Oh, to be young and in...

A follow up from yesterday's post: My daughter Clarissa, and the father of my grandson, Galen, left yesterday to fly to Houston, Texas. Galen's mother lives 40 miles outside of Houston, and they wanted to take Xavier to see his other grandmother. (That's so weird to me: the other grandmother! I can't explain why. It just is.)

Clarissa called me to tell me that they landed in Houston just fine, but getting out of the airport presented them with some rather peculiar difficulties. I took a deep breath. I knew it was coming. As soon as she told me that she and Galen were planning to take their baby to Texas, I knew what they would be encountering: racism, Texas-style. Nothing like seeing a tall, strapping young white man with a cute-as-a-button, diminutive young black woman along with their obviously "mulatto" (such an ugly word) child to bring out that old-style attitude. I was hoping that I would be wrong about my assumptions, and that race "really isn't an issue anymore", as so many people seem to think these days. I didn't voice my fears to my daughter, either. I wanted her to go down there with Galen and Xavier and have a wonderful time. Eat some famous Texas barbecue, tour the space center, and appreciate those marvelous Texas accents.

But it wasn't to be. Texas, or I should say, Houston, proved to be true to form. They were assaulted with blatant stares filled with revulsion, and they heard not-too-soft-whispers of what's she doing with HIM? They hadn't left the airport yet. Enterprise hassled them about renting a car, and they ended up having to spend $150 more than what they had originally reserved on their card online. No explanations, just "that's all we have", spoken with a derisive sneer. Clarissa was both dumbfounded and incensed. "Careful," I warned her. "You're in Texas."

It's a damn shame that in 2008 I would even have to utter those words. I wish someone would try to tell me that racism isn't an issue anymore. I also hope and pray that Galen can hold himself together. He's a really easy going guy, but he will get ugly if he has too, especially when it comes to my daughter and his son. I would hate for him to have to experience Texas justice. It's no joke down there.

Please, folks. Listen to Obama's speech with an open mind. Racism is America's "most vital and challenging issue", and it could very easily be the death of this country, too. It doesn't have to be this way. Not any more.

Well, I don't need to project anymore negative energy into that situation. I want all three of them to come back to California without any more issues. It seems that Houston isn't big enough for the three of them.

On to another issue. In an post that I made a couple of days ago, I talked about signing up with a free web site called OKCupid. The folks running the show over there have participants answering a very extensive, and sometimes puzzling bunch of questions. I've answered 227 so far, and I'm still nowhere close to completing my profile. But they also have a feature where people can blog their thoughts about the questions, and other members can comment on the blogs. I happen to like blogging my thoughts, obviously, so I've been using the feature quite a bit. One of the first questions was the classic, what would you do if you caught your spouse or significant in bed with another person?

My response was very different from how I would have responded when I was in my twenties. I said that I would be very hurt of course, but the act itself didn't automatically mean that the marriage (as it would have to be in my case), would be over. The affair is a signal that there are serious issues in the relationship, and these issues must be brought out into the open and dealt with in a mature, non-accusatory manner. I know that's the ideal way of handling the situation, and very few people do that. I didn't react like that when my ex cheated on me, over and over and over again. But that is precisely why I look at the situation from a different perspective. I know what it's like to feel hurt and betrayed in a marriage, but if I were married to a man who I truly loved (this IS hypothetical) and wanted to spend my life with, I would try everything possible to salvage the relationship. Not all incidents of adultery HAVE TO end in divorce. And I would hope that my spouse would feel the same way.

Well, a twenty-something, beautiful young lady whose screen name was "Terrabrat" took exception to my way of dealing with a wandering spouse. "Cheating is cheating," she wrote to me, along with some other remonstrances. I didn't respond to her right away because I wanted to make sure that I detached from feeling her personal pain, and from my former experiences with the situation. I've done two decades of healing work on the issue of infidelity, and I recognized that it was the time for me to offer some words of hope and encouragement to a young woman who, like me once upon a time, has been badly wounded.

I logged into my account a little later to find that I had accidentally deleted the question. Rats. Well, everything happens for a reason. Terrabrat probably wouldn't have appreciated the so-called wisdom of some old broad telling her that she can still love the man, but hate what he did to their relationship. She could accept the man as one of God's creations, but still feel the angry devastation of betrayal, and use that emotion as a starting point toward spiritual healing. And even if she could no longer stand to be within twenty miles of the man, she can can still work on leaving the incident(s)in the past where it belongs, and do whatever it takes to heal herself so that she can be free to love again. It's possible. It took me twenty years to do it, and there's still issues that need to be cleaned up. Although I do not wish to have personal contact with my ex-husband unless it's absolutely necessary, I truly wish him the best of luck on his path through life. I don't like the man, but I don't hate him, either.

That's light years away from wishing he would be run over by 16 wheel diesel truck as he's trying to fix one of his busted scrapers (a really messed up car that scrapes the ground) that he had to push off to the side of Interstate 5. Or drawn and quartered, leaving his exposed innards for the rats and buzzards to feast upon. Oh yeah, folks, I have a nasty imagination when I'm in that dark place. I have GONE there!

The exemplar of the Baha'i way of life, Abdul-Baha', has taught that we can be angry when someone behaves unjustly toward us, but we should also practice instant forgiveness, mostly for our own spiritual growth. He did, however, leave the definition of the word "instant" up to each individual. For me, "instant" took way too long. I wasted too much time and energy on past events that could never be changed or vindicated in the future. I allowed revenge scenarios to preoccupy my mind, which took me away from thoughts of God and what I can do in my daily life to serve His Will. All of this preoccupation with what my ex did to me took me away from knowing myself. It didn't harm my ex-husband; it hurt me because I became a stranger to myself. A shadow-being caught up in a soap opera marathon. There is no joy, comfort or serenity in living like that. My only solace was one that I knew very well--food. Of course, that didn't exactly give me long term happiness, either.

I guess Terrabrat didn't need to read all this, but I did. I needed to acknowledge where I am today, compared to where I was twenty years ago. And in doing so, I'm freeing myself from my past. That feels really good. I hope and pray that Terrabrat gets to experience a similar type of healing experience. She's far too young to be so cynical.

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