I’m In

I join my friend Lisa every Monday night, live on social media, to talk about widowhood.  When she first pitched me the idea  I was completely reluctant. I didn’t want to be on camera. I didn’t want anyone knowing my flaws. Seeing my flaws. Hearing my sad tale. As a writer it seemed okay to put “it” on paper for people to read. Actually talking out loud on livestream? Absolutely not. I’m a terrible talker. I ALWAYS say the wrong thing. I’m convinced I have a miswired brain. I know in my mind what I’m trying to say and it invariably comes out construed. Writing? Much better platform for someone like me.  But, for whatever reason,  I texted Lisa back and said, “I’m in”. 

The very first broadcast I belted back two shots of Titos in my dead husbands  35 year old KA shot glass before signing on. I am woman hear me roar! Well, not really. The entirety of my 27 year marriage I had never done a single shot. I figured what better time to start my new boldness with, well, boldness!  I don’t remember much except that I survived it and I said “yes” to the following weeks Instalive. With each week that passed, I began to realize I was verbally exposing parts of myself that I hadn’t  talked about with anyone except my grief counselor. I said a lot of things wrong. I said a lot of things to evade  real issues and  instead provoke laughter. And still, I kept returning, and so did our tiny little following of women.

We have talked boldly about missing having sex  yet not possibly imagining  being with anyone else. No, wait, maybe we are ready to date?! Wait, just kidding,  on second thought? Maybe not yet. The roles our dogs have played in our healing. Our kids. Our faith. Our communities.  All of our dialoging and processing is the exact kind of nonsensical rambling that would have sent me over the freaking edge 5 years ago. And yet? LOL here I am. I’ve held in all this crap for all this time that I thought was inconsequential. Evidently it matters to a number of other  women too who just won’t say it out loud either. They keep tuning in and contacting us. It has been a joy  making connections. 

I had no idea who I was after my husband died. My entire identity was stripped away. Couple that with moving to a metropolitian area? I went from somebody to nobody pretty dag gone quickly. It’s humbling. But I had to make a decision to be me or to hang on to being Mrs. Robin Wooten for the rest of my life. I chose me.  I still don’t have the majority of it all figured out. But I do know this:  I’ve believed God would show me. I’ve believed God would place me where I needed to be. I’ve believed God at his word of never leaving me nor forsaking me.   The day after Robin died it was chaos in our home.  I was in the bathroom trying to just get away from all the people. I sat down on the bench in the shower and tried not to cry. That’s when I heard the Lord say, “trust me”. 

Terrible things happen. Life has to go on or it doesn’t. You can Trust or not trust.  Once you’ve decided to Trust him? I’m finding life is a whole lot more fun just saying, “I’m in”.

“Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you”~Hebrews 13:5

Matters Of The Heart

On Monday  Lisa and I did a video on our experience with racism as Southern married women with families living in small rural towns. I think our intent was a good one. Our premise was to discuss our differences coming out of the same Christian background as widows and how we arrived there. 

 

 

If you watched you know that I was uncomfortable from the very beginning. I asked to pray on air which is something we never do. My mic was off, my words were jumbled, and I felt the oppression from the enemy from the very second I agreed to do it. I held back on some very important thoughts that I shouldn’t have and I repeated points redundantly without clarity. I called my husband small minded with a world view. Actually,  I think he was a  tradionalist by choice with a world view. The whole thing was a train wreck. But that is what satan does.

 

 

When I was first widowed and there was still so much salt in that open wound people said some really stupid things to me. Jumbled Up things. Wrong things. And then there were the akward silent room people who didn’t know what to say. I mean, they were at the funeral, we all knew he was dead! I needed them to acknowledge him. I needed them to acknowledge me. I didn’t want a whole insightment of my 27 year marriage—it was too raw at the time I couldnt have handled it. But a hug and “love you” was perfect.

 

 

I was abused by a relative when my brother was a toddler. I know the time frame only because we were on vacation and when I ran into the kitchen my mother was feeding my brother in a high chair. The horror on her face said she knew. She dismissed me. I surpressed this memory for 33 years. My entire childhood was black until my 40th birthday. And then I remembered. All of it. First I wanted to die. Then I wanted my mother to die. And then I wanted my mother to pay. And I think that is where we are as a nation. The pain is just too much. But I’m going to tell you:  my mother didn’t change nor take ownership. Like at all.

 

“Lillibet what would you have me do? That was three decades ago!”

 

 

Does any of this sound familiar, people?

 

 

God changed my heart towards my mother. It is something supernatural that I can never explain. I was with her the last months of her life and He rectified all that hurt. It was beautiful.

 

 

So what I didn’t say on air is that I maybe understand a nano second of this discussion: as a widow I wanted to be acknowledged that my pain was real and I just needed to be loved. I also didn’t appreciate the stupid things people said but I knew they were trying and it was just an awkward circumstance.

 

 

Likewise as a child abuse survivor I know that Jesus Christ had to change my heart to forgive. I was the victim but there was absolutely no one coming forward to say they were sorry. No one. I knew I was going to destroy everything and everyone I loved if I could not get it together. Jesus changed MY heart. I was the victim and He changed my worldview. Read that again. I was the victim and I forgave. I no longer felt a need for reciprocity for every single horrific thing that happened to me. What I did feel? I wanted everyone I knew to have a changed heart like me—yes, I know, I’m a lot for a lot of people! LOL

 

 

So when I said on air this is a matter of the heart? I know first hand that it is. I don’t claim to know the African American plight. And I dont diminish that. But I also don’t diminish anyone’s pain nor apologize for it -ever. God is in the business of saving us. We need to let Him do his job because we do a lousy job of doing it collectively for ourselves. 

It’s Been A Hot Minute

I remember when I was a child my Mother staring at herself in the mirror and muttering, “where has the time gone, Lillibet?” It really wasn’t a question but more of a statement. Then, when I was a teenager, I remember Jane Condrey telling me two things : (1) I look in the mirror and I’m shocked not to see an 18 year old girl staring back me (2) It goes by so quickly it takes your breath away.

I vividly remember thinking “she’s nuts”. Because all I could see, at that juncture, was time crawling by at a snails pace.

Drum roll~ it’s official–I am now Mr. Peanut.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written on this blog. I say a hot minute; but truly, it’s been almost a year! I don’t even know if blogs are a thing anymore. They are probably obsolete. I tend to be a day late and a dollar short.

I started dating my husband right before my 19th birthday. We married at 23. I was widowed at 51. I had never lived on my own until he died. I finished college in May and moved home with my parents for 2 months. We were married in July. After he finished graduate school we moved back to his hometown to raise our family and we never left. When I made the decision to move to a metropolitan area on my own at the age of 53? Big deal for me. I had every intention of documenting it. Evidently I was too busy living it to remember to write about it.

I highly recommend taking a year and renting if you are on the fence about where you want to live. I have discovered several things about myself–my enneagram 6 wing 5 self craves security and creativity. Even though I am in a very beautiful building on a golf course in an ideal location I miss a house. I want and very much need the security of my own dwelling and the creativity to do my own thing. During this quarantine I have been going nuts not being able to paint or fix or work in a yard or design.

Renting has also helped me figure out exactly where I do want to be when my lease here is up. Had I just jumped into purchasing a home a year ago I most certainly would have had buyers remorse. I have learned that my eastern NC roots are deep and I want to be outside of the city. I need to be able to see sunsets. I need to hear cicadas in the spring and summer. However I also want the conveniences of the city without too much traffic. That’s a tall order but it is possible.

Raleigh and her people have blessed me beyond measure. It’s been like coming home in some ways, in other ways it’s been like a new adventure, and quite honestly? Some days the memories of Robin and of college are so vivid it’s heartbreaking. But I am at peace here.

So in a few weeks I begin re-doing a little house outside of town in the country. I say it’s my last move. But it may not be. My oldest wisest married friend told me that the beauty of my situation is that I have the freedom to move at anytime. I thought that was a wonderful way of looking at being alone. I’m excited about a project.

I’d like to tell you that I will document how the Lord works in my life through this next move and the re-doing of this next home. And I really am going to try and do better. I have a feeling, though, it’ll be a hot minute.