Strength In The Olive Jar...
Whoever said that "persevering through life with good thoughts and a positive attitude would always deliver a high degree of success and happiness" obviously never experienced a divorce. I will never say that my life's prominent attitude was always positive and an effortless progression of my mental proficiencies. However, I have always believed that developing a behavioural tendency toward habitually practicing the mind with good, better and best would allow one's life to be permeated with great opportunities.
OK, OK. I admit it. I am a writer. However, with that secret exposed, let's get REAL! After a marriage in which I experienced verbal, physical, and emotional abuse, (during last five years of marriage) how successful or ready for the world do you think I would be? Yet, my ex-spouse had no regret of abandoning our two children and me and with no concern for health, wealth, or about any of our tomorrows. If I had been a "pickle in a barrel", I would have been at the bottom, bruised by the pressure of all the wonderful, great tasting pickles. Lying at the bottom of the barrel would have been - me, stranded and alone to be discarded in the trash.
I just described the condition of my life during this stage. "Trash". At least, this is how I felt. As reluctant as I am to admit my plight, it was no recondite matter-of-fact or no obscurity to the acquaintances that remained in my life. With respect to my circumstances, I did regard my life to be important to my children and my family who resided in Louisiana. Although, in spite of my diminished degree of significance in the world, somewhere between "this is reality" and being "completely bummed out", I knew that I had to find the strength to place one foot in front of the other and begin my new walk in life.
Now, time to get a job. My daughter's friend's mother was a Vice President of Nations Bank. One day while my daughter was visiting her friend, they asked the mother if I could have an interview. Fortunately, I had bank experience and it proved very beneficial in my efforts to acquire a job. While not the greatest job that I ever had, but I would be making $8.00 an hour as a bank teller. WOW!! Also, I began working at Lord and Taylor to help with my children's clothing needs. My daughter had a car, so she chauffeured me around until my dad offered to purchase me a new, but small, Chevrolet from Ray Huffines. It was not my Lincoln, but I was thrilled. Moving from our 4 bedroom, 3-1/2 bath house with a back yard pool and into a 3 bedroom apartment was nothing to write home about either.
Was I now ready to face the world? Frankly and honestly, NO! However, day-by-day, I began to make "baby steps" towards a small measure of success. I had 100% attendance, I was good at accounting, math, etc., and I could exhibit a strong desire to work. Actually, work became my new habitual ambition. Confining myself to work occupied my life and mind while helping me not to reflect on my life's circumstances.
It is now time to explain the "strength in the olive jar". There were many aspects of my marriage that were as insidious as "black mold". Such is the fact that my husband controlled all that was placed on the dinner table. If the food before him was not to his liking, I was instantly and constantly reminded of the amazing culinary skills of his three sisters and his mother. At first, I could live with it, but with the gradual and cumulative effects of his actions, I grew very weary and resented being compared to anyone. However, since it was his typical behaviour to compare me to many of my friends, it was extremely difficult for me to make and maintain meaningful friendships. I was not at a healthy place, either physically or mentally.
Despite all that I did not know about myself, I knew enough to know that I loved olives. It would be a reasonable assumption and a brief moment before you conclude that my ex-spouse did not like olives. At this time in my life, I had not purchased a jar in years. Subsequently, my trips to the grocery usually concluded with me drooling over a jar of olives. However, I could not persuade myself to touch them. Unfortunately, I had been conditioned to think that I did not like them. One day, my overwhelming desire for olives began to be an insurmountable NEED. I could think of nothing else. So, I walked right into that grocery and made my way to the aisle with the olives. I walked by them several times before I picked up a jar and held it for a few minutes. I stared at the olives as if the jar contained diamonds. I began to cry. The significance of this step in my life was like a magnetic resonance. Removing that jar from my hand - no; and analogically speaking, it was the harmony on my score of music.
I was liberated, en-powered, finding me again and so much more. I had broken through my dark veil of inhumanity and fear of who I was as a woman. I could BE! That first jar of olives was the catalyst to my new beginning. Sometimes it is something just so simple that can inspire and move us into action and reaction. A scripture that encouraged me to continually give God my life; Matthew 11:29 - "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." This is exactly the medicine that I needed to continue my new walk. I needed gentleness, not abuse. Understanding, not ridicule. I could go on and on.
So, OMG, well, where do I go from here? I choose to see strength in a jar of olives and not be a pickle at the bottom of the barrel. Tune in next time for my segment entitled, The Three S's.