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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Her Life Or Something Like It



Have you met my friend Java? She's quite a gal. And a tough one at that. They say that life isn't for the fainthearted....and I'm sure she can attest to that. I found her in October 2007, nearly two years now. I can't remember the exact connection or whose link led me to her. But something about her writing and the story of her life has kept me interested. You'll find 100 Things About Her here.


I won't go into all of the sordid details of her quite active life. But suffice it to say that she's a woman with more than her share of challenges. I mean, I don't know how many difficult events one person is supposed to be able to handle in the time we are allotted on this earth but if I were guessing, I'd say that she has more than most. More than she should. More than I do. She raises four children, two of whom are adopted and run her ragged with special needs. They treat her horribly sometimes. The stories break my heart. She struggles to make ends meet and always does her very best to make sure her family is taken care of -- often at her own expense. She struggles with the throws of depression and self image troubles and there are days that it's even a challenge to run a brush through her own hair .... but if you look her picture, you'll see the face of a woman who has seemingly been through it all and still smiles. She definitely knows how to put a spin on her daily events that brings a smile to my face. She drives an old pickup that is one of the most near and dear pieces of property to her. When I first began reading her site, she was driving a school bus -- getting up early each morning to drive a bus load of special needs kids to and from school each day in the mountains of South Carolina. She's a giant advocate for human rights including gay equality. She and her family are not afraid to dive into the lives of kids struggling with their identities and help them out. And they have attended more than one Gay Pride event in their neck of the woods. She's also exactly, precisely, four weeks older than I am -- which makes me giggle.

Her stories have broken my heart -- the stories of struggle with her children's lives and how they mistreat her. The stories of knowing she is the parent, and that they are her children, and how she knows she is supposed to care for them but has this heart-wrenching guilt twisting at her very being when they make her life hell. Just a day or two ago, she wrote: "The pressure is building. My soul cries out to be allowed to grow. Significant elements of my life are squeezing me, restricting my capacity for contemplation and growth. It's crippling. I am slowly suffocating." My heart breaks as I read of a mother's struggle to survive. Yesterday, in response to her above statement, I wrote back to her: "To My Much Older Sister on The Journey, Small faith holds to hope. No faith is a dark place." I've run out of inspiring words for her as I know she has for herself. My own life experience has prompted me to have a giant soft spot for those who truly struggle in their lives -- not those with negativism or bad attitudes or those who do it for attention -- but for those who are honestly, truthfully, trying to make a real go of this thing we call life. And she is...without pretentiousness or demanding attention. I know that she has no idea what her tomorrow will bring. And that waking up to the next day's sunrise may not always be pretty. With gladness in her heart, she carries on -- or shall I say struggles on. Nonetheless, she moves forward with that beautiful smile and just the right amount of lines etched on her face to give her full authority to speak as a woman who knows life intimately.

Oh, hold on a minute here, I've just reminded myself of one of my earliest connections to Java. And she doesn't even know this story because I've never even told her. I had been reading her site for only a few weeks when I ran across her post from October 13, 2007. She ended this post with these words:

"If I had a working digital camera I would take pics then post them here for you. But alas, I have no camera worth taking. That's one of those things on my wish-list, for when I have enough money to spend on that after buying food, gas, paying utilities, etc. Being a grown-up has disadvantages, for sure."

And it hit me....I was supposed to give her my own digital camera. I knew it. I felt it strongly. You see, I've felt a few times in life like I was supposed to do this or that for someone. Sometimes I've not done it and have always regretted not being attentive to my own spirit guiding me. Nowadays, I am much more in tune and try to follow its lead. And so, on this day, I knew that I was supposed to box up my digital camera and mail it off to this woman who did not have one and could not afford one. Unfortunately, I had only just met this woman and took just a few days or a week to formulate how I was going to present this camera to her. In the meantime, she was given another camera......and my whole theory on doing the right thing was shot......damn it. I've never told her this story until today -- and she is reading this firsthand just as the rest of you are. About knowing knowing knowing that I was supposed to send her the camera. Just because. Because it was right. And then it folded in on me as she got a new camera for herself. Ugh. I need to move faster when life's opportunities call.


So, today my dear beautiful friend, I send you wind for this fragile journey (or up your skirt if that works better for you). A breeze behind you during each troubling day. The sun to warm your sinking shoulders and the gentle finger of love to reach just underneath your chin and lift up your pretty head. You've been nothing but an inspiration to me, to the blogging world, and to your family. It's time you be an inspiration to yourself. With much peace and confidence, I tell you today that I believe in you. For yesterday, today, and for tomorrow.

You'll excuse me now, I have to go. My eyes have filled with tears for those who struggle.

11 comments:

Larry Ohio said...

What a terrific post! Thank you for introducing me to Java and her blog.

Ultra Dave said...

I actually had the pleasure of meeting Java in person a month or so ago over dinner. She is truly a beautiful person and one I'm glad to call friend. Your post was a wonderful salute her and her life. Thanks Arnie!

LeLo said...

You're such a good person. Inspiring!

Mike, Studio city said...

My aunt Louise is much like her. She raised six kids. She even let me live with her when I was seventeen. Then there were seven kids. She is always there for her kids, grand kids, and great grand kids, even at the age of 81. People like your friend and my aunt are very rare, and you like myself are very fortunate to have them in our lives.

catrina said...

A fitting tribute to a wonderful lady!

Blair said...

Brought tears to my eyes when I read this first thing this morning. Truly inspiring and puts so much in perspective. Thank you!

Michael Guy said...

Beautiful post! There are heroes all around us if we open our eyes and really see.

Birdie said...

Java really is an amazing woman. In addition to her full heart, she is brilliant and hilarious. I had a chance to spend half a day with her last August, and I hope to again in a few days if she can possibly get away for a few hours. I really hope we can meet, but more for her sake than my own. I am proud to call her my friend.

CJ/Rick said...

You're a kind and wise fellow Lewis. What a great post.

tornwordo said...

Aw, you're a good egg A. But we already knew that.

Java said...

Thank you, dear Lewis. It's interesting (and a bit embarrassing) to read someone else's perceptions of oneself. I appreciate your friendship, virtual though it be.