Recently I’ve begun to review the past 9 years of my life in contrast to other folks I meet and know. It all started in church a month ago. I recognized the guest pastor from 9 years ago when I lived in Miami and his church was 30 people. This man, Pedro, was the song leader and the Preacher. I remember being astounded at his energy as he lead the entire song service with his guitar and then leaped behind pulpit to deliver an energetic sermon. He is my age and now pastor’s a church of over 3,000 people. Made me stop and reflect on what I’ve accomplished in 9 years.
The second pause came a few weeks ago when I reconnected with an old friend. We were neighbors in Fort Lauderdale before I moved to Miami. My friend and her husband were newly weds and they are responsible for getting my husband and I back into going to church. We became really great friends that year, we worked at the same Smoothie shop, had beach side bar-b-que’s and they took me mountain biking - no we don’t have mountains in Florida but somehow we have nationally recognized trails. Go figure. It was a really fun year and it ended with my graduation from college and a move to Miami. We didn’t see them often the next year and lost touch when we moved to California and they to Savanna. Over the years we reconnected occasionally and I learned they had 3 boys. So you can imagine my shock to reconnect with my dear friend to learn she had gotten into a fight with her husband right before Christmas and was sent to jail for a month.
It’s really hard to provide context to this story so I’ll try to list a few basic details - even knowing both parties and hearing my friends story still makes this hard to swallow. My friends has serious depression and a severe case of ADD. I’d never known anyone with ADD but she definitely had it - she couldn’t concentrate on a subject for more then 1-2 minutes so our conversations were more like 10+ subjects crossed in a short amount of time. I found her funny and entertaining and incredibly joyful but always saw a touch of sadness that she tried so hard to cover up. She was a jealot for God, one of those super Christians who would post Bible verses at work and everyone hated her for it. I know - one of those! But I loved her and tried to work with her on all her issues and smooth things over with the other employees.
In our recent talk, I learned that her marriage had several major hurdles. I believe she willingly went to a mental institution to get help early in her marriage and I learned her husband had thrown her out 3 times to be taken to jail. She described the last scene to me and it sounded like her husband got the upper hand by keeping records of her institution behavior and used it against her. Even her 7 year old son told the police that his father had pushed him and his mom but they can’t take a statement from a child. So my friend was taken from her children for a month, and her husband has not allowed her home in 3 months. The youngest child was still nursing when she left, she had to ween herself in jail. I can’t tell you how much this story broke my heart. The part I cry over is the 9 years of broken communication and damage that has lead to this day, this year, this point in time. How could things get so bad? Will she ever be able to reconnect with her boys? I don’t know her husband’s side, maybe my friend was hard to live with, maybe she was too tough on her husband with her super Christian ways? I don’t know, I’m just broken to see a family, 3 boys, living in such a broken way.
Two stories - Christian families - two totally different outcomes but neither story is over yet. It just gives me a lot to ponder over how far right or left a life can go.
One of my favorite bloggers, Grit’s Day (http://gritsday.blogspot.com/), has 9 year old triplets. She’s been busy for 9 years getting those girls home educated and they are so diverse in their interests and skills which is a reflection of the care she has spent to foster their many interests. She’s done a brilliant job.
My cousin got his girlfriend pregnant when he was 16; my second cousin is now 9 years old. He's a really cool kid.
One of my oldest friends, Crazy Wild Berry (http://crazywildberry.blogspot.com/) has had 3 children in the last 9 years. She doesn’t blog much any more because her youngest is 6 months old. She’s had a fairly quiet life in a very small town in Pennsylvania. This blows my mind because how can one live in a city like Pittsburgh and then move to a tiny town??? She does it with such grace and acceptance. She’s had some challenging times in her marriage with communication but who hasn’t and I’ve never heard of anything as extreme as calling the cops and throwing each other out!
Both of my brothers have gotten married in the last 9 years and divorced. Not much to say here except both had big weddings, I was in both weddings and had to buy ugly dresses and I opted to get married in the court house - ha!
My story runs along a career path. 9 years ago I graduated college, immediately got a job at a small, start up toy firm. We convinced Hasbro to buy our Monsters plush line and sold millions that year. Enough to finance a move to CA to do a joint venture with another company that lasted 2 years. CA was amazing, husband and I really enjoyed our life there tremendously but it was too expensive to buy a home and Florida was looking like a better place to raise a family so we moved back when the boss said time was up. 2nd life in Florida was fun for two years and then it got monotonous. I tried to fill the gap by going back to school for an MBA but got bored and impatient with all the classmates with no work experience. I decided instead to pour myself into work and got to travel throughout Asia for 3-4 week stints, several times a year. I moved up to Director of product development. I had a baby last year and now my family has started. Husband and I occasionally fight about stupid things - I can’t even remember them - mostly stress related but ultimately he is a wonderful, caring and compassionate man who dotes on me - even when I really don’t deserve it.
Looking forward to the next 9 years - I’m not so excited about my career anymore. I’m wondering if there is another path that might be more rewarding in charity work or education. Standing by for direction but until then I’m going to enjoy my sassy daughter and husband.