Wednesday, February 29, 2012

How Did I Get Here?

Maybe it's last Sunday's sermon on transformaton (thank you Dr. Larry Thomas of University Christian Church, Fort Worth), but I am sort of hung up on how I got to be the person I am today, compared to the woman I was forty years ago. I had no sudden transformation, as the one Dr. Thomas described when a  young black lawyer gave up his reluctance to work for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his life was suddenly transformed. I think of my good friend Elizabeth, who just spent ten days or more at a yoga retreat in India--surely her life has been transformed--but then again, she's undergone a gradual transformation in the last seven or eight  years. I think that's what mine has been--really, really gradual which may mean I'm a slow learner.
But the girl I was at thirty put up with and accepted a lot of things the woman I am today never would.  Some of them have to do with issues from my marriage, when I am quite sure I was not the advocate for my chldren that I should have been. From swimming lessons to punishment issues to exposure to substance abuse, I failed to protect them and it is only dumb good luck that they themselves have turned out to be such good citizens and terrific parents--and still loving children. Yes, I gave them love, but in retrospect, that wasn't enough. We tell ourselves love conquers all but it doesn't--for one thing, it needs to be accompanied by security. I would do it differently if I could do it over as the person I am today.
What was different? I think I was scared, mostly of a future I couldn't see through the murk. I'm not sure how I've gotten what I now feel is a much clearer vision that lets me look ahead without fear, even with anticipation. I've found a strength I didn't know I had, never even suspected--and I think I've done it inch by painful inch.
I am also these days more passionate about causes, less insensitive to suffering and injustice in the world. The earlier me, like so many of us, accepted those things as the way of the world. What could I, as one person, do to change things? Today, probably to the dismay of some I love, I do believe I can help change things for what I believe is right. And, as I wrote last night, re-posting on Facebook is one of those ways--I don't just re-post about endangered dogs, I re-post about the current political outrageousness in this country. I am not able to support politicians I believe in financially, but I will do what I can in this coming year, contribute what skills I have, open my house again. I believe strongly that I am my brother's keeper, and I support politicians who show concern for education, health care, the environment, the world we leave for our children. Of course, my concern for fairness, leads me to express great anger at rude drivers, which is probably a waste of energy. Colin said, "You let that upset you?" when someone cut him off. "You're going to be upset a lot if you do that." Somewhere there's a line, but I guess I haven't found it yet. Ah, well, transformation is an ongoing project.
Topic for another night's musings: how did I get where I am professionally, from the frightened young woman who told herself she wanted to be a writer and sat in front of her typewriter--yes, I'm that old!--and thought I'd write if I knew what to write.
Life is so funny--but we learn so much. That's one of the beauties of our golden years. Yeah, there's still a thin, thirty-year-old, carefree girl who lives inside me-she's just much smarter now.

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