Monday, September 27, 2010



    I am feeling pretty weird about my life these days.  I am sort of 'twixt and 'tween.  Problem is, I can't figure out between what I'm twixt.  I think there must have been a time in about 11th grade when I wanted to be successful.  Even back then, I am not really sure what that might have looked like once I got there.  In some ways, my life was in a bubble.  Everybody I hung around was college-bound.   Everybody would have a career.  There really wasn't too much discussion about any of that.  I was probably on the low-end of the "Let's all be prestigious and go to college in the Northeast."  I think I opted out of being a cabinet member or district attorney or oral surgeon when I  realized that I didn't know what "syntax" meant on the SAT.  It appears that others in my class knew the meaning----and sure enough all those "syntax-knowers"  have gone on to be quite success-full.  
      Last week, a little six year old friend of mine, was filling out a "Sucess Chart" for school.  "What in the world does success mean?" I nudged her as she bubbled in her  'successes."
Without skipping a beat, she told me, " Success means you're all full up.  Full to the top---full to the brim. You feel full. You can't hold any more."
"Any more  of what?"  I asked. 
"Success-full means you're all full up on love and having friends."
"Oh. Good to know, " said I.  Hmmm. 
   Some days,  I am not really sure how to shuffle parts of my life (back) into this deck--of life. I want the rules to be bent.   One son is grown, but, my other son, Taylor, will never be grown.  In some ways, I think I have decided to stay "ungrown" with him.  This is not going to be a very flattering confession, but some days I wonder, "What the heck? What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?"  That's just on some days---some hours mostly.  (Has anybody out there begun decorating for my pity-party yet?) myself.
And, I can trace those "I'm so tired of this" feelings directly to days when Taylor feels bad and I am completely helpless to 
I am not able to be success-----full.  And I hate it.  I'm not good at just "being."  I have not practiced working on that "being" muscle as much as I'd like to pretend I have.  So, I fight the current.  I flow against it.  I struggle.  I tug.  I pull and then push and resist.  I want things to be different.  I want me to be different.  I want to be success--full---with him.  With life.
     I know what syntax means now.  Turns out, it never was a very hard word to understand.
I wonder why I  assigned that kind of not-knowing to determine my success.
Help me out, here, folks.  Talk to me. 
What is success?  How do you know when you've gotten there?
Full of love?  Full to the brim with love?
Full of friendships and people who  love you?
Maybe I just need to stop trying to swim upstream---against the current.
Is up-stream where success is?  Did I miss it?
Didn't I just come from there---up stream that is?
Oh, I think I just need to  float a while. 
Not doing.
Not a human doing.
A human being.



  1. Mary,
    You are successful because you love other people and they love you. Taylor is also successful in that regard. How can there be success without love? I am thinking back to parts of I Corinthians 13 that I memorized so many years ago. " If I have....and do not have love, I am nothing."

  2. Dearest Marianne,
    As I think back to 11th grade, all I wanted to be was you. You seemed to have it all...friends, wit, personality galore--everyone wanted to be around you and to bask in the reflection of you. You are still that same person, and always will be to me. I love you. How can others tell you to keep your chin up when they will never experience the same constant, worrying, wearying struggle of care-giving to the extent you experience it? But I say to you, anyway, keep your chin up. Because I still bask in the sunshine reflected from you. I can still feel the glow. Stay strong, my friend. You have been the most successful of all of us because you have clearly encompassed and overcome the struggles of life that have been sent your way. You have learned from those lessons. To me, the cycle of learning, reflecting and reevaluating, then redirecting your personal path in a new trajectory that can best deal with our everyday struggles, whether physical, mental or emotional, is the true measure of the meaning of success. And you, my sister, are that success. Thank you for your words and God Bless you and Taylor, every day.

  3. Louisa,
    Oh my goodness. I am struck "dumb" because I felt like you were the one who had it all. Isn't life so funny?
    Your words are a soothing balm to my soul.
    Thank you so much for opening up yourself so beautifully and for sharing this--with me.
    And, I can see and feel your radiant smile from here. Best love to you.

  4. And Liz, yes! for reminding us of this verse!

  5. I love the six year old's definition of success. For me, success would be having enough, being enough, doing enough -- all over. My husband is legally blind - and I do know a little bit about the frustration of wanting to fix it for him. That particular thing is out of my hands. But I can be my best me for him. Like you are being for Taylor.
    Sometimes I think being the best we can be, whatever our situation, is success. Is it enough? Will my best me make whitey see again? No. But it does make our days easier and more fun.
    I am writing in circles. You have my head and my heart spinning again today.
    You are amazing! Your writing, your honesty, your story and Taylor's story -- touches us all. You make us think - and in my book, that is success. Touching the hearts and minds of so many. Thank you.

  6. Yay!

    You're back! I've missed you.

    I think success is the opposite of how the world views it.

    And I think you've nailed it. Floating is a good thing. Being, not doing. Resting in who you are in Him. Being--full.

    You are.

  7. Remember the Tao of Pooh? That book that the counsellor recommended to me when my life fell apart? That time? ..

    Anyway, I remember finding such strength in the notion that floating down a river of life was the way to live. The challenge there, I think, is that floating means giving up control. I can picture me 'floating' with sat nav, various flotation devices, maybe an outboard motor, a map of the river with guidebooks on what's just over every hill. My problem has always been being afraid I'd miss something. Floating sounds easy, but it's not. There's our challenge.


Thank you so much for your comments. I know it's scary to put yourself out there. I really appreciate your being on this journey with me. You really are brave..