Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Changing the Channel

So here's where I'm at.

It is fast approaching Thanksgiving, Christmas is right around the corner, and I am looking at my oh-so-slender account balance and taking a deep breath.

Make that several deep breaths. Thanks to that one disastrous medical appointment in mid-July, I am still paying off the resulting damage from the doctor who ordered his "favorite" tests over my and my pocketbook's protests, reminding me that he was the one with 14 years of medical training and also insisting that if I were just "firm," the hospital would knock those bills down to nothing.

Add to that the recent email from my ex in which he asked me if I could cover Sam's December rent because he was "very tight" on money this month. (This is the same ex who at the time when I was recovering from my second stem cell transplant and had been unemployed for months, insisted he could not scrape up the money to pay one ( just one!) monthly orthodontia payment.) The ex had promised Sam he would cover his living expenses until Sam finds work. But wait, there's more! After I wrote back yesterday and said it would be hard but Sam and I would make it work for December, the selfsame ex (who is fully employed with benefits) emailed last night to ask me if I could take over Sam's monthly expenses until Sam finds a job.

I was momentarily staggered by his presumptuousness, but then remembered that this is but one of the many reasons we are no longer married.

All the same, it made my chest hurt.

Maybe I need to take a million deep breaths. My thoughts are looping on my grievances against Dr. Bully (now four months in the past) and my grievances against my ex spouse (too far in the past to count).

Several years ago when I was clawing my way out of the wreckage of my marriage, I had a great therapist who helped me put the pieces of my life back together. One of the things I learned from him was how to turn off the loop when it gets started.

You turn off the loop by walking away from it. Which in this case means I need to let go and focus on the present.

The present is this: I have income (freelance) coming in, I have a roof over my head, and there is food on the table. (And thanks to the gardens, in the freezer as well.) I have a wonderful husband who is always, always there for me and is honest and straightforward in our relationship. (And who loves me and never fails to show it. Wow!) I have much of my health. I have my younger son back in town and striving hard to get back on his feet again. I have my older son who is about to move with his amazing fiancé to a new town in the next step of their life adventure. I have family close at hand. I live in a community I love and in which I have invested my time and my heart. I have good friends - here in town, here and there throughout the country, and here in Blogville.

I have all of this in my life.

When I look at it this way - the only way to look at it - I am rich beyond measure.

We - Warren and I - will figure out something with Sam, something that disengages me from my ex and gets Sam on his feet. The hospital bills will get paid. My life will go on with richness and warmth and fullness, regardless of the balance in my bankbook.

And Christmas will come. Christmas will come with tinsel and bells and even a present or two, although in looking back at the riches I have listed, I'm can't imagine needing anything. (Well, maybe new oven mitts.)

My wonderful therapist from long ago often likened my painful memories and hurtful thoughts to a radio that played nonstop. He would say, "you may not ever be able to get rid of the radio, April, but you can learn ways to turn the volume way down so you don't have to listen to it all the time. You can even learn to change the channel."

I'm changing the channel right now. It's time for some holiday music.


Sharon said...

I LOVE this post April. Thank you for sharing the wise wisdom of your therapist too!

On a practical note, can Sam move in with you if he is struggling? for a short time anyway?

I have an ex too, it's hard to remove the radio completely, but it's gotten a lot quieter now that the girls are grown.

Listing everything you have is a great exercise. Gratitude journal comes to mind, for me. I need to start that again.

Hang tough...don't worry about the checkbook. It sounds like you have much more than any amount of money could buy!


Christine said...

I do love this post, too! Ex's can be tough but, like Sharon, mine has quieted down, too. Of course that is probably because my son is under my car now.

Oh life's bonkers.

I love how you listed the wonderful things in your life and how you are going to change the channel. What a wonderful way of thinking about things. More of us should do the same. :)

underthebigbluesky said...

oh april,

thanks for this post. my ex hasn't creeped into my bad side in awhile but that radio station was blaring in my head keeping me awake the other night and i HAD to turn it.

so hard when we are all still linked through our children. i hope Christmas brings you some peace. i always chuck the worries and the finance woes aside for December, they will all be there in January, unfortunately.