Who’s Garden?

Kenney & Josette 1944
Last Thursday would have been my parents’ 74th wedding anniversary. This coming February will be my grandparents, Marguerite and Alfred’s, 96th wedding anniversary. My mother has only been gone three years; her dad, Alfred, died eighty-one years ago.

My, oh my, where is my place in time? Now, for sure. At least I like to think so. This is an abundant time in my life as I reach out to friends, new friends step into my life, my creativity has moved to the forefront of my priorities. It was a luxury before, now that I admit how quickly my earthly clock is ticking, I realize it is now or never to write that novel (and the ones in the idea pipeline), ruminate and publish these blogs, choose the gigs I want to accept, and get my next award-winning CD done!

I am learning to release the things I wish I had done: been more present for my Mom when my dad was dying, then later when she herself was dealing with a cancer. When I did not follow up with a friend, who died before I got out to visit her. Talk about my, oh my: the times I did not protect my children. My son at a young age had to do many things on his own, including as a first-grader to ride a bus to daycare with older, mean-to-little-kids kids, and later, catch the bus way early a quarter mile down the country road we lived on.

Actually, that ‘what I failed at’ list is getting pretty long, so the things I did right is the list I’m thinking about now. And even better, the above to-do list. If I had known then to be more attentive, to ask more questions, to be more compassionate… famous last words.

“Commitments that are broken are those where there is non-alignment among mind, heart, and action, when one or more of these parts are not willing to participate fully,” Angeles Arrien.

I have come close to that understanding by saying when someone, including myself, didn’t follow through, it was because they were not ‘invested’ in whatever the project or commitment was. Dr. Arrien gave me a deeper understanding of this. And my commitment to others has often taken precedence over a commitment to myself.
This path of finding my place in time interests me more all the time. This is a path most of us revisit over and over at different stages in our lives.

Alfred & Marguerite 1923

The 74 year anniversary got me thinking. I have kept so many things, linens of my great-grandparents’, paintings of my grandmother’s, and keepsakes of my mom’s that I have no specific attachment to, however I think I am obligated to keep them because of my attachment to the people who were precious to me.

Surprise! Guess who was keeping all these things before me? Bonus prize: you’re right, it was my mom.
I am coming to realize what is mine and what is not. Big light-bulb for me. The precious part of those people is within me, which I can’t lose. It seemed the cardinal sin was to forget someone. God forbid I do something I am not supposed to do. Mary always does what she is supposed to do.

Sure, I have done well at lots of those things: my boss, Marcia, thought I’d do well in Drug Court. She was right, I did great. I also was a good optician, a good receptionist, a good office manager, a good counselor and advocate. I enjoyed doing those things, and know I did my best to help others; every now and then, a voice from those times will find me. I love that. Yet, those jobs were usually someone else’s idea. Even as I bloomed like a rose, which helped me learn and develop, it now seems I had been planted in someone else’s garden. If that was my apprenticeship – I’m good with that. Where is my place now?

In my own garden – of friends, stories, music, novels, CDs, and blooming again as my true self. The richness of all those previous experiences will deepen my creativities. I am learning to say Yes or No without worrying what others will think. I am learning to take nothing others do personally (oh yeah, this is ongoing!) I am learning to listen more deeply. I am learning to release judgments (okay, this is ongoing, too.) I am learning to trust and follow my heart’s calling.

Where is my place now? I’m not sure, however, I am delighted to follow the path. You are so welcome to come along~


  • Allison Cox

    December 6, 2018 at 1:44 am Reply

    Sounding downright Buddhist Mary! Hugs and appreciation for wonderful you.

    • Mary

      December 6, 2018 at 1:47 am Reply

      Big hug and smile back to you, Allison~~


    December 6, 2018 at 2:14 am Reply

    Hi Mary!!!
    Semantics…when I read the phrase “as my true self”, I thought ‘oh Mary, but you have always been your TRUE SELF, you were doing and being the SELF that was needed at that time.’
    I too have had those life situations & jobs that I have been very good at, but wasn’t always sure that they were what I was or should be doing. And with those jobs and situations there were the times that they excited & energized me – sometimes at the beginning, sometimes more so towards the end. When I was in my late 30’s I first learned AND understood; that even during the times that I wasn’t feeling fulfilled and working jobs or being with people that didn’t look & feel right, that I was exactly where I need to be, where I was supposed to be, and that I was my true self. In the twenty some years since, there have been a number of times where I have had to give myself the head slap and remind myself that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and who I am supposed to be. I have also come to recognize that when I am feeling unfulfilled, that I have forgotten to notice that I AM learning new things, meeting new people and going to new places. That I am evolving and refining. I have learned that I can’t look back and think ‘did I do enough, or that wasn’t WHAT or WHO I was supposed to be.’ And, thank you God, that I am now in my early 60’s still have good health and the time & resources to continue to learn new things and spend time on the things that I now love to do – many of which aren’t the things that I loved doing in my 20’s or my 40’s. But at every stage always my true self.

    • Mary

      December 10, 2018 at 11:32 pm Reply

      Chele! What a wonderful, thoughtful response. Thank you, and you have me thinking again. Best to you, merci beaucoup~

  • Penny Tennison

    December 6, 2018 at 4:08 am Reply

    Mary: we go through our lives swinging back and forth between our responsibility to do for others, and our desire to minister to our self. The happy people are those who, at each stage of life, found the right balance.
    Keep on writing.

    • Mary

      December 10, 2018 at 11:34 pm Reply

      Ah Penny, I will keep on writing. Thank you for keeping on reading. Indeed, that balance, which for many of us has ‘should’ attached. Best to you.

  • SUSAN Murphy

    December 7, 2018 at 2:29 am Reply

    Mary, this is extraordinarily thought provoking. Thank you for writing this piece.

    • Mary

      December 8, 2018 at 10:24 pm Reply

      Thank you Susan. Amazing where a picture or a random thought will lead. Happy Holidays~

  • Aletha Helm Riter

    December 7, 2018 at 6:24 pm Reply

    I Love your posts…the last one I read to my mom and she just cried….I asked if she remembered you and she said somewhat…I recently showed her your senior picture and then she said oh yes….I remember her now… I Thank you for your stories…your life lessons…your insights….


    • Mary

      December 10, 2018 at 11:35 pm Reply

      Aletha! How wonderful to hear. And my senior picture! oh my starz. Thank you for your time and thoughtfulness. Happy Holidays

  • Deanna Helseth

    December 8, 2018 at 6:34 am Reply

    Wonderful,Mary! Yes,all those regrets for things we wish we had done differently. I think we were always doing the best we could with our lives at that time.Glad you are loving that you finally have some time for you! I so love the pictures,especially your beautiful young Mom. Where does the time go?

    • Mary

      December 10, 2018 at 11:37 pm Reply

      My mom used to ask that, Where does the time go? As a kid, I so did not get that as time seemed to pass slowly. Thank you for reading~ Hope all is good in your world.

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