My friend Bonnie always used to say that we should sow our seeds where we are planted. She was the child of an oil field worker and then married one and she knew well what it was like to move frequently. But she tried to be present and involved no matter where she was at the time.
For the year and a half that I resided in my hometown outside Chicago, I tried to do that. I involved myself in life there as much as I could. While I continued to travel quite a bit, I wrote for the newspaper, attended weekly Mass, and tried to get together with friends as much as possible. Because Naperville is a very family oriented town, it often was difficult for me as a single person (the only man to ask me out the entire time I lived there was hovering around 70 years old).
I tried though. I planted flowers in my front yard. I talked to people when I was out run-walking the dogs. Beacuse I work at home I made sure I left the house most days to run errands and connect with people.
There are multiple announcements ahead but the first part of my new road now has pavement. After working on this for several months, I have been given the go-ahead from both the pastor of the church I attend in Albuquerque (Immaculate Conception) and the head of the Family Life Ministry at the Archdiocese of Santa Fe to begin a group for divorced and separated women.
There currently is something close in place at other parishes but I wanted to do something a little different– run the group in 8-week cycles so the group doesn't get stuck in ruminating about the past as can happen in ongoing support groups but instead focus on building skills to create hope, move forward, and grow through a difficult experienece. As I sat in the parking lot of the Archdiocese yesterday I worried that I might offend Beth, the head of Family Life, because I wanted to change things from the way they are being done at other parishes.
However, once we met, we quickly agreed on the changes and she told me to thank Fr. Garcia for sending me her way because she's been wanting to make changes and I am an answered prayer. The hope is that as a younger person, I might attract younger women who are struggling to this group and help them find a community of support.
It's so easy to let fear and pain guide us. When we're born, we're not fearful of anything but through time we are told no so often (and for good reason for some of it!) that we begin to develop fears. We also develop pain because of the things that people say or do to us. We believe what anyone tells us, especially the people who love us. And when they act out in their own pain, giving us a chunk of it, we end up carrying that with us.
That makes it hard for the good things in life to guide us. We get used to pain guiding us. When someone upsets us, we automitically go into pain mode; we think that everything is bad, that the person doesn't like us, that all is over. Reality is that it's all about how we interpret the situation and we should see the good in. Of course no one should be hurting us but we do need to remember that just because they said something to us that upset us doesn't mean that it was meant to upset us.