January 21, 2008


Dad left Saturday morning. He was here for a week and, as usual, we did lots of adventuring:

DeYoung museum in SF for a Louise Nevelson retrospective (fantastic!), lunch with Baltimore friends and a grotto in the middle of SF called the Stern Grove. From the street you see a long block of Eucalyptus trees. We wandered in assuming it was a little city park. Instead the ground dropped away and we wandered down, down, down into redwood trees and a concert pavilion with gardens.

Friday night, he picked me up from work and we crossed over to the East Bay to check out an Indian movie theater. Buried in an old strip mall, surrounded by sari shops and Pakistani take-out, there's a theater with eight screens, all showing movies from India with English subtitles. I felt like I was able to drive around the world in just 25 minutes. We saw a FABULOUS movie. The English name is "Everyone is Special". The story of a dyslexic boy: the first half is a glimpse of how amazing and how hard his life is, the second half is his relationship with an art teacher (who also produced and directed the film). It's long, but well worth the time.


The Big Drama. I saw my neighbor's car in her spot on Thursday, so I knocked on her door. The bullet-point summary:
  • After leaving our place, Ex called her and left a slurred message about how he'd tried to get in. Turns out, he'd been evicted that day from his apartment and was sleeping in his car down the street.
  • She's received a 60-day notice from the landlord due to Ex's various disturbances. 
  • I clarified that I hadn't called the landlord. In my mind, Ex is his own problem, not my neighbor's fault. Which means that one of the other neighbors (who certainly weren't helping the situation...) 'told' on her.
  • She was planning to leave anyway--needs to move where Ex doesn't know she is.
  • Ex had been sober for years. After they broke up, he started drinking again.
  • He checked himself into rehab this weekend.
The thing that makes me really sad, is that, for three months before Ex moved out, I had a pounding hammer in my head of thoughts like, "If you just divorce Jrex, your life will be better. If you weren't together, everything would be simpler. He's no fun, go find someone fun." I prayed a lot for our marriage, focused on being grateful for what was good in our relationship, prayed some more; what I never thought to do was check if there was someone else I should pray for. I've had this in the past, if I'm near someone who has intense stuff happening to them emotionally or spiritually, it affects my emotions. God uses that quite often to help me pray for other people. 

Three months of a mental hammer full of emotions that weren't 'normal' for me to have. And I never thought beyond myself. I know I'm not responsible, I don't feel guilty. It's just that there was a tipping point, and I'm thinking we/I were supposed to be part of it, and I missed it completely. It makes me sad for all the stuff that's happened since. I keep thinking of the Yeats quote, "The world's more full of weeping than we can understand." I still don't understand why God chooses to work through us, since we're such frail, faulty vessels for the love he wants to express. 


Rachel said...

Glad you had fun with your dad. There are free concerts in Stern Grove all summer. I always meant to go, but alas.

And I'm sorry to hear about your neighbor, and her ex-husband. And that you and JRex were so close to the brink (although I think it happens in the best of marriages.)

Snickollet said...

I just added that movie to my Netflix queue (well, reserved it for when it releases on DVD) as I heard from a coworker that it's great. Glad to have that confirmed by someone else. How cool that you could travel so far in only 25 minutes.

Ugh, ugh, and ugh about the situation with your neighbor. And I'm sorry to hear that times were so tough for you and Jrex. I hope your neighbor finds peace, and that you and Jrex do, too.

OTR sister said...

I can imagine it would be hard to know if an emotion is yours alone or "spiritual empathy" for someone else. I have a hard enough time figuring out my OWN emotions.

B.E.C.K. said...

The mind, heart and spirit work in very interesting ways sometimes. I'm glad you're on more solid footing now.

Sorry to hear about your neighbor. At least she was already planning to move. What a difficult situation, though. I hope she finds a place where her ex can't find her.

Wistful one said...

This is a beautiful post. Thank you for the reminder to take a step back from my emotions and consider how God may want to use them outside of myself...They could serve a purpose beyond driving me nuts! :)

otrmama said...

It was a beautiful post. So glad your Dad is getting to visit you all. My children are the best thing that ever happened to me and when I can be with them is really special. Even if I get to talk to all of them in one day is a red letter special day. Your mom had that same gift - to "channel" people's emotions. It's probably called something else...but she got to understand that some of her intense emotions were coming from the people around her that God wanted her to hold in prayer, and not from her own "craziness". I think it was scary for her, too, when she felt like those emotions were of her making.

scarp said...

I hate the feeling of realizing I should have been praying for someone. For me it usually is more something that I see in someone else, or can see coming in their life, and my flesh reaction is to be annoyed by or judgemental of it. I have to work to remember that God shows it to me for the purpose of praying...and sometimes that realization comes a bit late.

OTRgirl said...

Just to clarify: my marriage was and is doing well, that's why the thoughts didn't make any sense! I think it was a parallel/mirror into what my neighbor was thinking that whole time. As soon as Ex moved out, the thoughts all stopped.

OTRmama, thanks for telling me that Mom had that, too. It's not something we ever got a chance to discuss.

Mama Nabi said...

Your day with your dad sounds so... (for lack of words on my part) lovely.

...that is one of my favorite quotes - as a matter of fact, I think that IS my favorite verse.

"Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand."

Ironically, it used to be on my mind a lot when I was dealing with emotional trauma in my late teens and early 20's... now, it feels more a mantra for me to find a new fresh life for LN and me...

Thank you.

OTRgirl said...

I've always found that line oddly comforting. Along the lines of the "it's allright to cry..." idea. Underneath all the social niceness, there's a river of grief each person carries; sometimes the waters are deep and sometimes shallow, but the river is there.

I actually didn't know the context of the line, so thank YOU. That's lovely. I'm going to have to find the whole poem now.

flurph said...

I just want you to know I'm proud of how you handled that. A good mix of firmness and compassion.

Mike Scudder

Anonymous said...

Just by putting "Taare Zammen Par" on Google, I got several web sites. In fact, I could watch the whole movie again for free -- but on a web screen the size of a large postage stamp. For such a glorious movie, with its excellent camera work and its many scenes of beauty, the larger the screen the better.

I look forward to seeing it again. If any readers are also
interested, a better translation from the Hindi is
"Each Child Is Unique".