“Remember that our desires will not arrive by our schedule. If you really want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
― Wayne W. Dyer, Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling
This was the year. It was the year I would finish my memoir, the year I would re launch my private practice, the year I would consistently make time to sit quietly every day to meditate, the year I would find the time to catch up on my reading….it was to be a year of peace and contemplation spent with my husband, my precious family, and my friends.
And then God laughed.
In all fairness I gave God reason to laugh.
You see, when I was little and other kids talked about what they wanted to be when they grew up, they said they wanted to be lawyers, doctors, teachers, housewives. But not me. I wanted to be a saint. Mother Dolores, my second grade teacher at Merici Academy in Havana, laughed when I told her that. She said there had been no Saint Yolanda and without a patron saint to help me my quest for sainthood would be all but impossible. Still, I tried. I memorized the Mass in Latin and my friend Haydecita and I pretended to be priests. My family pretended to be the congregation. To our “Dominus Vobiscum” they would answer “Et Cum Spiritu Tuo” and acted as if they were attending a real Mass, and even took Communion. Haydecita and I made our hosts to look similar to the hosts at our Church by using the sugar wafers that wrapped the “turrones”, a type of nougat candy, that my grandfather ordered from Spain.
My quest for sainthood remained an unwavering goal throughout my childhood and until I turned fourteen. Then for reasons that seemed to have nothing to do with Mother Dolores’ predictions, I began to re examine my goals.
Exile at fourteen was not always a grueling experience. It had its moments. And slowly the thoughts of sainthood were replaced by the very secular pleasure of walking on the sand at Eden Rock Beach with my friends, singing the lyrics to “Soldier Boy” and “My Boyfriend’s Back” while we searched for the cutest life guard on the beach. A few years later when watching The Sound of Music, I particularly understood Maria’s internal struggle. I was a senior in high school then, still carrying a yearning for the walls of a convent but already knowing a husband and children, a family, would be my chosen life.
But while the convent was no longer an option, my thirst for a spiritual life, my search for the God I loved from the moment I took my first breath continued.
Growing up Catholic and being a girl made it almost inevitable that I would embrace the concept of sacrificing myself for others. And while life, therapy, and prayer have taught me that in order to show up for others what is required is my wholeness and my being at my healthiest and most alive, the old tendencies towards martyrdom can take me over almost unconsciously. Give me a friend in need and I will go into rescue mode like the cute lifeguards of my youth and try to rescue even those who verbally make it clear they would rather drown. For a time I get pulled down by the force of their lust for death, until I realize I am the one who is not coming up for air.
And God, bless His heart, watches me full of compassion and love, and surely chuckles at my silliness, and breathes a sigh of relief as I come to my senses, break through the surface of the water and BREATHE. And I hear his voice in my soul telling me not to worry, that He is the ultimate savior and he has my back.
I am proud to say that I come to my senses much more quickly than I used to in my younger days though sometimes not quickly enough to avoid the consequences of my actions.
And so I find myself at one of those moments, breathing, and reassessing not so much what my plans are but reflecting and listening to God’s voice within. And having done that to the best of my ability, I will share with you the decisions I have made.
My husband and I are packing our belongings yet again. We are moving to Southern Oregon.
We have rented a house. I will be working at a wonderful hospital using my medical social work skills. I still hope to finish my memoir. I will live close to my friends Sharon Mehdi, Sharon Chinook, Nancy Bardos, and the wonderful Daley family. I have already met other people I know I will enjoy getting to know better. I will be close to the Shakespeare Festival, the Britt Festival, and some of the best hiking and fishing country anywhere. I will join my friend Sharon Mehdi’s writing group. And I still hope to return to a steady meditation practice and enjoy the peace and quiet with my husband and the frequent visits with my beloved children and grandchildren.
I am leaving behind amazing friends: The Writers in the Rafters with whom I have creatively journeyed for almost ten years, and too many others to mention. But I am sure I will still pop in at meetings on occasional Saturdays when I come to visit because I can’t imagine leaving them forever.
And so life goes on, a series of valuable lessons that repeat until we really get them. Endings and beginnings. And as April of this pre planned year of mine approaches, God and I wink at each other and laugh together at my folly and His wisdom and the excitement of a new beginning.
Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
I pray that I will be a blessing to the lives I touch in my new home.