Pursuing the expatriate life in Italy—“Oh, what a night”—thank you, Four Seasons

I am such a freak. Really, I am. A Super Freak. Damn, I could have saved that song title for another blog post. Oh well.

No, I am a freak. Let me try to explain. First I have to ask you to suspend common sense. I mean, we’re talkin’ about me here. Logic need not apply. But the story has a happy ending.

I spent today writing. Five blog postings. This one makes six. I blogged at Peet’s Coffee. I blogged as I ate dinner at my favorite pizza joint. From there I went to Starbucks in Oregon City and shut them down while blogging. And, twit that I am, I drank Pike Place dark roast, guaranteed to keep me awake for the rest of the night. Me, a borderline insomniac who suffers from sleep apnea. Now doubly cursed.

Anyway, that was my first freakish behaviorism. The second came later as I drove down the highway, caffeine coursing through my veins, frontal lobes throbbing. Not knowing what to do or where to go, I decided to drive back to Salem, my former home of more than twenty years.

With mind buzzing, I thought of my ex. Images of him came to mind. I thought about the vivid dreams I’ve been having of him. I had decided these dreams were my subconscious helping me to let go.

Unfortunately, the whir of caffeine incapacitates reality. I had decided I would drive to Salem and cruise by his house—at 9:30 p.m. Why? Well, because I was buzzing like an egg timer and I didn’t know what else to do.

So, I drove by his house and it was uneventful. Not that I expected it to be anything grandiose. And after I finished this impressive feat, I decided to drive by the house we shared what seemed so many moons ago.

After driving by that house and once again experiencing nothing inspiring I decided to take an unauthorized walk through the golf course along which this house sat. It was a violation of golf course regulations but I had been doing it for five years so I figured one more time wouldn’t hurt.

I got out of the car. I walked. And as I always did on these unauthorized walks, I talked. I talked to God. I opened my heart. I asked him why I kept going back in time. Why did I re-visit places? I’ve moved on. Why do I always feel the need to go back? This is what I asked.

And I figured that I do it to make sense of the past. I wish I could be like my brother. He pushes the past aside and forgets it. I can’t. I know there are nuggets of gold to find that will help me in the future. I want to find them and learn from them.

Too often I have rushed forward, determined to forget the past and its hurts all the while forgetting that I need closure. I want the hurt to be over so I ignore what I’m feeling. I keep thinking it will go away. I determined that this is why I always go back. The closure isn’t complete until I see that familiar place with the fond and frightful memories. It hurts, it always does. But, no pain no gain, right?

And as I walked and free-associated with Him, wave after wave of enlightenment hit me. And the mini-epiphanies came. Actually, there were no mini-epiphanies. I had graduated to a major epiphany. And it occurred in one particular spot where I had previously, and several times, literally cried out to God.

I stopped in my tracks and re-traced the last time I had walked this path through the golf course. It was April of this year. I was in the midst of jarring changes in my life. I was moving out of the house my ex and I shared, the one he owned. I was cutting him out of my life. I was discarding half my possessions, selling beloved mementos. I was placing my life into storage and reducing myself temporarily to a bedroom in a good friend’s house. I was doing everything needed when a move, both figuratively and literally, occurs.

And I was stepping out in faith.

I was preparing for a five-week trip to San Diego. After the trip I would be heading to Europe for another five weeks. I had made the decision to return from Europe, find a job in Portland and a new place to live and continue with my life. My new life.

That was the plan. Ha, ha.

We make plans and God laughs.

I say that because during that particular April walk, I was in tears. I was asking God once again when it was my turn. I was frightened because I was stepping out of my comfort zone and flying without a net. I didn’t know what the immediate future held and I had little confidence that I would make the right decisions. I tearfully begged for help. I asked Him if He was listening. I asked him if I were his marionette, dancing for His bemusement.

And then I apologized for my insolence. I had gotten things off my chest, things He knew about. And I continued my walk.

Tonight, as I stood in that same spot staring at the stars, I flashed back to that night when I was so scared, so lonely, so unsure. And I realized that, once again, I got my wish. My prayer was answered. These past five months were a journey I needed to walk to reach today.

I don’t have all the answers, but I made choices. I gambled and effected change. And I believe the change is of Him. I’m leaving for Italy; a dream of mine that I never envisioned happening this soon. And even though I don’t have an income yet, I know it is forthcoming. Everything is falling into place for this dream that causes me to believe that it will come to fruition.

I took inventory. Housing? Check. Rent? Check. It’s not there meaning less expense. Family? Check, they’re waiting and excited. Visa? On its way. Citizenship? “Check” is in the mail. I believe it’s coming.

So, I’m a freak. I drink dark roast coffee at night so I can spin like a top when I get to bed. I drive by my ex’s house like some sort of damn stalker. And I walk through a private golf course late at night without permission and talk to God. The first two behaviors are certifiable. And in some circles, talking to God is grounds for commitment to a state hospital.

Yet the results have been astonishing. I see answers for the questions I had. I see growth. I see change coming. I see the benefit of faith (yet again) and of taking a chance. I even see the benefit of questioning and asking Him.

Whew! Oh, what a night. What a heck of a night.


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