The Gutter Guy

Hope walked through my door yesterday in white painter’s shorts splotched with color and anchored with earth. He was covered in ruddy leaves and muck and wearing work boots worn through the soles. His gray hair told me history and his smile lines knowing. He asked me if I was New Age which also told me his age.

I simply answered “I’m odd” to which he responded “I know.” And then we had a conversation.

It’s funny how the Universe delivers people and lessons. Just the night before I was lying in bed sobbing, my dear friend doing all she could to bind me to something hopeful when I was having trouble finding anything at all. And one of the last things she said before I shut out the lights (and my life) for the evening was “you have the power, no matter how diminished you may feel it is, to not only survive this but to triumph over it.” Who uses the word triumph anymore? Well, the Gutter Guy, in that same unmistakable sentence word-for-word in my doorway. So I settled back to listen because the Universe wields a mighty hammer ~ THUNK. Between the eyes.

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More Than Enough

Sometimes, I feel helpless. I wonder how I am doing as a Mom. My divorce is beyond hostile and I have so little financial means. I often feel as if I am failing my children somehow. I know that I work as hard as I possibly can to support two households and I provide the model for what a healthy, loving home should be. But, there are four beautiful people relying on me. So, sometimes, I just feel helpless.

And then a gem like this surfaces. When I asked Mackenzie today what the greatest lesson I have taught her is she instantaneously produced this letter that she keeps on her phone. Frankly, I had forgotten that I wrote it; but it’s beautiful and made me realize what a rock solid Mom I am every single day. With Mackenzie’s permission, I am sharing it.

As it turns out, I am not helpless at all. I may not be able to give them everything, but I give them this. And that is more than enough.

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family, hope, thrivingChristine Lasher
Adirondack Sky

Last evening I fell asleep in an Adirondack chair listening to the sounds of Sixth Lake. It’s a frigid early Fall already here but that was of little consequence.  I was happy to shiver, a small price for this kind of peace.  Perch jumping. Creaking pontoon bumpers against the dock where I rested.  Canoe paddles dipping as sunset approached.  Nearby ducks slapping their tired wings against the water as they labored to take flight while the loons warmed up their vocals ~ the changing of the guard. The distant sound of tired little boys who had one cannonball too many.  Haunting wind chimes grumbling as they were jostled to a wakefulness but even their distress was no match for the angry wind itself.

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I captured the best image I have ever captured tonight, but you will never see it.

At the end of another brutally long work day, I grabbed my camera and headed out the door for a few minutes of fresh air before the sun went down.  The truth is, I don’t have the energy left after life ravages me each day to create anything.   But because I refuse to stop fighting I went searching for something beautiful anyway.  Anything beautiful in a life that is otherwise.  And I found it.

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Prettier from a Distance

While folding laundry today I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror across the room. From that distance, I’m not half bad. My curly short hair is different than other women my age and frames my face with a wild softness in keeping with my energy. I have curves now; a 38DD which I find uncomfortable in every way but which balances my hips which were always big even when I was not. My features are different than the average woman, gentle but striking, and from this many paces I am a curious creature worthy of notice. So, I put down the towels I was folding to investigate.

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Dear Morgan...

Dear Morgan,

Today my daughter retweeted your tweet which simply said “wonder what it’s like to not have divorced parents.”

Sometimes it’s lovely. Sparkly in fact; like Christmas. But, only if the parents get along, truly love one another, put their children first, raise them in true partnership and are independently creative, intelligent, hardworking, decent people. And in those rare cases everyone is at the breakfast table together. Mom and Dad may even hold hands at the softball game or laugh at a private joke. Spring Break means a trip to the beach because money isn’t as hard as it is for a divorced family. You are never in the middle unless it is Friday movie night and they are fighting over who gets to cuddle with you. They are both at the concerts, and graduations, and major events like the first time you fall off your bike. You can hear one downstairs while the other is tucking in you. It is lovely.

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When life gets too difficult to bear, I rely on Truth.

I know. I can’t crumple it like grungy money in my pocket that would keep groceries in my refrigerator. And it doesn’t smell like the lavender on my pillow during the few more hours of sleep a different job that didn’t require 12 a day would afford me. It certainly isn’t as immediately available as the oxygen that would come from living free from the person who promised to spend his life in pursuit of my ruin. It isn’t warm and pliable like sand around my toes at the Outer Banks; a feeling I have to forget during this chapter of my life while I put my kids through college. And it doesn’t replace the sensation and strength on my left side that used to allow me to climb a simple set of stairs without help which, for the first time in public today, I was unable to do.

Nonetheless, Truth is my ‘go-to’ and is unalterable by anybody or anything ~ lies, desire, effort, manipulation, time. The Truth is simply the Truth. Whether or not one person knows it or everyone does, it’s still the Truth.

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"Send my hero my love"

Like most everything else thrown her way my daughter, Mackenzie, has handled the news of Ed’s death with wisdom and acceptance beyond her young years.  While she misses him terribly she also knows that this happened with purpose and benefit we do not yet understand.  This is the very same wisdom that brought Ed into our lives in the first place.

Mack had a catastrophic stroke in the lunchroom at school when she was 14 years old. Face drooping, arm and leg hanging, speech impaired, head throbbing, life-changing stroke.  I will never get over the sight of her broken body and her last audible words that day, “Please make it stop, Momma.” 


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I Should Have

There is a letter sitting on a shelf just above my desk. This is the very same desk where I sit safely every day to work, or write, or help my kids with their homework. It is the desk where I now enjoy the freedom to create which wasn’t possible before; and listen to my children’s laughter again. This letter sits there with his name clearly visible on the front of the envelope. And yet I never sent it.

I should have.

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