Sunday, January 31, 2010

Freedom Checklist

On a day in late June of 2007 I came home to a letter in my door that turned what I thought was the steady foundation of my marriage into sinking sand. By August, I was told I had to give up the fight with the words from the counselor ringing in my ears, "It takes two to be in a relationship, but only one to destroy it."

In September of that year I was sinking fast with a two year old who needed me and a congregation I was solo pastoring that did its best to understand, but unless you've been through it, how can you? I realized that I needed to start making my own light at the end of the tunnel and so I created the Freedom Checklist.

These were goals that I put down that now were no longer up to someone else to help me achieve. They were all mine.

5) Credit cards paid off.
4) $6000 in savings.
3) Hug The Boy 1,000+ times.
2) Purchase a home or move significantly towards the purchase of a home.
1) Take The Boy to Disney when he turns 5.

This is not a post to gloat, but rather to celebrate so nevermind the details. I am not sure on the exact number for #3 but I get a hug in whenever I can. I have purchased a home which means although I had achieved #4, I am now working back towards it. And #5 has been completed.

Tomorrow we leave for Disney. We've been saving for 2 and a half years. Today at church folks asked The Boy if they could come with him and he would smile sweetly and say, "Do you have your money in a jar?"

Almost a year ago today I was accepted as the new Head of Staff at the church I currently serve. When The Boy and I came back into the Sanctuary, we received a standing ovation. I soaked it in for all it was worth and considered it our victory lap.

"Congratulations kathrynzj! You have escaped the abyss that is the heartbreak of betrayal and the grief that comes with divorce. Where are you going to go next?"


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

If I Were a Rich Man

It's been awhile since my last post. Truth be told I have been on a sprint through December learning a new congregation's holiday rhythm all while my family played its own version of the Blues.

We're doing ok. My sister said it best when she said she understood that the nursing home version of Dad had died, but she keeps looking around for the 'Real Dad' to show back up.

My father and I bonded many, many years ago when he would take me to Brooklyn on Saturday mornings with him to help out my uncle. We blared Fiddler on the Roof all the way there and all the way back. As a first generation American, my father had lived in a poor Jewish section of Brooklyn with his immigrant parents. Blue collar all of his life, he related to Tevye's lament: 'If I were a rich man'.

If you have heard the song, then you can imagine a teenage daughter's feigned horror as her father hit every "yiddy, biddy... and deedle, deedle, dum," not to mention the loud imitations of chickens and hens "squawking just as noisily as they can."

The part that seemed to hit my father the most was when Tevye was singing about what he would do for his wife, Golde. I have no intention of romanticizing a marriage that lasted over forty years and certainly had some ups and downs. Really, since my own marriage only hit the eleven year mark because the divorce papers weren't signed yet, I cannot make much comment at all. But I do think that my father died with the knowledge that at least in the currency of family, he died a wealthy man.

My father has two daughters and a wife. All of them have a roof over their head and have had opportunities to do things his parents would not have even thought to dream of doing. His grandson speaks of his Zayde almost every day and is enjoyed by his Gram on a non-stop basis. His other grandson held onto his finger before he died and seemed to pass on some inner knowledge of the place his grandfather was soon to go.

I believe my Dad died in peace knowing that in fact he was a very rich man.