lessons from overbrook

Yesterday I mowed my lawn for the second time in my life.

I have a big, weedy yard.  For the last few years a neighbor has kindly volunteered to mow it for me and that was a lovely gift.  I didn’t have the physical energy or mental wherewithal to put toward any sort of yard maintenance.  Also, I didn’t have a clue how to start my lawn mower and was too embarrassed to admit it.

But lately I’ve started noticing that there’s a whole lot of work to be done.  The tipping point was when I saw that some crazy Tarzan vines were starting to climb up the side of my house.  The jungle is truly taking over.

Yesterday, though, while the dust and the dirt were flying I started to second guess myself.  If I lived in a condo, I could be sitting by the pool right now, I thought.  This is too much work for one person.  I can’t manage this.  What am I, crazy?  I’m calling my realtor.

When I was young, my family moved to a big, old house in a wonderful, secluded neighborhood that was uniquely situated in the midst of a growing, busy town.  It was a special place and we all knew it.  If my memory serves (which it probably doesn’t) we spent about 8-9 years there – my growing up years.  When we had to move it was a loss that I don’t think any of us have truly ever gotten over.  Sometimes I wonder at the turn all of our lives took at that moment; the paths that were chosen as a result.  I don’t doubt the logic that led us all on those paths – I’m not privy to all of the details and even if I had been, the decision was not mine to make.  But I’m struck by how we (I) can operate when it feels like there is NO OTHER CHOICE.

I got stuck in the no choices rut yesterday.  Also in the frame of mind that this is always how it is going to be.  I will NEVER be able to afford to pay someone to chop down the azaleas that grow a foot a day.  I will ALWAYS be alone, on my own, with a bad back and a wildly prolific weed garden.

And that’s just not the truth.

Everything changes.  All the time.

Steady, steady.  Hold the course.  Breathe.

I don’t have a crystal ball.  I have no idea what the future holds for me.  But I do know that the logic I used to arrive at my decision to stay here in this house was sound.  I spent at least a year thinking about it.  Wondering whether emotionally I would be able to keep eating, sleeping, and breathing within the same walls where my husband took his last breath.  Thinking, and wondering, and actually doing it.  Eating, sleeping and breathing here.  And I found out that I can stay.

So here I am 3 and a half years later, ready to bail out because I have too much yard work.

THAT makes no sense at all.

To leave would be a great loss.  One I probably wouldn’t be able to measure until I looked back, 25 years later.

I’m just not willing to do that.



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3 Responses to lessons from overbrook

  1. Phyllis says:

    What if I stay? A question I have been asking myself lately, for the first time in 56 years. I’m glad you had the courage to stay, Jill. In the moment, and with the encouragement of our transient culture, it often seems so much easier to run. We can’t know how each choice will impact our path or that of others we love, but today I hear the wisdom of the twisted Tarzan vines and the encroaching jungle as it embraces you and your choice to stay.

  2. Glenn McIntosh says:

    Hang in there Jill. Keep the faith that in spite of what appear to be insurmountable odds, that God will provide you with the stength, courage and the path to move forward.

  3. Linda Dacar says:

    You are a true trooper Jill. Whatever decisions you make, please know I stand beside you.

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