Thursday, May 29, 2008


It is only the first week of summer vacation and I have already read three books—not ONE of any literary value whatsoever. I just finished “Twenty Wishes” by Debbie Macomber. I wouldn’t normally have chosen this book—mostly because of its nauseatingly “cutsie” cover; but it is a story about four widow friends, so of course I had to read it. Each of the characters is at a different place on their widow-journey. All are different ages and have different stories. The author seems to grasp the essence of widowhood without making it such a downer that no one would want to read the book. At one of the widow’s gatherings while talking about the fact that they want more out of life, each widow is challenged to create a list of 20 wishes. The novel then follows these four women as they begin to realize their life wishes.

The book didn’t make me want to run out, buy a scrapbook and begin my own 20 wishes journal, but it did make me think about why people get “stuck” in their lives. I wish getting “un-stuck” was as simple as writing down wishes, but it is not. Something else has to happen. You have to want to be “un-stuck”. You have to have a plan to become “un-stuck”. You have to create a life where being stuck simply isn’t an option.

I never thought about this much until now, but Kent and I both knew we didn’t want to remain “stuck” in our lives. I would like to be able to admit that I could have created a fulfilled life without the love of another; I simply can’t. I understand myself well enough to recognize that a large part of who I am requires that aspect of my life to be fulfilled. I know not everyone is like me regarding this aspect of "singleness"(and some would never admit it anyway), but I have great respect for people who find contentment being alone and who have found fulfillment and strength in being single.

I know that being “stuck” wasn’t an acceptable option for my life. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had a plan to become “un-stuck”, though perhaps unconsciously. I knew I didn’t want to live my life stagnated by tragedy. My good friend often tells me that I seemed to always be “open” to a new relationship and that was accurate. I was honest with myself as to what I could give and what I needed for the second part of my life. I needed someone intelligent; someone to share my religious beliefs; someone who loved music; someone who would accept and love my family; someone unafraid to attempt new adventures; someone just like – Kent. So, I shouldn’t be surprised that I have been blessed again, nor should I be apologetic to those still searching because I DO understand how difficult this journey can be. I will remain forever grateful that I have been fortunate, as well as encourage and cheer on others as they take the steps to become "un-stuck".

I don’t need 20 wishes. I just have one big one and that is to have a life filled with love, happiness and the chance to share it with someone honorable.


TigereyeSal said...

Yes! The widow blogs with which I resonate the most are absolutely written by those who strive to be unstuck; in fact, this is probably true of all the people I surround myself with, and read, and enjoy. Who wants to be with those who are in a rut and are perversely enjoying it?


Anonymous said...

I read something by this author but I can't remember what now.

I hear you on the "unstuck". You have to make a choice. Be open. Do something. Different for everyone though.

Unapologetic. Yep.

Anonymous said...

I've recently had a revelation into the way I look at and think about things. My 23 yo daughter is about to embark on a significant transition in her life. She has been "stuck" since her mom died.

I've tried to counsel her and advise her; figuring that if she could start to be productive, start to live her life, that she could just do the old "fake it 'til you make it" thing. But she is not suited for that, really. She's always had a life philosophy outside the mainstream.

I think she's kind of had an idea of what she wants to do, but the paradigm of my life has held her back. The last time she asked for advice, I realized that my advice was essentially couched in terms of what I would do in that situation and doing what I thought was best for someone in my circumstances. So I told her I couldn't really give her advice. I told she should just do what she thought she needed to do. And I told her that I was having a tough time letting her go.

So now she's off to BC. On her own. The original plan was to go with her boyfriend but, as usual, he's flaked out again. Still determined (as ever), she's going on her own. Scares the crap out of me. But I know this is what she needs to do for her to become "un-stuck".

Great post Marsha.

Elaine Williams said...

Marsha, this is a great post. I so resonate with what you're saying, it's like I wrote it myself. As a widow of four years, I many times felt frustratingly "stuck" in place. But, I continued to remain open to life, love, living and embracing what came into my life. Like you, for me loving someone is an integral part of me, of who I am. But until that special someone comes along, I am living life fully, reaching outside my comfort zone from time to time, and being joyful for what I have. I refuse to be a victim and I refuse to stay stuck in place any longer.

Tanja said...

Marsha, I read this book too, and to be honest, all of her other books. I'm a read-aholic I'm afraid, even though the coziness and sweetness of these books bother me sometimes.

Did it make me want to make twenty wishes? Nah, not really. I got way more wishes than that actually, and I know what they are. I'm still an avid traveler, I have always been, and there are so many places in this world I want to see and enjoy. And I do.

But on top of my list would still be someone to love and to hold.
It's also the only thing I cannot really force into my life.
I'm very open to new relationships, know what I want, but it just hasn't happened yet, and maybe it never will.

Does that mean I'm stuck? No, I don't think so. I go dancing and swinging, I do all kinds of things with my children, I travel to unknown places, I meet many new people. Just that one person that I want to spend the rest of my life with hasn't shown up yet.

Now my second wish on my list would be a baby. Yes! I love love love children, and before Siep got sick we discussed how we could get another child. I cannot have one myself anymore for physical reasons, but there are other options.
But I would want to give this child the love of a dad too.... and so I walk in circles. but am not stuck.


Marsha said...

Elaine, I can't wait to read your book. It seems we share many of the same insights.

Tanja, I am glad you posted what you did. I loved your last line. At some points in our lives we do walk in circles, so much better than just remaining in one place. I have always loved to dance, but too self-conscious to go out in public (except for the occasional wedding) and dance. No, you are not stuck--you are out there creating your chapter two.