Monday, August 27, 2007

On a Happier Note...

I love him even if he *did* chew one of the corners off my New Zealand Book of Common Prayer this morning...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dark Days

My ex and I are trying to come to agreement on the division of assets. I put this off until the very end because I knew it would be difficult for him---but by allowing him to go for well over a year without addressing the issue, I apparently gave him the idea that the division would never happen.

Without going into details, I will note that I have asked for much less than I am entitled to under the law---I am not trying to "take him to the cleaners." (And we have full joint custody of the kids, so there is also no threat of "taking the children away.") But money has always been an issue in our relationship---and his attitude now is that I left and therefore I deserve nothing. So far, his attorney seems to have been unable to disabuse him of this notion.

Things have gotten very ugly, and I am increasingly worried about his state of mind...and, to some, very small, paranoid extent, about my own safety. From the flow of overwrought, hateful e-mails I am receiving from him, I am beginning to understand how a generally mild-mannered person begins to fixate on something, blows it all out of proportion, and then snaps.

For years, I asked for some show of emotion from him---love, affection, some sign that I was valued and cherished. I am now receiving the only true emotion I've ever felt from him, and it is anger and hatred. I cannot even begin to describe how exhausting and demoralizing that is.

But---as hard as all of this is---at least it underscores for me that leaving was my only option if I was ever to find any joy or happiness this side of the Eschaton. What is happening now is intense, but it is different from my life before only in the explicitness of his contempt and disdain for me. Before, he used those things subtly to make me feel stupid and worthless---now all the gloves are off.

I ask your prayers for all of us. That we can come to some equitable agreement. That he and I can reach a point where we can work together for the good of our children. That we can find some kindness, and mercy, and grace in this agonizingly difficult time. That the Holy Spirit will pour some peace into his heart and mind.

That we can finish this before I lose both....

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Life Everlasting?

How long do you want to live?

Eileen's post today inspired me to ask the question. Believe it or not, that question is a frequent topic of discussion for me and one of my walking buddies. We often meet at 6:00 a.m. (or even earlier, depending on the time of year) to do a 4-mile loop around my old neighborhood. We talk about a lot of stuff on those walks...

My friend and I both recoil in horror at the idea of living to be 90 or 100. I guess we've both seen too many relatives reach the point where they are breathing, rather than living.

It's easy, of course, to make declarations in a vacuum---when the choices you think you'd make are all abstract and don't really affect your life. But, at this point, I think that I would probably refuse major medical treatment after 70 or so. I'd do pain alleviation or minor things that would make me comfortable, but heart surgery? Treatment for breast cancer? I'm just not sure I would.

I'm not afraid of dying. In fact, I am much less afraid of dying than I am of suffering or reaching a point where I am dependent on others for all my needs.

I know this is a form of pride---and pride is a sin. I tell myself that a lot. But I have a gut-level, negative reaction to the idea that breathing/existing is to be gripped with both hands, no matter what the cost.

I certainly would never impose my views on anyone else---most particularly not on any relative or other person in my care. But I don't want to live forever.

I'm too interested to see what comes next to want to remain trapped here in a body that exists but cannot live a life that feels meaningful to me.

What do YOU say?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday Morning Blues

I've had a wonderful weekend with friends and my children. The birthday celebrations continued, and I can honestly say that this has been the best Birthday Season in memory.

Jasper has been a peach too--not a single accident this entire weekend...though by saying that I have probably called the Karma Fairy down on me and will be cleaning carpets for days as penance for my premature celebration.

Apparently the price to be paid for all this happiness, however, is my annual physical this morning. Meaning no caffeine until after I get all my bloodwork done at 10:00 a.m.

I'm already grumpy just thinking about it.

I'm sure that it didn't help that I've been reading idiotic comments on a few blogs (like Episcopal Majority) from people who are still yammering on about how we progressives don't believe in scripture or tradition, and how we just really want to redefine sin as holy and force everyone else to do the same.

If I really wanted to redefine the faith, I'd start by getting rid of that bit about loving your's easy to love a lot of the 'mos (as KJ likes to call them) because they are funny and have excellent taste in almost everything. Not so easy to love those grim, dour Calvinists who are determined to find a heretic behind every "The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!" sign.

On a different note---Things are going to be intense in the Doxy household for the next couple of weeks. One very difficult thing, lots and lots of work, and, I hope, some happy things as well. For those reasons, I may not post much for the next little while.

Then again, I may post instead of doing all that stuff, since I am the Procrastination Queen and my Muse never seems to be the least bit interested in me until I am so in the weeds that I'm not sure which way is up...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Truer words were never spoken...

I nicked this from Eileen...and it made me laugh and laugh...

You're South Africa!

After almost endless suffering, you've finally freed yourself from the oppression that somehow held you back.

Now your diamond in the rough is shining through, and the world can accept you for who you really are. You were trying to show who you were to the world, but they weren't interested in helping you become that until it was almost too late.

Suddenly you're a very hopeful person, even if you still have some troubles.

Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Doxy's Big Day

Today is my birthday. I am 44 years old today---healthy, happy, and relatively sane---and pleased to be here to admit it.

Today I will visit my former, much-loved, parish in Washington, DC. A dear friend of mine, who now serves the U.S. Government in Africa, will be home on leave and will be preaching.

(The Holy Spirit is always giving me this kind of wonderful birthday present. Four years ago today, +Gene Robinson received the necessary consents for his elevation to the episcopacy.)

The kids and I will then attend a performance of The Phantom of the Opera at the Kennedy Center, followed by dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant with a bevy of friends---including my ex-husband (the gay one) and *his* husband, and my wonderful boss. Then we travel to the beach for a few days of R&R. I’m lucky to be able to do all of this. (This is the good part about being a contractor…)

I know a lot of people who hate their birthdays, or at least pretend they do, but I am not among them. I love, love, LOVE my birthday! Since I was a teenager, it has been the family joke that the 4th of July constitutes the Opening Ceremony for Doxy’s birthday, and Labor Day is the Closing Ceremony.

In truth, I have a Birthday Season, rather than just one day. I joke that this is because I’m a Leo and we are all about people making a fuss over us. As often, and as grandly as possible.

But my love for my birthday is also about the fact---cliché though it may be---that every day is a precious gift, and this day is a reminder to be grateful for that.

I learned that lesson, as most people do, the hard way.

In 1997, I lost my beloved stepfather, Larry, to cancer. He was a salt-of-the-earth Mississippi boy---a yellow-dog Democrat who was so very eager to be a grandfather to my son. He was the first man who ever loved my mother the way she wanted and needed to be loved. Losing him was a dreadful blow to all of us. I still miss him terribly.

Larry died a week to the day after his 54th birthday. Since then, I have always said that every birthday spent above ground is a good one.

But I confess that---despite my oft-professed love for the 5th of August---for a long time, that motto sounded good, but it did not accurately reflect my feelings about my life. There were a number of birthdays where I felt that my best years were far behind me, and I mourned the passing---and the ravages---of time. I wrote about that here.

But, in the last year or so, everything in my life has changed. When I wrote that essay, “Eye of the Beholder,” I was thinking about how other people saw me. Now *I* am the beholder, and what I behold when I look at myself is precious and wonderful. Despite the crows’ feet and stretch marks. Despite the effects of gravity.

Because what I see now is a woman who has rediscovered what it means to be happy.

I am grateful for my life now. For my beautiful children, my friends (both “real” and “Invisible”), and my health. For love and laughter, poetry and music, lilies and hot tea in the mornings. For work I love and that I believe makes a difference in the world. For the grace of God that I experience in Morning Prayer, in the Eucharist, and in the faces of those who embody Christ for me. And---at long last--- for new beginnings and blessed hope for the future.

Oh, and for Jasper. Mustn’t forget the Furry One who has already brought so much joy into my life!

Sure, there are still things that frighten and worry me. There are the difficulties with my ex, with the job situation, and with being a single mom. I’m no Pollyanna.

But today is a day to celebrate. I am alive and will be surrounded by people I love. There are others I love, far away, who will also be with me in spirit…praying for me, as I do for them.

I wrap myself in all that love, and I am blessed.

I am 44 today. This is the first day of the rest of my life. Thanks be to God!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Doxy's Real (Somewhat Scary) Life

I've been a bit scarce this week because I had to reapply for my job yesterday. This involved writing pages and pages outlining all my professional accomplishments and offering passionate explanations about why I am the best---nay, the only---person for this job.

My proposal will go to an independent review team---the members of which do not know me or give a rat's patootie about the fact that I'm a single mother with two kids, a car loan, and a new puppy. I have no idea how many others will apply---it's a Federal contract, which means it has to be put up for bid every year.

My bosses seem to love me, but the review team doesn't work for them. All they do is take the proposals they receive, rate them according to a rubric they have been given, and try to decide who can do a reasonable job the cheapest. I can't blame them for this, although "low bid" is rarely synonymous with "good value" in my experience...

My ex is still unemployed. Although it appears that he has decided to try the consulting route (we aren't talking much these days...), as far as I know, I am the only person in the family with a "real" job at the moment.

My contracts are up at the end of August. As you can imagine, this is nerve-wracking.

I am bold enough to ask for your prayers on this one. I adore my job, love my bosses and coworkers, and feel privileged to get up and go to work every day.

But, in the words of Maggie from Chorus Line:

I really need this job
Please, God, I need this job!
I've got to get this job!

This is the life of the self-employed writer. Feast or famine. I've been doing this for nearly 12 years now, so I know the drill.

It's just the first time it's mattered so damned much.