Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Won in Damage Suit, Now What?

For several days I refuse to write about it. It's not something worth celebrating. I won. But still, the damage has been done. Society's ideal family: father, mother, child, crumbled before my very eyes, my own mother seemingly cheering that finally I failed, my father trying to fill in the missing manly pillar while constantly watching his back for fear of his wife's volcanic fury.

I have finally come to terms that a dysfunctional family could also be a family complete with a father and a mother but behaving dysfunctionally. I grew up in that environment.

Now, with the flight of my wayward husband (dropped from the police rolls, a warrant for his arrest already out, but two people reported having seen him riding his borrowed motorcycle {his driver's license long expired in 2006 by the way} just over the weekend), my daughter has to contend with living in an all female environment with me as what I call the lamp post (taking up the dual role as pillar and light), and the three sisters I have welcomed into our home to keep us company and for them to get a well-deserved education and better their lives. I try to keep our new family set up as functional as possible. But will it really?

For the sake of practicality, I have set aside my romantic ideas of family and love. Right now with new hardships and challenges coming my way, I need all the provisions for this lonely battle backed only by my little army.

I can't help but be reminded of Max Ehrmann's Desiderata:

"Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit."

The story of the three sisters (of seven siblings) are even far more bitter than mine, a simple and at the same time complex situation than mine. I am avoiding my mother who has been more of a vexation to my spirit than the refreshment I truly long for.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time."

I have always been and still compared by my mother, to herself, to my brothers, to my friends, to other people. I used to resent the fact that I'm not as good, not as beautiful, not as smart, not as rich, as the people my mother would compare me against, but I have come to terms of the reality that I am probably the most average person with an average life with average problems and average achievements. Still, I am happy in my corner of the world. Away from my mother who lives just a few blocks away. I enjoy just doing my art, doing my own thing, and blogging.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth."

This piece of advice makes me a bit scared, but as long as I am true to myself, love awaits.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

I'm a natural worrier, which can be stressful. I'm also a natural free spirit. The first time a portion of the Desiderata was recited to me was when I was a little girl being comforted by my father. He assured me that I am a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. What could be more encouraging than a father's words. My only regret is that I don't think my husband, in the situation he has chosen himself to be, could ever say such words to his daughter the way my father soothed my soul.

"Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful."
I am. I agree.

"Strive to be happy."

I am.

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

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