THIS IS THE ENTRANCE TO MY TOWNHOUSE COMPLEX IN REDONDO BEACH: VILLA REDONDO
When I returned from church to my townhouse complex this morning, I started walking through the corridor before our gate and I had an ah-hah moment. This is the entrance to my beautiful home that I take for granted. I put my purse down, pulled out my point and shoot, and now I start my new year saying thank you, thank you, thank you. Am I lucky, or what? I live in paradise, or at least to me it is paradise.
There was a time when I thought I'd open a spiritual bed and breakfast here after I retired and I named my place (at least to myself) Sanctuary Center. I even made a little sign that sits in the main window by the front door. But, instead I have continued to work part-time and now the aging me thinks that a b&b is more work than I'm willing to do. But, my home, Sanctuary Center, still exists in spirit; it has just morphed into something else. I long ago set the intent that solace and joy would be found here. Most of the 25 years I've lived here, I've had a housemate. All three of my children lived here off an on before they settled into their own lives. Three of the years two of my grandkids lived here while they finished high school. I have an ongoing journal workshop that has met here since 1990, I see an occasional spiritual directee here, welcome anyone who wants to do SoulCollage®, and four dogs during these years have found a home here. One of my former roommates still comes from Ojai one or two nights a week when she sees clients in her psychotherapy practice. My eldest son and his family come once or twice a year and Sanctuary Center welcomes guests who simply need a haven or a vacation sometimes. I have frequent house guests. To say nothing of how I have unfolded here myself. I was broken when I arrived--my long-term marriage had ended in 1984, my kids were largely out to school, and I had just begun to date. Breast cancer was diagnosed in 1989--and again in 1997. Who was I? Who was I to become? I knew who I had been -- a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a community activist, a communications specialist. But, now what?
When I was doing my journal new years eve year in review last night, a tradition I've had for many long years, I realized something. I long ago stopped dating as it became clear to me that a second marriage or even a long-term relationship was probably not in the cards for me. During the years I've truly been alone here without a man in my life (since 1997) I have learned to be alone pretty darned comfortably. I have a tendency to adapt to people, especially men; I am a rescuer by nature, but by living alone, with lots of time to think, to write, to create, to play, I've become Fran aka Redondowriter, the woman who keeps this blog and is very rarely bored.
Sometime this past few weeks, when I've been off work and nursing bronchitis, I watched Dr. Oz and one of his guests said an old cliche, but this time I "got it." The past is history--the future is mystery--we only have now."
Thank you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for the awareness I have that in some crazy way I have been living in paradise the past 25 years. (Probably all my life, for that matter; I just wasn't aware.)
To see other people's versions of Postcards from Paradise, visit Rebecca's Recuerda mi Corazon.