Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Lady of "The Lakes"

As I went about my work this morning, I reflected on the many stories that I have gathered in my twenty years of delivering newspapers to the folks in this little neighborhood. Having, in pocket, my thirty day notice of termination, I am doing my own personal inventory of all of the blessed moments of human contact that my choice to be involved in the lives of these people have provided. The many wonderful individuals who have enriched my life. And, as I pass this one particular house, I recall with clarity the woman whom I would see in pre-dawn moments, walking her tiny puppy. The two of them would regularly be on her driveway. And her language of carriage bespoke a defeated Spirit … a broken Person.

So, I responded to the puppy. It showed enthusiastic joy at my arrival each day. Its energy was almost beyond this woman’s abilities to control. Then she relented and ‘introduced’ her puppy to me. She carried him to the window of my van and allowed the exchange of physical contact between the puppy and myself. Then, after some days of repetition of this level of trust, brief words were shared. Then more, with more time. All the while, an obvious melancholy and sadness accompanied her. Until the day that she opened and told me “her story.”

She and her husband liked this neighborhood. They wanted to build their “dream home” here. And they elected to build it in the more “exclusive” part of the neighborhood. The part identified as “The Lakes” and set aside for “custom built” homes as opposed to the all-similar homes from the developer’s catalog of Standards. So her husband and she made a Plan. They would postpone the start of their dreamed of Family until they could give full attention to their intended children. They would pay off all debts associated with their growing business as owners of a new (and very popular) pub and eatery. They decided that it would be better if the dream home was completely paid for, with no debt attached, before they had their first child. This would make for an idyllic setting into which they could bring a family … unfettered by any impediments … and enjoying freedoms that a successful business and a debt-free life could provide. A magnificent Plan!

Time passed. The business excelled their highest hopes. Its debts were all satisfied and profits accumulated. The home was built and all in 'The Lakes' acknowledged the new home on the shore of the large lake to be the most distinctive and understatedly elegant of all other homes in the pinnacle place of the neighborhood. Then the house was paid for, and time and circumstance ready for the ultimate step in their Plan. She became pregnant. They were realizing the fulfillment of all of their dreams.

Then the cancer. A tumor on his brain. Inoperable. Death eminently a short time away. She was disconsolate to the extent that her body began rejecting their child. The baby died before birth. Her husband died shortly thereafter. This was not their Plan! The glorious Plan was obliterated by the natural and normal elements of life. Elements that they had never considered might be visited upon them. They had insulated themselves in a shell of arrogant design that assumed their control of their destiny. And life simply did not comply with their design.

And this was the woman who I had for so long seen dragging her Self out to pick her newspaper up from the driveway of that magnificent house. The person whose shoulders drooped in the posture of a slave beaten into submissive servitude by a Master of compassionless intent. She was existing in a vacuum devoid of hope … of life itself. Not what she and he had ever “planned.”

And I thanked Life for the lesson. And I renewed my sense of urgency in saying what I have to say … to You … in this, the moment that we are certain of. If I am aware of a sense of Love … I speak “Love.” If I know concern … I tell you of my concern … right now. When you make me happy to consider the wonder of You … You are going to hear of it … right then! I will let no “Plan” nor postponement for some other “more opportune time” dissuade me from giving all that I have to give in each instance of “here and now.” Life has been generous and loving enough, to validate and reinforce the legitimacy of those determinations … with lessons taught by examples like the “Lady of The Lakes.”

20 comments:

lime said...

man, i can just feel the weight she carried around. without judgment on the plans she and her husband made i'll just say, that's why i'd rather make people than things the priority. i do feel for her.

Jules~ said...

I can only imagine the realization and pain that woman must carry around. I think maybe to one degree or another, we have all looked back on something with a "if only I would have" thought. I know what she must carry though is a very heavy pain.

Misty Dawn said...

I just want to hug her... I just want to attempt to ease the pain she feels for just a few moments and make her smile.

It is with tears in my eyes that I thank you for sharing this story. I have tried to express to a certain someone - yes, my husband - that you need to realize and appreciate the 'living' moments around you... the moments with your family, your wife, your animals. Unlike the television, which seems to too often take precedence, those 'living' moments cannot be replayed by pushing the rewind button... life doesn't give us re-runs... television does.

I'm sorry, I guess this just sparked something I have an issue with. Forgive me for using your comment section to 'vent'.

If you want to laugh, my friend - I made an attempt to make my friends giggle by being both silly and corny with my Camera-Critters post at www.mistysmusings.com. If you visit that post and I make you smile - or better yet, make you giggle - my goal will be accomplished ;-)

John-Michael said...

I can not count the times that I have felt the burden of grief for that poor sad Soul. Each morning that I look at the house (she sold it and moved away a few years ago ... said that she could never be happy there), I relive that morning of her telling her story, and many mornings after as we exchanged greetings. And I refresh the pages of that lesson in the book of my Life as I renew my determination to not leave any day with any "I wish I had ..."s behind.

Thank You for your Loving reception of it, Sweet Lime.

John-Michael said...

Jules~, My Dearest One, I do hope that this Lady's plight has provided added buffers of awareness for the protection of Your lovely Heart.

You, I Love.

John-Michael said...

(i whisper ... softly ... lovingly ... tenderly) misty, sweet, dear, misty, never, ever, ever, allow any molecule of doubt that every; i said ... every single tiny expression of your heart is always ... always embraced and cherished by me. there will never be any need for anything remotely resembling "forgiveness" from me for having shared in the concerns of your priceless feelings and spirit. ever.

I Adore every aspect of your loving being.

Corey~living and loving said...

Thank you for sharing this story. Such a sad reminder that we all must seize the day, and chose to be happy NOW. Do what we dream NOW. All too many wait for the "right time" and sometimes....it comes a little too late.

Anonymous said...

How sad for that lady....no plans rarely go as we wish. But LIFE offers more to us. Easing someone elses troubled spirit, as you do JohnMichael. Thank God for you!!

John-Michael said...

When I read your comment, Darling Corey, I was instantly reminded of your moment of decision to open the world of new perceptions and appreciations to Sugar Bear ... with her own camera. And how wondrous the results have been from the start! Your awareness of, and response to her Spirit is an ongoing source of joy for Me. I am grateful for Life's enhancement of my life ... with You.

Admiringly, and Lovingly ...

John-Michael said...

I thank You for your gracious kindness, my Anonymous Friend. I do find satisfaction and fulfillment in my election to be available to those who Life blesses my moments with.

NAMASTE

CrazyCath said...

How very sad. The best of intentions, the worst of outcomes.

It brings a new meaning to Carpe Deum.

Anonymous said...

In response to the LL story. I learned very early in life about the " I should haves." My Father would ask my Mother on numerous occasions to go to town with him. We lived in the country, so we didn't get in very often, or get away from chores, or work, on the farm. My Mother would always tell him, “Take Elaine, I have laundry to do, (or ironing to do), or (garden to attend etc).” I know she would have loved to come but the duties of a farm wife were unending and the things had to be done right away (in her mind.) I ,on the other hand, got to spend quality time with my Father (that I cherish to this day.)

My Father developed cancer and died when I was 10. My Mother often commented later that she should have left the chores and gone with my Father for the extra time they could have had together.

So now as an adult I let my house go dusty, leave the laundry in the basket, and the dishes in the sink, until later, when ever my Husband asks me if I want to do something with him. Be it going to the hardware store, grocery store, a drink on the deck or a ride in the car, as one never knows how many times you'll get the chance "to go to town"

(Often!) Elaine

John-Michael said...

Dear Sweet Elaine, how I did enjoy seeing your "I should have" reference. It was so nice of you to remind me of those precious moments spent together as I visited Steven's work-place and basked in the joy of being with you.

I am grateful for this validation of the Lady's story (which is why I lifted it from your Email and posted it as this "comment" [teehee].)

I love You Darlin' and hope to be with you sooner than the eight years between our last meetings.

John-Michael said...

Succinctly summarized CathDaughter!

Loving You ...

nitebyrd said...

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!
~ Robert Burns

How sad for her. The story is heartbreaking but it is a good lesson.

Crystal said...

We can never be anywhere but...now. I'm with Misty Dawn in feeling like I just want to hug her, take away all the bad stuff just to see a smile replace everything else.

John-Michael said...

I know that You, Dear sensitive and caring Crystal, can appreciate the burden of helplessness that I felt every morning that I saw her there. The desire to lift all that burdened her from her Heart was never-relenting. And even her moving away left the powerful residual energy of that sorrow at that house each time I pass it.

I delight in knowing that I share this awareness with a Soul as beautiful as yours. Lovingly ...

John-Michael said...

How could I possibly add to what Burns spoke so well. (been a long time since I last visited this work [smile])

Thank you, Dear NiteByrd. Loving You ...

Jen Ballantyne said...

What wonderful reminder John-Michael, we are sometimes a bit too arrogant in assuming we can make plans and they will happen the way we want them to. We can very easily forget that things can happen that we haven't accounted for. I like that saying 'by the Grace of God I/we will.....'whatever it may be. It is humble and acknowledges that we are not in charge of everything. Take good care my friend, Jen B.

John-Michael said...

I am trying to recall (because I am too lazy to look it up [smile]) the scripture that goes something like "Take no thought for tomorrow ... for sufficient unto this day is the evils thereof." (what John-Michael's heart hears in this is ) "Do not invest your mind in tomorrow ... for I have given your mind all that it can handle ... today" I think that we are on the same page here Jen. (OH!! I just had a sense of the joy that would be mine if You and I were reading to each other. SWEET!!)

I dance the dance of my Spirit's loving al that is You...

Creative Commons License
Unless expressly stated, all original material, of whatever nature, created by J. Michael Brown (John-Michael) and included in this weblog and any related pages, including the weblog's archives is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License.