When does the real life begin?

Heat like a blast furnace.  The state is on fire.  In this first world country, we are suffering  power outages.  Last night I just finished cooking supper when the power went out.  I was grateful for the timing.

I went over to my neighbor’s house.  Her tests all came back OK, and she was sent back home.  She estimates the hospital bill to be in the tens of thousands of dollars.  She will need to pay a couple thousand of that.  But she is not a complainer, so she just says she’s grateful she wasn’t having a stroke.

As I sat on her front porch with her, chatting companionably, I thought about how very comforting it was.  How this is my real life.

I grew up with a set idea about how my life would be.  I would be married, have children, have a loving husband to grow old with.  These dreams have persisted long after the reality became clear.  The reality is that I do not have a loving husband.  I do not even have a liking boyfriend.  And I guess I don’t care enough to change that.  But it does make me sad.

When I talked to Ed on Sunday, I realized again that he is a constant in my life.  We love each other truly and deeply.  We could never be married because he is a liar.  When I discovered this, in 1989, I pinned him to the ground, I sat on him, and pinned his wrists down with my angry hands.  (he is a huge man, so I am clear that he allowed me to do this)  I said to him “if you had the choice of telling the truth or telling a lie, and the truth would be easier, you would still lie, wouldn’t you?”  He said he would.  But he is in my life and has been for nearly 28 years.  I love him.  He has always been there for me.  I have been there for him.

He didn’t look like my dream of a man in a suit with a blue Brooks Brothers shirt.  He is a former Hell’s Angel. It took me a long time to realize he was it.  He was not a dress rehearsal for someone better.

And my neighbor, she is a wonderful friend.  She is not a place-marker for someone else who might come along.  She is my friend and I am grateful for her.

I have dreamed of sitting on the front porch on a  summer’s evening with the Brooks Brothers shirt man who would love me endlessly.  But it turns out that I get to sit on a front porch with a woman who walks her cat on a leash.  And I am grateful.

This is my real life.  This is not waiting for something better.  This is it.

Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.  ~~  Matthew 7:13-14

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19 Responses to When does the real life begin?

  1. Raf says:

    I have been reading your blogs for well over 2 years when you blogged at Google, and have enjoyed them immensely. Your writing skills are very good too. As for me, I’m 58 years old, and have been trying to stay sober since 1981. I have put together 5 and one half years between 2004 and 2009, took a drink, and been struggling to get and stay sober ever since. I am a walking dead man, as I have cirrhosis of the liver. That said, I look forward to your blogs daily, and I’m glad that I’ve found you here.

    Just another Alcoholic trying to stay sober.

  2. luluberoo says:

    Inspiring! God gave us “real lives”. Why can’t we all quit our bitching, and help one another walk through together.

    Awesome post, you are smokin’ this morning.

  3. atomicmomma says:

    Your writing is truly a gift for me. A privilege to follow and read your blog. Thank you for your honesty and the compassion and love with which you approach your life.

  4. Mary LA says:

    We all need someone like Ed in our lives — human and outspoken and caring. I am so sorry to hear about his son.

  5. Jackie says:

    You hit a chord with me this morning. This is our REAL life. It is so much better than I had 5 years ago. God changes us for His purpose! Your purpose in my life is to read your words that are so richly put. I too had those dreams. It has taken so many years to come out of the darkness. I realized not to long ago that I was mourning that dream. Then recently I have been reminded Live today! With whatever is given! Words to live by.
    Keep writing, MC you give us all something to look forward to.

  6. Annette says:

    Oh Mary you made me laugh….Ed is a liar, but he would probably take a bullet for you. So we take what we like and leave the rest. Oh that all of us would have a big fearless Hell’s Angel friend on our side! You lucky girl! And your cat walking friend who helps you in the garden and shops for new plants with you…..YES! I think these unique crazy people are gifts in our lives. You are blessed my Love. As am I with all of my quirky people in my life. I am so glad that we both are open enough to recognize the beautiful gifts we have been given! Yes, this is the real deal. No dress rehearsal, this is our life. What a beautiful post Mary. Just so you know, I look forward to what I will read here every morning. :o)

    • My Hell’s Angel friend is now 71 years old – or maybe older. He’s not so bad-ass anymore. But he’s still my Ed.

      • Annette says:

        Ahhhhh but in his mind I bet he’s as bad ass as ever!
        Are you near all these fires I’m hearing about? Be safe, wear a mask if you must! Lol

  7. Syd says:

    I think that every day that goes by is one less for me to live. I have squandered days. Maybe I am doing that now. But at least, I am doing something that feels like progress. And when it’s all over, I imagine that I will still be wanting to do something productive.
    I don’t understand those that lie when the truth would be better. I don’t understand those who can’t be honest with themselves or others. But I don’t have to understand, just accept, take what I like and leave the rest.

  8. Dave U says:

    good good good good good

  9. Pam says:

    It’s funny how the really “great” moments were never even dreamed about. Excuse me, a cat on a leash??? 🙂

    • You are right about that Pammie. Yes, she walks her cat around the neighborhood on a leash. She loves her kitty and doesn’t want to lose her. Also, there are so many wild animals around here, it really isn’t safe to have a cat wandering around.

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