Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Cups of Kindness

My son is on vacation with his father this week. The reality of my new life hits me in this way: I don't get to share in all my son's vacations any more. Time off from your kid when you have a family and you haven't had a night to do fun adult things in weeks is nice. Time off from your kid when you're separated? Not so nice. He will probably finish the Harry Potter we've been reading together before he gets home.

At the beginning of the week I made a list of all the things I could get done in a week without a child to cook for, play with, keep track of, clean up after, read with. The list sits in my kitchen, lonely, ignored. Things not on the list but which I have accomplished: finish Ben and Jerry's in freezer, open new bottle of scotch.

A surprise arrived in the mail today: a CD from a woman I haven't seen in years. She saw my blog, read about my separation, sent me a kind note and a some beautiful music. I have discovered deep kindness these last few months. A woman who took me in on a handful of nights when I needed a safe and quiet place to go. She hardly knew me, but for some reason I was drawn to her house and not other friends ... and she fed me and gave me her bed and wrapped me in loving care. When I needed some free advice from a lawyer, one of the funniest and sweetest men around gave me hours and hours of his professional services, sprinkled with common sense and compassion. On a lonely night, a new friend took me for a ride in his convertible through the mountains. People I have always known to be kind have proven even more so: my mom, my best friend, some colleagues.

I've been struggling recently to envision my future, to know what good work I could be doing in the world, wanting to offer up to God whatever talent I might have, wishing that my brain could start swimming again instead of constantly drowning under the weight of my emotional baggage. I know that my calling right now is to a simple daily practice. "Be here now" has become cliche, but that's it really. Be a mom. Do my job. Take care of my home. Walk the dog. Take care of myself. Clean the cat litter. Learn from my mistakes.

And practice kindness. The simple kindnesses of people around me have kept me sane this year. (Well, let's say saner). It's the least I can do in return.


Anonymous said...


pj said...

Hey LJ. I'm so sorry that you're going through this. Sometimes it comes down to taking things minute by minute, doesn't it.

It seems to me though, that you have a way of drawing positive energy (and positive people) to yourself. You may not be aware that you're actively putting anything out there, but you are.

You should know that over the last few weeks I've come to feel that you're a kindred spirit. (And it's not just the letter "j!")

((((((Major hugs.))))))

lj said...

Thanks, JL and PJ. (What is with the Js??)

Me, too, PJ. I wasn't kidding about the neighbor thing.

Diane said...

((lj)) Sorry to hear your struggle.

My husband has gone through this from the other side. He had a really hard time not being able to read his sons stories and pray with them every night before they went to bed.

I wish you many more kindnesses.

Also, this is one of the reasons we got the dog.

Ed said...

More hugs from here. I actually sat with this for quite a while last night wishing I had something helpful or even intelligent to say in response. No luck, except that I am impressed by your practice of gratitude and your availability to the acts of kindness that come your way (sort of what pj said). Thanks for this.

Cecilia said...

lj, I appreciate the rawness and transparency of this post.

I remember oh so vividly how this felt. For me, there was real fear about how it would be for me to be alone without my children, every other weekend and then when they went on vacation. There was real sadness when my children went on a vacation we had long planned with the kids, but not me. And then-- to my surprise-- there was a real space for joy that came, as well. When I cleared out my attic (of my ex's s#*t), when I went out with a friend for dinner, when my morning preparing for church did not include the normal bickering and struggling it takes to get teenagers to do anything...

Please understand. I am not saying "It's great without kids." I missed them terribly. But there is a new life to be found also, and it contains other, unexpected riches. One of those is knowing you have done absolutely everything you can to ensure that your child and your ex maintain a good relationship-- critical for your child's health and happiness, now and later.

So... maybe too much advice giving, but your post spoke to me deeply about thing with which I am intimately familiar. Hugs, blessings, prayers, peace.

Pax, C.

Anonymous said...

I still don't like blogging! Too public! But I really like what you have put on here so far! Thanks for sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings! I am glad you are tracing the footprints of your life! God does send angels our way when we need them! OH...and sorry about revealing your real name! You can see I'm not a blogger! -EY-

lj said...

E-- silly me. I didn't even notice. But I did delete that comment. I'm not sure I care deeply about how anonymous I am, since several of you know me anyway. But I'll play along. But that's how I keep it from being "too" public. People who know I'm blogging are people I don't mind reading this.

lj said...

All -- your comments are lovely and kind and, as odd as it is to me if I think about it too much, I am deeply grateful for this virtual community.

Sorry about the loss of eye candy. Don't know where he went, so I deleted the whole post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for deleting the "name" revelation! Make me feel less guilty! I love the new eye candy! Actually, the first one is cooler! Post more as they come up! Enjoy the beautiful day! Hope the weather is good where you are! E.

Serena said...

I've just met you via Diane and Jan's blog pages. Thanks for sharing the journey with us. It's been 22 years since my divorce, and the beginning of my amazing journey in ministry, which wouldn't have happened if the divorce had not happened. I know you know that God is good and faithful to turn what is bad into good for those who love God. Blessings for your journey.

lj said...

Serena, thanks for stopping by. It's nice to hear the stories of perspective after this raw stage.