Yesterday I spent the day with my two big girls. I had bought tickets for a Christmas house tour that is a fundraiser for a big Catholic school. It is a walking tour in a well known neighborhood down in the city that is made up of "fabulous" older homes built in what I would guess were the 20's and the 30's. Beautiful! Since my girl is living down there, (not in that neighborhood though lol) we often go for walks there when we meet up.
There were five homes that were open for the tour and all were decorated for the holidays. One of the tour guides explained that each home had used a designer and it was mentioned that one was even from the DIY network. Everything was perfect and beautiful.
Mid-tour Molly pipes up with, "Eh, I don't really like this." After we were walking and looking and talking...we all came to the same conclusion. Not impressed. I feel like a Grinch for even saying that. As we talked about it some more, we all felt that it was an illusion. Phony. Where were the kids drawings on the fridge? Greeting cards on the mantle? The family photos....actually one home was a Hispanic family and they had a hallway *filled* with neatly framed family photos and THAT house ended up being our favorite. It wasn't a magnificent showcase of granite and custom cabinetry. It was a home. I think she had done her own designing and decorating and it was a place that one of my girlfriends would live. I got to meet the homeowner and I told her that her home was our favorite, the most comfortable to be in.
I think when you have gone to hell and back in your life, *real* is the only thing that feels comfortable anymore. Authenticity is my comfort zone....at least as much as I am aware and capable of being. I have grown to love the mess....you know what I am saying? There is beauty in the construction zone of our lives. In the unearthing, the painful digging down to the roots.
Later my girl and I were alone (Molly had to leave us early to go to work) and she was talking about her future a little and some hopes she has. She made the comment that eventually she hopes all of this "will have just been a phase." Something she went through but now its done. Uhhhhhhh. lol I was quiet for awhile before I responded.
Finally, once I found my voice.... "You will not always be in new recovery. Someday you will have a lot of time under your belt and it will flow for you and not be minute by minute work. But, don't ever forget where you've come from. As brutal, scary, violent, awful....and any other negative adjectives that you can think up... that these years have been for you, they have also given you beautiful priceless gifts." And they have. They have given all of us gifts. We are changed because of what we have witnessed and walked our way through.
Later as we were leaving a thrift store a homeless man was hanging around out in front who was obviously very mentally ill. My girl waited for me out in front while I ran to the bathroom....I know, TMI! When I came out she was saying good bye to the homeless man and another man smiled and told her to have a good day. She said the homeless guy was talking "gibberish" to her. She told him she didn't understand what he needed. "A cigarette? Do you want some?" And she handed over a few...he kept talking. "I'm sorry, I don't understand."
We got in the car and I said, "THAT is exactly what I am talking about. Extending a hand to the least of these...showing kindness, not being disgusted, not judging, not ignoring...but treating him like a human being. Knowing that you understand the path to where he is at. Don't let that part go." I reminded her of my mom, her alcoholic g-ma, who spent years packing sandwiches to hand out to the homeless crazy people on the streets of Oakland. "There but for the grace of God go I," she would say when I asked why she did that.
I have no room for fluff and illusions of perfection anymore. It grates on me. Its like a jacket that doesn't fit and it pulls across my back and makes my arms itch and I can't wait to shrug it off. It just doesn't set well on my shoulders anymore.
Of course there is always the possibility that all of this comes from the place that I AM JEALOUS! We just had our first major snow storm and I am here in the house with 5 dogs, dishes in the sink, no Christmas decorations up, wondering where to begin! Thats always a consideration if we are really going to be truthful. LOL
Bless us all in whatever sorts of messes we are living in at any given moment.
PS: And for those of you are friends with me on FB...did you see my girls cheeks?! Nice and full. I can't stop looking at that picture!