I Love You/Adoption/The Net Return

It’s been a while since I have posted on this blog, a couple of months at least.  The last 6 months or so have been hard to maneuver at times, but those closest to me are still treading water.  I hope to be swimming by Spring.

The first thing on my mind is to say thank you.  I have been given so much recently, that I hardly know how to express thanks for all of it.  I am learning new things every day, about myself, others around me, and the art of not saving everyone, but allowing myself to be saved sometimes.  I can’t say I have been a perfect person in my life.  I have not.  What fun would that be?  There would be no challenge, no growth, and no reason to be here.  If I were perfect, as well as all those around me, I would guess we would still be part of Source Energy, and not here tooling around.

So, without further adieu, here is what I feel to say:

Thank you to the persons that have harbored me from the storm, fed me when I was hungry, and offered me more kindness than I can state.  You have given me hugs, unconditional acceptance, honesty, and friendship.  It is the latter that I treasure, although you have given me so much more.  You may know who you are, but the world does not, and I will not be able to sit still until they do.  Chris and David Stolpe of Berwick, ME, you are my heroes.

Now let’s talk a little about other things that I have learned mostly from being in the presence of these great people.  One thing that comes to mind is love can last.  On the first night they met, David told a fellow, “See that woman over there?  That is the woman that I am going to marry!”  Just after dating for 3 weeks, David proposed to Chris.  She said yes.  I think the most romantic thing I have ever heard is that David re-proposes yearly on their Anniversary.  He has never missed once.  That is a whole lot of man to live up to for sure!  So, all those who conveniently forget their wedding anniversary, you better hope your spouse is not reading this!

As for Chris, well, she’s Chris….wild and funny with a heart of gold.  Just don’t try to take advantage of those she loves, she carries!  Chris is the Executive Director of http://www.thetableofplenty.org, and don’t be mistaken, Table Of Plenty is not an on-line organization.  Chris oversees the running of 3 separate community meal centers in Southern Maine, and she has dedicated a huge part of her life to doing so.  The most giving part:  she doesn’t receive a paycheck.  Yep, that’s right.  If you think for a moment that she is a rich housewife with nothing else to do with her time, think again.  As Chris says, “It’s only money.”  She has said this numerous times in the past few weeks as she has generously spent it on me.  There is no person turned away from their community dinners, they run 3 nights a week, and are family meals.  People are served beverages, a salad, dinner, dessert and then once full in body and spirit, they are given even more to take home.  They know each other by name and sing happy birthday to their guests.  It’s a family of those who need to be a part of something bigger, build something better, and by right, I hope sleep very well at night.

Another thing I learned is that we truly all are family.  As for Chris’ family, I had the pleasure of meeting them and being part of their Christmas celebration this year.  I am better for having done so!  You see, Chris is adopted.  Over the last 3 days the word “adoption” has come up multiple times. Before we go off on an adoption story….this is no ordinary adoption.  Chris has known her adoptive family most of her life, but it was only 20 years ago that they truly became close,  around the time that Chris’ mother became ill with Alzheimer’s Disease.  They were there for Chris then, and at age 50, she became officially and legally adopted into the family through unanimous decision.  Chris is now 55.  This, I thought was amazing in itself, and then I got to meet them!  We TRULY are all family!

Everyone needs someone.  Chris and I spent a few days together while David was in Iowa visiting his family.  I call David Sir, out of affection, and Sir is coming home tonight after a very long day of flights and riding on a bus….he should be home somewhere between Midnight and 1am due to flight delays.  It was the first time they have ever been apart in 18 years. This was Chris’ present to David this year.  I watched them as the different emotions played out in this dance of marital shift, and it was amazing.  David worrying about Chris, Chris saying she needed a vacation and then becoming sad when he was actually leaving, David’s phone calls, and how Chris would light up when his ring came through, Chris worried when she had not heard from David today, and David just finally wanting to be home with his wife and dogs.  Home is where the heart is, and the heart pulse is definitely in this home.

 It’s good to be a Perky!  I have met some very interesting people these last days, those that I have met, have freely welcomed me in their homes, fed me on Christmas Eve and Christmas, given me presents, hugged me and just accepted me without question.  On Christmas Day, a friend of Chris’, named Tom, invited Chris to accompany him to Christmas Dinner over at York Hospital where they serve their community.  The dinner was free and had all the trimmings, beverage, squash, potatoes, gravy, turkey, ham, and assorted pies for dessert.  When Chris first mentioned going, I felt that Tom may need her to be there since he lost his wife Betsy last year.  I was very surprised listening to Tom at the table say all the things I needed to hear him say.  I do not know why I am ever surprised at this anymore.  He spoke very highly of Chris, but also told me that he worried about her and was happy that she could come and join him.  Stating that she worked far too hard and could see when she had just come to the bottom of her well, and thought she needed to stop and smell the roses a little more often.  He said that she was one of the people that you could just see the light around them, it was like a flickering candle her light was all around her.

For some reason, I was not feeling especially well the last few days and while at dinner I kept putting my bottle of water to my head and could barely eat because my stomach was upset.  However, I was obviously there for the conversation and the jokes that Tom was cracking!  He is a funny fellow!  Here sat a man that despite losing the love of his life the previous year, was on a mission to brighten others’ lives.  He began telling us stories about traveling with his wife and adventures they had with another couple that they were good friends with.  He talked about a tradition that he and his wife began to do sometime ago which entailed taking older greeting cards and making them into new cards to send to people who didn’t have family to send them such things.  Cards for every occasion, Birthdays, Christmas, Get well, or just general have a wonderful day!  “To brighten up people’s spirits.”, he said  He told us how he had gone into a thrift shop looking for old cards to buy, and when he told the employee what he was doing with the cards, he ended up taking home several boxes full of cards totaling around 800 cards for free.  Tom is 72 years old, a widower,  who believes in keeping fit by walking 3 miles a day, and calls himself “A Perky!”  He wants to know why so many people want to be in a bad mood and just complain about what they don’t have when you can just as easily be happy about what you do have.

I asked him if he was born in Maine, and he said no.  His mother went into labor on the train that was taking them to his father (while he was being deployed into the service).  They had to get off the train, as she was not going to make it all the way to CT (if I remember correctly, that was their destination).  I asked him about the military life, and he reported that they moved 32 times during his childhood.  There was not any military housing in those times….WWI and WWII….butter and milk, food in general was scarce.  He told me how his grandfather had taken the shutters down off the house,   “To break them up for wood to burn, to keep them warm in one room together.”  Tom cleaned his plate completely at dinner and I was ashamed that I had left so much on my plate to waste.  He is a man who can appreciate a good dinner.

Humble is the heart of a boy becoming a man.  I also met a family that had fallen on hard times (who hasn’t?) and were randomly “adopted” by a man who had some money to spend, and wanted to make a brighter Christmas for someone.  I never met the man, but I helped Chris take the goods out of her very large truck (which was full) and deliver them over to the family’s home.  They have a son who is planning on going into the service next year to help support his family, he is 17.  I saw him briefly,  he was apologizing that his uniform smelled from his job (fast food).  Chris laughed and said he smelled like the best french fries. Later, Chris told me about his grateful response when he received a gift that was bought specifically for him.  I thought, this boy cannot go into the military, he needs to go to college and have a good life for himself.  I am not against the military, I was just floored by how much this 17 year old was sacrificing for his family.  I see so many teens feeling entitled to well, just about everything…… Let this young man’s light shine!

I love you.  Adoption.  The Net Return.  I will attempt to address each of these notions to my best ability, as they have been on my mind.

Let’s start with I love you.  Sometimes I notice so much fear in others around saying these words.  I have learned to say I love you, freely and openly to those I love.  It’s as simple as that.  I don’t think that there is ever a time when loving someone is not appropriate.  I’m not speaking romantically per se, but there is nothing wrong with that either.  I tell my friends I love them.  I tell my children I love them.  I tell perfect strangers that I love them, as they don’t feel like perfect strangers to me.  I also believe that we all deserve to be loved.  I can’t say I love every individual person exactly the same.  I cannot say that the person I met yesterday holds the same feeling for me as my children, but I can love them.  What is it that scares people so much about these words?  Why is is taboo to tell someone you love them?  I feel it’s only a form of respect for those that are important to you.  I just love you, that’s all.  It doesn’t mean any more than that.  I hope you understand that when I am saying it, I am sincere, and that I feel lucky enough just to have the capacity to love.

Adoption.  Well, I mentioned in my blog the unusual story of adoption….I usually realize I should pay attention to things when they are repeating themselves over and over in conversation, and other circumstances around me.  The word adoption has been floating around for days!  The statement that we truly all are family is just the plain and simple truth.  We are ONE, we are community, and my experience in the last few weeks has been phenomenal in showing me that community not only exists, it is essential to our existence.  So, adopt someone….bring them into the fold, nourish them, love them and don’t let anyone stop you.  There is nothing better than the satisfaction of loving because you can, without expectation and just because.  There’s that love thing again!

Last, but not least, is The Net Return.  Some set out to create something, build something, offer something, but only if the net return is worth their time and effort.  I know this usually applies to business, in which making a profit is a needed thing to keep the business going.  However, sometimes, this is the only way a person can seem to look at most things, if not everything in their lives.  The truth of the matter is, not worrying about the net return is the smartest thing you can do.  When you want to invest in something, truly want to see that something grow, you just go all in.  What you get in return is defined by what you want to see happen.  If you are going in with a full heart and not putting so much expectation into a situation….it will just turn into the experience that it is meant to be.  It’s as simple as that.  Sometimes life requires a blind leap of faith.  A little voice inside says jump……and you should!

Having said all that, I am truly grateful for all those who trust and put their faith in me.  I put my faith in you as well, that you are needed, loved, and worthy.  So, the next time I say I love you, you can say it back if you want, but you don’t have to.  The point is that I’m all in and I’m very happy to be so.

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