, that was the moment that this peace, the peace that passes understanding, settled into my heart and it has not left me for one moment since. In the beginning I didn't think I would make it through the first day, then the next two weeks of packing and separating were so hard.  Giving up my home and adjusting to living with my mother was perhaps the hardest thing of all, which must make me sound very materialistic when that isn't the case at all.  But like any woman, my home is an expression of who I am and since being a wife and mother was all I had ever longed to be it was deeply personal.  My mother's house was an expression of her, and sadly, because of her problems with her eye sight and her age and ability it was a fairly dismal scene when I arrived.  But when I think back over the past year I can't help but become a bit emotional.  The Holy Spirit was with me and carried me through every day, and now a year later I can honestly say that Kate and I are both very happy here.  It's not perfect and it's not without its challenges, but it's good and I am content.

So when February rolled around and I began contemplating Valentine's Day I decided that rather than pulling the covers over my head, that Kate and I would celebrate loving our new life and reflect upon how much we've both grown over the past year. We talked over the menu and settled on spaghetti for me and cheesy alfredo for her for the main course. I added a box of Texas Cheese Toast, which we both love, and picked up a couple of small boxes of chocolates and some tiny heart shaped tea lights and we were set.  In the end my mom wanted to take us out to dinner and so we spent the evening at Red Robin, which is Kate's favorite restaurant, and had a lovely time together.  I made the spaghetti and alfredo for dinner on Wednesday night, but just gave Kate her little box of chocolates and I'll set the little tea lights aside for next year, perhaps.  As with everything in life over the past year, I don't hold too tightly to "details" and try to just take life as it comes, which has probably been one of the greatest lessons this experience has taught me. It makes life and living so much more enjoyable when I'm not rigid and inflexible. It doesn't mean that there aren't times when I might have preferred that things had played out differently, but it doesn't make the experience any less enjoyable if I just embrace what is and commit myself to it, in fact, sometimes the alternative ends up being so much better! We did celebrate with a few gifts, a new pair of tennis shoes and some clothes for Kate, which she needed, and I had specifically been saving some Swagbucks gift cards to purchase a few movies and so I rewarded myself with Victoria and two different adaptations of Pride and Prejudice.  Victoria arrived yesterday and I watched the first episode last night.  The two adaptations of Pride and Prejudice should be here next week, the one with Colin Firth, which I've never seen but hear is wonderful, should arrive on Monday.  I love movies, especially old movies from the 50 and 60's primarily, but I love period and British movies and television as well! In spite of my busyness I try to set aside time each week to enjoy doing the things that I love.  Balance is the key to contentment for me, and so I am intentional about mixing in a little fun and pleasure in with the duty of each day!

And speaking of the duties of the day.  I have a math test this afternoon that I need to review for, uck! Now there's a ghastly way to spend an hour of your life, at least it is for me!

Until then, my friends, take joy!


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