Friday, June 27, 2008


Sometimes change comes so fast that it leaves you breathless.

I generally avoid changes like these because they're so uncomfortable. Even a breathless change takes a few months to fully bloom. Thank God for time. Thank You for time to unfold change. What would we do without it?

A few months from now I know that my life will have a new feel to it. I know it without a doubt because I've been through these changes before even though I've tried to avoid them. I know this change is simply a change and that the point is to stay neutral no matter what, but I have to say I'm pretty excited.

Why do we get excited about change? Do we imagine that the external change will change us inside? Of course, it never does and then we have to deal with ourselves in a new environment or set of circumstances. The problems that get resolved by a change morph into a new set of problems for our egos to crack open over time. This is what makes storytelling great -- when one set of problems gets exchanged for a new set of problems. This is what makes the Bible such a great book. Never ending change, never ending problems to deal with and it is relentless.

And, yet we still believe in improvement and progress. We're so funny.

Today I am happy. I am in a committed relationship that I'm so proud of it brings tears to my eyes just to think of it. This man has come to me and met me where I am and loves me in spite of everything that I've done and keep on doing in spite of my best intentions to be changed! He says luck has nothing to do with it, but I don't know how to express how I feel about it other than to say, "I feel very lucky."

He's moving here as early as next week because he has been offered a good job, better than the one he has now. The rest of the summer will be about deciding how we live. Will we move in together? Will we stay separate for a while longer? What is the best thing for our financial well-being? What is the best thing for our hearts? What is the best thing for the children? They say they want to live together, but do they really? Are they ready to have a black man in their lives for the rest of their lives, just because Mom is ready? Should I even be concerned about that? Is there anyway to live my life if I only think of their lives?

My son said, "I will be the only kid in my class with a black step-father. I will be the most different of everyone." He also said, "I hope you marry him, Mom."

My daughter is all wrapped up in the trappings of the wedding -- though we may decide eloping is the wisest option. In fact, this is a moral question as well. Do I believe we should be married before we live together? Am I that old-fashioned? In a way I am, not so much for me but for my kids. Again, I find it difficult to make a decision about any of this without considering how it impacts them.

My hope is that we'll live together because I believe that the stability card will trump the fear card. I feel like it is a deep shift, deeper than I know, and so even though I hope one thing, I will take as much of a breath as I can take during this breathless change. I must find patience in my large bag of tricks and let the petals of this change unfold with a neutral point of view. Do you think I can do it?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Encore Bride

Apparently, "encore bride" is what I am to become. It is horrifying to me that I am a cliche before I even get going on my new life. It's a title that gives me pause, and frankly, scares me. What is an encore but begging for more?

This is all about me and not about the man I love. I realize that. I made such a huge mistake in my first marriage and I'm not wholly over it, and yet there is a man who loves me in spite of my fear and errors. I can hardly get over it. I am as fascinated by observing this change, this new life unfolding, as I am in love with it. I can't get over that I was so willing to accept anything less. What was wrong with me? I feel like I've just been cured of an incurable disease. And, I don't know exactly how to take this second lease on love.

He, this man of mine, is doing everything right that my first husband did wrong. He is at once strong and capable and tender and unsure, and also willing for me to be strong and capable and tender and unsure. He knows himself, and he knows what is right and what is wrong. He knows what he's capable of and he has self-discipline. He's wise without having to be right. His moral center guides him in every decision he makes. He doesn't do anything he doesn't want to do, and still he helps me and supports me and does just about everything I ask. He is not afflicted with the "good boy" syndrome. He doesn't need my approval for anything. Yet, he approves of everything about me.

It makes me unfathomably sad for that first guy who is simply a child in some strange way, unequipped to meet a woman like me. Isn't that stupid that I feel sad for my ex-husband who abused my love of him? It's like everything I wished for from that boy was impossible and out of his range and it's heartbreaking for him.

I really think "encore" is the wrong word. It implies an attachment to something that has passed somehow, "do it again!" No. I never want to do it again the way I did it the first time. Sure, I did some things right. I have two beautiful children to prove that I loved deeply, but I don't want to be foolish with my love ever again. It is the elixir of life, my love is, and it was pearls before swine the first time around. This time, this time I want to give my love to the person who appreciates the pearl of my life, that I have turned these abrasions into something of value and beauty.

This man of mine came to sit with me when I had pneumonia, leaving a job site early. He sat with my son when he had pneumonia, too, because I couldn't while I was recovering myself. This man of mine sends roses and chocolates unexpectedly. He's taken on learning tango and it's not an easy dance. He's looking for work in my state, and leaving a life that he has been building since 1990 in Atlanta. All of these little things stack in his favor and work on my fear and errors until I begin to believe that they really don't matter anymore.