Sunday, May 22, 2016

And She Lived Happily Ever After

Once upon a time, ( today actually)a beautiful bride, dressed all in white, walked down the aisle to meet her adoring prince.

That's right: 17 years ago I became part of a real life fairy tale.

Oh, not one  the sweet ones, sanitized by Hollywood and all the p.c. bullcrap, where the prince sweeps in and kisses the princess and they ride off into the sunset, accompanied by animated woodland creatures and an Grammy award winning sound track

I am talking about the original gruesome fairy tales, popularized by the Brother's Grimm, written to scare children with a valuable morale at the end. You know, where the prince  wasn't really a prince after all and he runs off with the crone.

This day went over better than last year, which was better than the first, so I guess time does indeed heal all wounds. Well that, and the attentions of  much younger man, not yet 30, who is infatuated with me at the moment, but that is a story for another time.

I spent yesterday in South Alabama for the birthday of a life long friend, who I had know since I was four. I rode down with another life long friend and her husband.  Joined by her neighbors from down the road,  her handsome young cousin and a young friend she had hoped to fix him up with, we enjoyed a great day, great food (from a completely gluten-free home, no less!) and great laughs. 

My friend and her husband of four years, have a mini-farm in a tiny dot on the map, just North of Dothan. Their little patch of Heaven includes a fixer-upper and a shed that they got for less than a song. They are both very handy around the house and are completing projects as time and resources allow. It is coming together quite nicely.

There is also quite a menagerie in residence, that includes a rooster, several chickens, five ducks, about ten bunnies, two cats, and a 200 pound pig, that was supposed to only grow to ten. His name is Optimus Swine and he has a taste for raw peanuts, that he eats whole, shell included.

We played with baby bunnies (!!!!), broke up a dog fight, dug potatoes from her garden, and were inadvertently witnesses to duck rape. Don't Ask.

As we had neared our destination, about the time my cell service dropped off, I noticed the leaves of the oaks had begun to curl over, revealing their light green bottoms to the sky. A sure sign of rain: a fact I had shared with the couple I was riding with. When the sudden  shower blew up about an hour later, I was the only one not surprised. The wind picked up suddenly, uprooting the tent in yard and left everyone diving for the cover of the kitchen, but not before drenching everyone to the bone. Everyone , looked back at me, I threw up my hands, in a gesture of surrender. "Just reading the signs!" I protested.

Like any sudden summer shower, it was over in ten minutes, and in another ten, everything was already dry. As the menfolk went out to right the tent and restake it, and the women went out to supervise,  she pulled me aside and told me that she needed to tell me something that she had been dreading for years.

Several years earlier, when my class had a get together that she had attended, my husband had brazenly propositioned her at a point in the evening when I was helping attend to a drunk friend who was puking in the bathroom. Thankfully, she told him where he could stick his proposition.  She had been troubled by that exchange for years and even after learning of our divorce, really felt like she needed to tell me face to face rather than an email. She nearly cried as she told me, but seemed very relieved to be free of her secret,

I remember the incident, and the awkwardness, and always wondered, especially after the divorce, what might have happened then. One of the few glimpses into a double life that my husband was increasingly skilled at hiding. The other was when the jilted girlfriend busted the window of the truck in our driveway. (And the Oscar for Best Performance by A Liar Feigning Shock Surprise and Anger goes to....) Other than those very bizarre incidents, stupid me trusted the lying, cheating bastard completely.

I told her that I didn't blame her, and that there was nothing to forgive her for, that I figured as much, and to put it out of her mind.  She hugged me tightly, thanking me for my forgiveness, and promising that the universe would reward me with someone who was truly worthy of my love.

After an amazing dinner of grilled chicken, with barbecue fixin's that included homemade barbecue sauce and home made pickles, we sat around the patio watching the sunset. We  told tales from our shared childhoods,, as the light from the tiki torches danced around us. Her cousin and the young lady apparently hit if off,  laughing, heads together at some private joke. They were quick to volunteer to
fetch ice cream for us all, from the quick mart five miles up the road and scampered off giggling,

As with any other event that one is enjoying, time soon flew away from us. We bid everyone adieu and got back on the road to Birmingham. As we passed into the nearest coverage area, my phone began dinging with all my missed messages from the young one.  I smiled as I read and answered each of his sweet texts. "Wow" my travel companions exclaimed, "Someone is trying to find you." We discussed him briefly, how we had become friends,  how he had asked me to dinner and how I did not know what to say . Having a son the same age as this young man, the only advice she gave was that it was just dinner and to approach it as that  and not to overthink it right now.

We stopped at a truck stop near Prattville for a little 'stay awake juice" and were disappointed to only find that of a competitor, that we begrudgingly purchased. "Consider it 'Market Research'." I said to my friend, as I paid for our substandard coffee. We hit the road once again, arriving home just after midnight, Worn out from the trip, I texted the young one a quick goodnight and fell into bed.

Church this morning was a "rebroadcast' of Thursday night once again  We were told that the message would be the same, whether our pastor was live at our service or not. The audio was slightly ahead of the video. The message was from the book of James, written by the half-brother of Jesus

This lesson covered false religion. The verse in the Bible where the Lord will tell those who believe good deeds alone will get to Heaven, "...depart from me, I knew you not."

There are three categories that these people fall in:

The Self-Deceptive : Those who know about God, but do not know God

The Apathetic: Those who know what to do, but will not do it

The Stubborn: Those who fail due to their own pride.

One passage in particular stood out to me, James 1; 23-25

23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Afterward, my friend on our Prayer Team, also divorced, and also knowing what today had once been, prayed for me to have a peaceful day.

And her prayer was answered.

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