It took me a long time to realize how important two particular women in my life were. Both Norma and Sandra have had a tremendous impact on my getting to know who I really am.
My mother, of course, had a big impact, my four daughters also had an enlightening impact, but it was Norma, my wife of forty-seven years and Sandra my present wife of five years, that forced me to really look at myself and ask, “Who am I?
In my post Another Look At Love the three aspects of love in the
Greek Language was mentioned. The statement was made “we still have to go beyond that, I will explain later,” also the statement “our experiences are our truths.”
That explanation in respect to my experiences will give you an idea of how a number of incidents in my life, brought me to a point of better understanding of who I am, and the benefits that go with it.
Please don’t look at my experiences for you, your experiences are going to be different, but like me, those experiences have a purpose.
We have to listen to our inner voice, our own intellect, to discover the meaningful aspect of who we are. No one can tell us who we are, but we can find out for ourselves. Again, that is why this blog is called I don’t have the answer, but you do.
The Beginning Of A Journey.
In earlier posts I’ve mentioned the first time I saw Norma, I was fifteen, that was when my journey of love could have begun, but didn’t. (A year later I got up enough nerve to ask her on a date and three years later we were married.) There was no understanding of what took place, it was over fifty years later before there was a realization of what took place that day.
Both Norma and I had a fair amount of exposure to church, Norma was Catholic and I was Protestant, belonging to the United Church of Canada. Not a good combination at that time in our locality. My experience with church was one of, “made to be part of, by my parents.” Later, when I could make my own choice, I turned my back on the institution. Norma, was more faithful to church, was lukewarm towards the priest but liked the Mother Superior, even though she was very strict.
We did get back to church and approximately fifteen years later we were attending a Baptist Church. We had teen age children at that point. Because of some difficulties I discussed the matter with the minister. When I told Norma she was livid. She said “your the father, the minister does not know how to handle this, but you do.”
It was a couple of years later that I came to Ontario to study Theology and become a minister. This was a drastic turn of events for me, but the calling was so strong, in some ways I had no choice. But, did I ever get it wrong, I thought this was the beginning of my journey, but it turned out to be another side road, like many others I had taken, it led to a dead end.
After thirty seven years of marriage, Norma took ill and was confined to a wheelchair, her desire was for me to care for her. I was now out of the ministry and back into business. Norma’s request was stronger than the call of business, although for the first two years, I wasn’t sure. It was trying times.
I still needed to go to church and at that time was attending a Presbyterian Church. The church was not accessible for a wheelchair, so Norma was at home and if there was a problem she would phone me. Two Sundays in a row she had to phone, not because she wanted to, but had too. This made me reconsider leaving her each week, from that point on, I stopped attending church.
Norma and I had another ten years before she passed away. After, I got into the caregiver routine, I have to say that ten years were some of the best years of our life together, even though there were many hills to climb.
The last couple of months, there was a distinct change in Norma and it was the last couple of weeks that I recognized, or began to recognize. It came to a full realization after she passed away, when I realized how things were changing for me as well.
We were operating a B & B for the last few years that Norma was alive. I continued on with this. I enjoyed cooking and the people that came to the B&B. In a way this was the first time I was by myself and I was thoroughly enjoying it, I was meeting many people thorough the B&B.
A couple of years later one of the couples that were regulars at the B&B invited me to a Sports Bar where he was playing. He was a musician, the plan was to introduce me to a friend of theirs. That is when I met Sandra. I danced with her that evening and on the way home I thought about how I enjoyed dancing with her.
Friends visiting the B&B that weekend encouraged me to call her, after I mentioned to them about the previous evening. I was to meet Sandra on Tuesday for lunch but got cold feet. I called to let her know, she was not overly busy at work, so we chatted for a while and I called her at home that night. We spoke every evening that week and Saturday Night we went to a dance.
We were late coming from the dance and I had a two hour drive home. Sandra had a spare room and invited me to stay for the night. The next morning she was going cross country skiing and I was going home. Sandra was making my breakfast and I was making her lunch. This was our first time together, when I was leaving, I took her in my arms and said “I Love You.” That was as much a surprise to me as it was to Sandra.
I said, “I won’t call you this week, to give you time to process what I just said. If you wish you may call me.” She called every evening.
A year and a half later we were married.
My experience on meeting those two ladies was very much the same, yet it was two different people and approximately fifty years apart.
In both instances, I was completely overwhelmed and was so happy. It was later when reading “The Brain that changes itself by Norman Doidge” that I recognized it was the Neuromodulator controlling the brain that gave a person that type of a feeling. Actually, he said the brain wave pattern was the same as a person high on cocaine, I wasn’t, but I knew the feeling.
He described it as “Romantic Love.”
That “Romantic Love” was with myself, not with either of the women.
Norma had been my soulmate, she was gone, now Sandra was my soulmate. I am a very lucky guy.
I had to get this “Romantic Love” aspect understood.
There were three factors that were completely different, two different women and fifty years apart, I didn’t understand the romantic love aspect. This is when lateral thinking allowed me to think outside the box and go to my inner self for an answer.
It took a while, then I realized the love was with myself.
In “Eat, Pray and Love by Elizabeth Gilbert” soulmate popped up, this time I was challenged. Three quotes from this book, “people think, a soul mate is your perfect fit.” “A true soulmate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.” “But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soulmates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave.”
The first part of the second statement ” A true soulmate is probably the most important person you will ever meet.” was no problem, the part where “they tear down your walls and smack you awake” was a problem. To be completely honest I guess at one point I may have accepted that second part, now it was different.
I again went to my inner self for an answer or some sort of understanding. “They come in your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you.” I realize it is not my wife’s problem but mine, and I deal with it. “Then they DON’T leave.”
The Journey Begins In Earnest.
Life is a journey, when I was fifteen I could have begun my personal journey in earnest. It was two weeks before Norma passed away, that my journey begun in earnest.
There was a lot I didn’t understand then, now it is much clearer, enough that I can articulate somewhat with confidence and encourage others to get on their personal journey, if they are not already on it.
It is so easy to convince ourselves we are on our personal journey when we rely on others, what we see, hear and learn, anything associated with our five senses, that is not who we are. It is other people saying who we are. To know who we are comes from our soul.
The world is awash with knowledge of how we should live, what we should do and on and on.
You don’t learn life you live it.
A good part of my years, I worshipped death and took life for granted.
When I met Sandra, I had been on my personal journey for a couple of years. I told her I was on a journey and asked her if she would like to come with me, she agreed. I’m sure she didn’t understand, because at that time there was much I didn’t understand. I tried to explain to her, but got no where with it. It is difficult to explain something succinctly to someone when your own understanding is not clear. It was my personal journey. Finally out of exasperation, Sandra said “don’t tell me, show me.”
I realized then, it is not your better half that has to deal with a tear down, I had to face myself and allow my inner self to do the tearing down. I could not accomplish the tear down myself, when that was fully realized, my expectations of other people was nil. If I could not accomplish it myself, how could I expect it of another person.
My journey has been, and is, “A Journey to Love,” to love myself. After all, we are ninety-nine point nine per cent the same. If I could truly love myself, it would not be too difficult to love others. My journey has and is a “Pilgrim Walk” I am A Pilgrim journeying through this world, I hope my blog speaks to you as a Pilgrim. One Pilgrim to another.
Norma’s anger with me about being the father of my children, her condition that caused me to forfeit going to church and Sandra’s “Don’t tell me, show me,” forced me to look at myself and what I was doing. Those two statements and one incident helped in many ways to get me on the correct road to my destination.
“Don’t tell me, show me,” is about walking the walk and not talking the talk. It is so easy to find the right words and know the talk, but I have found and you will as well, if you have not already found, “that walking does the talking for you.”
Remember, one picture is worth a thousand words.
This journey has given me a different vision of myself, those around me and my responsibilities as a father and husband. Some things were so different then what I had perceived, but then it is a Pilgrim walk.
Next post will be a continuation of that “Journey to Love.”
Your comments or questions are always appreciated, have a great day.