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Southern born, Southern reared. It's a quirky place and we are unique folk... These are my people and these are my stories.

Monday, October 22, 2012

"If I ever get you raised ..."

I've never been a contemplative.

Let me rephrase that. Before 2010, I wasn't a contemplative. Between 2010 and 2012 I found myself, not by choice, falling back-first toward the definition. Until then, I'd been a seat-of-the-pants person in nearly everything I've done. My whole life. Which is why my mother used to say (a lot!), "If I ever get you raised, I'm going to write a book." It wasn't unusual that my "not thinking" got me into trouble that my poor mother had to figure a way to deal with.

I have a memory of being sixteen. Being called into the school counselor's office. Being told I had enough credits, as a junior, to graduate high school and start something called The Senior Program, by which high school seniors left high school early to begin their higher education. While I could walk with my senior class the following early June, I would not actually receive my diploma (I received a blank piece of paper) until I had finished what I'd started.

I looked at the brochure in my hand. One of the possible fields of study for the program was nursing. I didn't think about it. I didn't pray about it. I didn't talk into the night with my mother and father about it. I simply thought, "Well, I like General Hospital ..."

...which is what launched my miserable nursing career. General Hospital. A lifetime career choice based on a soap opera. Seriously.

A few years later (too few), I met a man named John. He was cute. He was funny. He was single. So was I. I flirted (something I was very good at it those days) and he responded by asking me out on a date. And, the next thing I knew, to marry him. I'm not kidding when I say that I met him in September. By October I was engaged. By February I found myself crying, walking down the aisle. Crying because, while I hadn't given this engagement and subsequent marriage two seconds of thought, I knew instinctively I was making a huge mistake.

Thirteen months later--after what was probably the first time I'd ever even slightly thought anything through--I stood before a judge and asked him to dissolve the marriage.

I can think of only a few times when I've contemplated things. A few. But not many.

Let me explain why--and the explanation is simple: I move too fast.

And I think too fast. I wake up with thoughts whirling in my brain. All day long, thoughts. Memories. Future possible memories. Stories I've yet to write. The people I have created talking to me. Telling me what will happen in Chapter Twenty-one. Unless one of the other characters chimes in. In that case, what I thought was going to happen in Chapter Twenty-one happens in Twenty-two. When I sit down long enough to watch television or read a book, I constantly jump up to take care of this or that. Because, even when I'm totally lost in a show or a plot, part of my brain is still saying, "Don't forget to do this ... " These kinds of thoughts wake me during the night. My dreams are always vivid. Full of action. Talking. Words, words, words. To be a contemplative, I think, one must stop thinking with the brain and start thinking with the heart.

Oh, but those few times I have stopped ...

Like the night Linda Evans Shepherd and I went to see one of the last performances on Broadway of Les Miserables. For two hours, I was spellbound. Too caught up in the moment to think about anything but what was before me. And where I was at that very minute. In a ornate theater. On Broadway. In New York City! With a dear friend. Listening to the most amazing piece of artwork ever performed ...

Contemplation ... That was one. And there have been a few other times ...


  1. My dear friend, being a contemplative isn't about moving fast vs. stopping. It isn't the opposite of impulsiveness. It's about FOCUS, which you saw with LES at LES MIS. My brain is rather ADD as well, but when I edit a good book, all else goes away. When I am praying, it's best when I can focus. It's one reason I edit/write to music, which allows the tazmanian devil in my brain to hush for a bit. Despite the whirling in my head, I've been a contemplative most of my life. You are more so than you give yourself credit for, as well as being an energetic soul who can get things done - a marvelous lady too complicated for labels.

    1. I'll have to think about that for a minute ... LOL