I don't know how long this "honeymoon" phase of love lasts, but it's going on for quite a while now. No doubt it's quite disgusting to observe, so we do our best to leave our coos, hugs and over-the-top adoration for behind closed doors. And I'm sure some life-cynic will happily squash my joy and say that my marriage will inevitably fade to comfort and routine, but for now, I'm lovin' it. I just got back from a 5 day business trip and it really caused us to be grateful towards each other and re-ignited the fire. We realized what it is to be apart and "lose" the one you love, so we are reconnecting all over again.
And for those nay-sayers.... of course my marriage has ups and downs and we have our squabbles and tiffs too.... but that's all part of the equation and helps maintain the balance. So bully you! I'm in love and I don't care what you haters say! ;-P
the fine line between contemplation and dwelling...
I find that I dwell on things that are irrational or pointless to dwell upon because it cannot be changed. In a recent conversation with a friend, we have found we do the same. We dwell in fear of "what would happen if" we were to lose our spouses. It's funny how the human brain tends to gravitate towards misery, even when it's happy.
I'm happy right now... the happiest I've ever been. I just got married on New Year's Eve and I have never been so content. Except that I am now waiting for the proverbial "other shoe to drop". It's like... I'm expecting something bad to happen because I have finally, after 36 years, found happiness. I know I deserve it, it's nothing like that.... I don't know how to describe it, other than a fear of losing what I have now that I finally have it.
I experienced a hard loss in the family recently and I had such deep empathy for the wife. I imagined it being me and wondered what would happen if *I* lost my spouse. You think your life is set... you've found "the one" you are going to grow old with and spend the rest of your life loving.. but then fate steps in and robs you of that happiness. And you have no control over it.
So how do we learn to push that fear down? How do we acknowledge that it's always a possibility but don't let it paralyze us from living our lives to it's fullest? It's all well and good to say that we shouldn't dwell on the inevitable, but how do you stop it? How does one learn to live fully in the moment?
Perhaps it's time I get meditation and reflection back into my life.... but not too much reflection!
As I have been contemplating kick starting this blog again... and/or possibly starting another..... I thought about a cousin of mine that used to enjoy reading my blog. I didn't ever give this blog address out to any friends or family, rather, I enjoyed the anonymity of blogging without having to worry about self-editing of my thoughts.
I had created a separate blog for friends and family 5 years ago when I went on a 3 month trip to Israel, and kept this one on the go at the same time. But when I returned from my trip my "friends and family blog" fell by the wayside as I focused on this blog once again. So my cousin (my mother's cousin, I guess.. he's her age) poked around the internet a bit until he found this one and he secretly read it. I started to catch on when my site tracker on both blogs reflected his location, and he did eventually confess to me that he couldn't help it, he just loved to read my blog. He promised he wouldn't ever reveal to anyone what I wrote on here, understanding that I confessed things on here that I didn't to my family. I was flattered that he enjoyed my writing so much and trusted that he would keep mum about what he read, which he did.
So a few days ago I wondered if he was still checking in here once in a while or if I'd have to let him know I dusted it off. And no sooner did I think about him, wondered how he was, and if he'd be happy to read this again, then I got the news that he had passed away. My mother called me on Monday and sobbed that his wife had gone to the bedroom to say good night to him after he went to bed early, and she found that he was gone....
I've been so sad since. He would have liked me carrying this on..... would have enjoyed reading my silly thoughts on world issues and my tales of life and love. I'll miss him and maybe I'll hope he's still reading, somehow.... somewhere....
I'm torn. On one hand, I feel like starting a new blog with a new persona and a completely different focus. On the other hand, the events in Egypt recently make me want to dive back into this blog... which is basically a blog of my personal rambles, peppered with social commentary (often focused on the Middle East).
Can't decide, but feeling the need for blogging again. Got stuff in my head I need to work through and have always found blogging to be good for that......
I know I keep saying it, but I'm thinking of dipping my foot back into the blogging pool again. I've always said I started blogging for a reason, and a need at the time, and now my blogging has dwindled as the need dissipated.... But now I feel a new need... but this might require a new blog. I'll to think about it. Maybe I can mesh the concept of this blog and my new direction, but I'm not sure...
Ok, so I disappeared for a bit. I have good reason! I have been busy rescuing a pregnant cat just in time for her to have a litter of babies in my home. You can read all about it here. She had them November 25th and that has kept me quite busy, thank you very much.
But let's go back to my last post for a moment, because it was interesting..... my volunteering experience! In a mosque! Yes indeed, I took an old friend up on an offer (see more about the friend in the prior post) and I joined him at his mosque to help feed the masses, by working in a soup kitchen for the day. I even wore a hijab out of respect, and by doing so I gained some insight into the thinking of the Muslim women I worked along side...
First and foremost, it was a wonderful experience. I was very warmly received by everyone and would certainly volunteer there again. I enjoyed myself immensely and welcomed the opportunity to help tear down any misconceptions I may have about Muslims (especially as a Jew). That being said, I was also assumed to be Muslim because of the hijab, and so I saw a candid side to my new Muslim sisters.
At one point in the conversation (while we worked away making sandwiches) one woman was telling another about her job; seems the company she had been working for had recently been taken over by another company, and at that point all the employees were asked if they wished to stay or wanted to be packaged/bought out. So far so good, right? Then she said to her friend that naturally she took the package because she didn't want to work for a Jewish company.
I'm pretty sure my spine stiffened up as I felt the remark tweak me in a weird way. I wouldn't say I was angry.... so much as curious. What would happen if she did work for a "Jewish company"? Did she think she would get 'ripped off' by the Jews, somehow? Did she not like what values said company might have? Did she really dislike Jews THAT much?? I was confused by this statement but decided to simply be an observer to what was going on; I didn't feel like it was my place to start a debate, nor did I particularly care to engage in one. I just found it interesting. She said it so matter-of-fact-ly.... not even with a tone of hate or venom. It just sounded like.... naturally she wouldn't want to work for Jews! Duh!
Then came the time for us all to gather as the homeless and hungry began filing into the hall for their free meal; it was sort of a pep talk and small prayer to Allah all rolled into one. It was interesting to note that the majority of people coming into the mosque to eat were not, in fact, Muslim at all. Causasian... Chinese... all races came through the doors, though mostly Chinese. And one of the young girls (about 13 yrs old) turned to me as these people went by and the dialogue went a little like this:
girl: "Why are the Chinese people here?" me: "Because they're hungry." girl: "We'll feed them even though they're not Muslim??" me: "Yes. I believe the point here today is for you to learn love and tolerance for all races/religions."
And that was the part that struck me as odd about the whole experience; here were these wonderfully giving people.... here to do right by their God and serve humanity..... but they often seemed to be missing the point. It completely baffled me! Work for Jews and feed the Chinese?? Unthinkable!
Like I said, it was a learning experience and I will more than likely do it again. It has enriched my life and outlook and I'm sure there's work to be done still on my own perceptions. At least we were all there for the same reason, and on that day, people didn't have to go hungry.
Before I go, let me share one other interesting thing.... A few days after volunteering at the mosque I was driving around when I accidentally picked up someone else's iPod broadcast on my radio (it can happen when you have it tuned to a certain "blank" station and don't have your own iPod playing.... you hear what someone else is playing if they are driving near you). And what I heard was this song.... and I thought it was really quite catchy and I enjoyed it... and it reminded me of my volunteering time.
A very odd thing is happening to me.... not only am I becoming the happiest I can ever really recall being (thanks to a lifetime of depression) but I seem to have a compulsion recently to.... volunteer. It's just weird.
Ok, volunteering in of itself is not weird. I believe it's a very noble cause and I have always admired those who did. But for me it's weird. I think the only real volunteering I did was in Israel in 2005, where we did some painting, worked a soup kitchen, and I helped at an animal shelter (where I cried and cried because strays are treated with such terrible disregard in Israel). I am admittedly lazy and selfish when it comes to volunteering coz I want my free time to myself to laze about.
But last week I volunteered to take in an abandoned pregnant cat, named Blossom. It defies all logic as I have neither the space nor finances to do so, but I couldn't turn away from the fact that this cat was facing the prospect of raising her babies in a Home Depot. So I took her in and now I'm awaiting the birth of her babies, after which I shall endeavour to find homes for her kittens (won't be difficult) and for her (much more difficult).
And then in my ridiculously happy mood I decided to finally follow up on a promise I made over a year ago to volunteer in a soup kitchen. Not weird right? Now what if I said it was in a mosque? This all came about when I befriended an associate in a Home Depot who was very happy to meet me, especially upon finding out that he knew my brother from when he was a rep like me, travelling and visiting Depots. Whenever I visited this store my new Muslim friend and I would get into fascinating political and spiritual conversations, as only a Jew and a Muslim can. It was a wonderfully open dialogue and a real effort to bridge the gap created by world politics and fanatics making a mess out of things. We asked genuine questions of each and sought real understanding. I *loved* visiting that store if for no other reason than to see my friend.
He has since moved up in the Depot world and no longer works in a store, but in the head office. So I no longer get to speak with him like I used to, but we have made an effort to email each other once in a while. I decided this week that I am finally in a place where I am ready to give back. I have had one of the very worst years of my life and am happy to say that I am coming out the other side of it. And I am better for it.
I'm ready to lend a hand and help others who are still in that dark tunnel. And if working in a soup kitchen this Saturday in a mosque does that, then great. If I happen to learn and gain something from the experience, all the better. I just know that I am looking to practice gratitude for what I have and stop looking at what I don't have or have lost. The glass, as they say, is half full.
people search for the damnedest things... and find ME!
I'd just like to give a shout to the individual who searched for "manurses wild gets eaten" and somehow, by the magic of Google, found me. And to think there were only two hits for that search, and I was the FIRST! What luck!
A second shout out goes to @fatlos4dummies for givin' me props/a mention on her Twitter page! Not sure how you found me, but thanks and welcome!
A funny thing is happening in my life right now..... I'm making some really awesome friends. And there are few reasons why I find this interesting (probably more interesting than you will find it, but I'll do my best to weave this into an interesting story for you...)
Firstly, I have lost a couple of good friends this past few months. That is to say, I know more or less where they are, but for one reason or another they have exited from my life. I find this tends to happen when I hit life changing rough patches in my life; the last time this happened was in 2005. I ended up moving to Israel for 3 months while I sorted myself out. I had this epiphany that there were people in my life that didn't deserve my time and there were those that did and I wasn't giving nearly enough of it to. I examined my friendships, took note of the ones that gave back and the ones that didn't and weeded them out accordingly. For the most part it wasn't hard; the ones I let go were the ones in which *I* had to always make the effort to see them, so all I had to do was stop calling and trying to make plans to see them and it more or less took care of itself. I found this culling of the herd freed my time up to give it to those I really cared about and who really mattered in my life. I also found that ridding myself of energy vampires relieved me of a lot of stress and took a great weight off my shoulders.
Anyway, I accept that this is natural process in life and that it will happen many times over the course of my life. I have friends I have known for 25+ years and I have friends that I have only known a few weeks or months, and then they exited. People come and go in your life, and often leave when you have learned whatever it was that you were supposed to learn from them. I also find that you really do truly find out who your friends are in times of crisis, as I had been over the summer and fall. I just had one of my best friends of 15 or more years, walk away over a misunderstanding on Facebook. FACEBOOK, people! More than anything I think I was just shocked and hurt that a friendship that could last that long was taken down by something so silly as Facebook. I guess it wasn't the friendship I thought it was. And frankly, the timing couldn't have been worse as my stress level was just maxing out as I was closing up the sale of my house, fighting with my ex over finances (which will now go to court) and trying to get ready to move to a new home. I needed that friend's support at that point more than ever but somehow the friendship failed. *sigh*
Ok, I'm digressing. My second point on why this is so fascinating (that I'm making some awesome friends right now), is because it just isn't easy to make friends as an adult. When you're kids in a sandbox or in school, it's easy making friends. But outside of maybe work.... how do adults make friends? And it can be a very awkward thing...
Take my job for example. I am a sales rep, going in and out of Home Depot and Lowe's stores all day. I see the same people every 2 weeks or so and I get to know them very well. I know the names of their husbands, wives, kids... I know what medical tests they are having done.... what pets they have.... the whole thing. And they get to know me too. It's part of my job, but it's also part of my personality. I like my job because I have friends in pretty much every store (and I have 30 stores).
Then one day I was having lunch with one of these store associates and we were really hitting it off. During the course of the conversation she said she would really love for me to meet her husband and kids one day... and I said sure, that would be nice... in that "one day we will" kind of way. She then suggested that we do it that day after work, and I thought.... why not? Here is an opportunity to make a new friend and she is a really cool cat.... so why the heck not? But I gotta tell ya, it's sometimes weird taking it to the next level of friendship... outside of work. Now, I have successfully done this with one or two others before, but it's still weird seeing people outside a work environment. But how else do you make friends as an adult? As a point, I was also kinda employing the "Yes Man" philosophy at that point in my life and was forcing myself to say yes to opportunities I would normally say no to in order to open myself up to more socialization and experiences. As it turns out I had a great time with her family and I can happily add another fabulous friend to my roster. I can tell her anything and I know I have a good friend that I can fully trust. I love it!
And now I have two new friends that I am really enjoying. Both I met online, though one lives in Texas and is too far away to meet in person.... but I have a feeling we'll finally meet one day. And the other is another kindred spirit going through a similar rough patch recently as myself and so we understand each other quite well. We are both slow to warm up to people as we have recently had our trust put in a blender and shredded to bits. Trust comes slow to us both now, but since we're in the same boat, we understand and are patient with each other. It's awesome. I like watching the friendship slowly bloom as we take our time getting to know each other and to build the trust.
So there. I am makin' some new friends and it's making me very happy right now. How do YOU make new friends?
P.S. Will someone who is smarter than me please tell me how to fix my layout so that the damn bullets on the sidebar don't come poking into the main column of my blog? It drives me nuts and I have tried desperately to fix it, but html just isn't my strong suit. Where's My Big Gay Daddy?? You're smart like that!!