Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Dichotomy of Doing the Right Thing, Featuring Ms. Thang

Lately, the words have sat quietly just beneath the surface, close enough for me to feel them bubbling below, but a bit too far away for them to come.  They rouse me from quiet sleep, beckoning for me to record them on paper before they lazily float their way back down into the reaches of my subconscious. But there are so many, and they tend to scatter apart in a way that makes it difficult for me to retrieve them.  I have so missed my words.

I have been a bit more entrenched in the visitation battle with my SIL than I would truly like to be.  Who would ever believe that someone would have to fight for the right to visit with their own deceased brother's children?  How could someone be so cruel as to remove more love from their own children's lives, especially at a time when love is what is needed most?  I am so in love with these children that I am doing something that I have been told, has not been done before.  Case history for the books in the making.  Precedent.  The word guinea pig scampers quickly through my mind and I take in a deeper breath.  Love.  The flip side of hate, or so it seems.  And love is what I have chosen.  I feel ambivalent indifference towards my SIL.  But for some sad and sick reason, she hates me, and that cannot be good for her.  I have witnessed this kind of hate coming from my own mother.  Although she and my father have been divorced for over thirty years, her hatred for him spews forth in frequent diatribes which make no sense to me.  It damages her relationship with me, with her grandchildren, and ultimately with her own self.  To become so wrapped up in anger and in hate, is to allow the other person to hold a huge amount of power over you.  It is ugly.  It is all-consuming. My mother has taught me well.  I choose love.

But as life has taught me, there is never only one experience to be had at a time.  There is pain, but there is also soul-swelling joy.  The kind of happiness that reminds us not to spend too much time dwelling in the negative.  The kind of happiness that makes us feel young on the inside.  The kind of happiness that lifts us up several inches off of the ground.  My daughters bring me this kind of happiness.  My husband brings me this kind of happiness.  My father brings me this kind of happiness.  And our cats, dogs and birds bring me this kind of happiness.  It, too, can be all encompassing.

This past weekend, dance season began again for my youngest angel daughter.  This means that all of her hard work will now be put into practice and she will begin competing against other teams and individuals from across the nation.  For the first time, she will not only be competing as part of a team, but also as a soloist in a separate routine.  I have never seen her dance on an enormous stage by herself.  I tried to imagine it in my mind, but until she actually got up there this past weekend, it never occurred to me how little she would appear...
And then the music began.  Not a moment of hesitation or robotic counting took place.  From the very first beat, she took on the persona of someone who had done this a thousand times, and her personality and confident attitude filled that enormous space!
When she exited the stage, one of the ushers from the Long Beach Arena stopped her and said, "Giiiiirl, you have GOT IT GOING ON!"  And she does!
Here she is dancing with her team to the Transformer song.  This was very good practice for them as there were no other Hip-Hop teams competing in their division, but they did great.
Driving home from Long Beach, we took in the beauty of the area.  Even the oil refineries off the coast seemed to glow in the shimmering sunset.
The bay, with all of its boats, swaying gently against the dusk made me think of calmer waters.  The words circling gently around in my thoughts took on a much more serene rhythm and I smiled to myself. I smiled because I felt the calmness of knowing that everything is going to be okay.  I smiled because I know that if I do not like the way that the story is going to end, I have the power to change it.  And I smiled because I have the ability to and that I do...Love.
Thank you for following along on this journey with me.  Your words of encouragement, experience and support mean more to me than I can truly express.  Those words, your words, are some of the ones which I keep tucked securely away in my heart, so easily accessible when I need them.  Thank you for taking the time to share them with me.  They swirl effortlessly throughout my mind in a way that makes me feel stronger.


tj said...

...Oh dearest Deb, I am so sorry to hear that this is still going on. I know how hard this must be for you and I truly admire your strength in the matter...I can only tell you that your brother's children know you love them, they know you are on the outside fighting to get in and no amount of hatred on anyones part is going to keep that from them. One day, and soon, love will win. :o)

...I think of you often and hope you are feeling well. It's funny, I even kept the comment that you wrote over at Ree's the first time I "met" you... I came across it the other evening and I thought to myself, "what a truly special person"... :o)

...Oh and tell the Dancing Queen there - she ROCKS! ;o)

...Blessings... :o)

WV LeAnn said...

You are so special and have worried about you. Your blog made me cry this morning and all the words so true and many in the world struggling like you with emotions and feeling just maybe different circumstances. Beautiful pictures as always and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family and a successful outcome with your lovely nieces!!!!!!!!!! Peace be with you always.

chandelier magic - beach house said...

Me too Debra. About a year ago, someone asked me if I made peace with my mother, I said yes - I don't talk to her anymore. My brother and I walked out of her life over 5 years ago. She divorced my dad when I was 7, started a new family and we never really fit in, her new husband resented us. She never stopped hating my dad and wanted us to hate him too. In my last words with her, I reminded her he was my dad, and that SHE picked him.

I know you love your brother, I commend you for letting his kids know they matter, you love them, and that they are worth fighting for. They will appreciate you and having family when they're older - and if you didn't fight for them, it would hurt them.

I admire your courage and determination to love those kids and be their auntie.


chandelier magic - beach house said...

Hmm, Debra -
I should have said my mom never stopped hating {LOVING} my dad -


Irene Latham said...

Hi Deb - hang in there, 'kay? It's important, what you're doing. And yes, always ALWAYS choose love. You are an inspiration. As is your daughter! Wish I could have seen that in person!! xxoo

Laura Hegfield said...

Debbie, I've been thinking of you often and all you and your family are going through. I'm sorry I didn't email you and check in. You are so courageous and doing exactly the right thing, not just for your nieces, yourself, the rest of your family, but for other families in the future as well. Inhale love, exhale love...this is the only way to dissolve the hate in the world. I'm so proud of you for standing up for your brothers little girls. It has to be really scary and exhausting...and you are doing it anyway. I think you've got it goin' on too!

How wonderful in the midst of all of this to be fully present to the joys of your daughters, your husband, animals and the gorgeous sunsets (even over oil refineries!)

yasher koach my friend,
Remember, it is Adar...seek JOY!

Mickey (Michel) Johnson said...

...continuing to lift you up in prayer...you are doing what is right, noble and good...that will not be wasted. i am also praying for the SIL...i will pray that her heart will soften and that she will realize that want you are trying to do is to give love and support and that she will handle her grief in a different manner and not strike out. my love, mickey

Anonymous said...

nice pics, time for a new blog!

Laura Hegfield said...

Hi Debbie,
Just want you to know I'm thinking about you today:)

Anonymous said...

I thought I told, new blog please.

rivergardenstudio said...

Debbie, your daughter looks amazing here, and I love your photographs of Long Beach and the boats. I hope everything works out. wishing you strength and patience... roxanne

Nina P. said...

There is one thing that time and all the great spiritual leaders seem to have in their common teachings.. Love is the answer. It heals, It sooths, It contemplates, It's all encompassing, It knows no bounds, It seems into even the darkest of corners, It's persistent,.... It is what we need to do, show, live, give, be love. It sounds so easy and at times it is; as you say, our beloved unconditionally loving pets, the warmth of the sun, the love from our creator, Love... can also be so very hard as you know firsthand. It can be evasive or so our limited perspective on life and life events sees. Yet behind the scenes, Love is there.... If you keep sowing Love, than, I truly believe, those seeds of goodness will grow. Maybe not in the timeframe we want them, but they will grow. Continue sowing love, continue reaching out to your family..even when you think it is hitting a brick wall.... bricks can be wore away.... Love will win. Keep your energy, your prayers, your passion aligned with love and you can't go wrong. Remember too that things do not happen in our time... the seed does not grow into a tree overnight, or even in a month... time, cultivation, compassion, Trust, Forgiveness with love, and when the seed is ready it will germinate and grow.
You can never change another person, you can only change yourself, your attitude, and your resolve to show, sow, and be the change/Love. In doing so, it's amazing how all the sudden, things around you change as well. Keep doing what you are doing with a loving heart. Keep Celebrating your Family and all their accomplishments, keep sharing with your brothers family through kind letters, birthday cards, sunny thoughts and loving prayers and in time.... you will see...
Love is the answer... I know you already know this and are doing it... I'm just one more voice of encouragement. Blessings to you and yours. Love and Light, Nina P

Ness said...

Deb, I'm so sorry I haven't been able to check in sooner. I was consumed with a nasty virus last week that's left me weak. I can't believe I serve a God who would not see to it that visitation was restored with your Angel nieces. Yeah, I know, patience, but I was in the bathroom when God passed out patience! My friend Kathy is being denied visitation with her great nephews that she raised for 3 years and with Michael getting ready to deploy in May and they are so a part of his life, I'm about ready to have a high speed come apart if we don't get the boys for his going away party.

You keep life real for me, Deb, by your constant silent determination to carry on no matter what Life throws at you. I learn at your knee, my dear friend.'

Hugs to that Dancing Angel of yours.

Love you.

miruspeg said...

Deb....love will always find a way.

Once again, a great post written for real people by another real person and so inspiring.

Take care and never forget it's the journey not the destination that keeps us going.

Occasionally, life seems to be a chasm - a pit that we slip and slide into. There is sometimes a sense of overwhelming darkness and no light ahead.

What I have learned is that there is always light, we are just not looking for it in the right place. We are probably searching for it straight ahead, the most obvious place to look when, if we would only glance to our right or left, we would glimpse its radiance.

May you always see the light Deb.

Peggy xxxx

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