My daughter and her family brought me this little bag from Hawaii where they recently spent their summer vacation. It’s hand-painted and embroidered and quite lovely to look at. It has just enough space for my essentials which are minimal. I’ve learned that if I carry a small bag I’ll fill it up or if I carry a large one the same thing happens. I definitely prefer the lighter weight. Back in the day when I needed a super-sized one to carry diapers, training pants, etc., I found that everyone in the family had something they needed me to carry because I always had room for one more item in the giant atrocity. I usually trailed behind in the airport and now I wonder if they knew it was because I was carrying such a heavy load.
Have you ever noticed, when you carry a heavy burden like the one mentioned above, it can be very difficult to get to the bottom of the bag to unload the one thing that you need to remove? I find life to be much like that, too. If I carry around every bad, sad, unfair thing that has happened to me, it’s not easy to find and deal with things that may really need my attention. Just as the physical load can damage my body, so can the emotional baggage overload my psyche, my ability to deal with everyday strife.
When I get in a philosophical frame of mind like this I start to realize that my divorce probably did happen for a reason. Maybe it was Kismet if you believe in that sort of thing. I’m not sure I do. Even though D traveled for a living when we were married, and I had plenty of time to deal with all the problems that were me, I was able to avoid them. I could focus instead on his chronic illness, our latest conversation or lack thereof, and what he said, what I said or didn’t say. I wrapped too much of myself, my life around what he was doing, thinking, or not doing, thinking. He never asked me to do that. Maybe I did it to avoid looking at my core issues.
I realize now that I carried a lot of baggage from my family of origin. I had a victim mentality long before the divorce hit. Also a fear of abandonment. Both probably came from my mother and her insecurities. (I’m not blaming her. She did the very best she could.) If we become what we think, then it was inevitable that I would become the victim of divorce and abandonment. And so I did.
The happy side of this story is that today when I look at myself I’m okay with who I am. If I see something I don’t like I try to change it. If it’s so resistant to change that I’m wasting too much energy on it, then acceptance goes a long way. And life is good.
A note that has nothing to do with this post: I was sitting on the couch a little before 2:00 this afternoon, my feet and legs resting on the coffee table. Suddenly the table started to move, tremble. It went on for maybe 30 seconds. It dawned on me that it was an earthquake, a very rare event on the east coast. The epicenter was near Richmond, VA, but it was felt far and wide along the Atlantic Coast states. It was a very eerie feeling, one that I had not experienced before.