The Second Year – From “WE” to “me”

This morning I woke up with this thought:

I am single.

It was shocking. I am no longer married. I am not part of a couple. I am a middle aged woman who lives alone. I don’t like it. The big Red stinky dog may take offense to that, but it is a fact. This is not an ad for Christian Mingle in any way, shape, or form. But it is a new realization. One that makes my skin crawl to be honest.

When I talk about Rebecca and Molly I am not sure whether to refer to them as “our” daughters or “my” daughters. Is Red “my” dog or “our” dog? Is this “my” house or “our” house; the house “we” built together? “We” wanted to travel to Italy, “we” wanted to build a patio, renovate the basement, host dinners for friends and spend time with family. These were all “our” desires. How do I feel about them now? Plain and simple: I don’t know.

When you spend 30 years with someone, you cannot make decisions unilaterally. Mike and I were sensitive to how our choices would impact the other, regardless of how big or small it was. It was a foundation of respect for one another. We learned over time not to assume what the other wanted, needed, or thought. We learned how to communicate better but we had not perfected it. Who does? We did our best encouraging one another’s strengths and tried not to take shortcomings personally. Again, in our humanness, we did not achieve perfection. We spoke truth to one another and we checked one another when needed. When I said something that was not necessary (and Rebecca, Keith, and Molly, you know full well what I am talking about! Think Grand Canyon…), Mike would shake his head and smile (most of the time) and say, “Trishhhhh….”.  And sure enough, I would replay the tape in my head and most of the time, be embarrassed by what came out of my mouth. And I did the same for him. Now Red just stares at me with those deep brown eyes and gives me a lick. Comforting, but not all that helpful. To go from that kind of largeness of thinking; considering others, to living alone is an adjustment.

Going from “WE” to “me” is a struggle. “WE” is in caps because to me, it feels stronger, more stable. Mike and I made a good team and I believed, with God’s help, we could conquer anything. We had several opportunities to prove that.  “me” is in lower case because I feel small. That’s it. I know that is not true, that it is only a feeling. I know that because I have done things the last year, with God’s strength, that I never thought I could.

Maybe this is what the second year will teach me. How to think differently and identify what is important to me. It will take some time for me to figure all of this out. After all, it took 30 years of working at it for us in the opposite direction! I hold onto this promise from Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you (Patty),” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you (Patty) a future and a hope.

I cling to that promise as I enter this new season of life. It is still “do the next thing” and “be patient” but I know a lot will happen this year and with this kind of promise, I can rest knowing I do have a future and hope.

Patty_and_Red02

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11 thoughts on “The Second Year – From “WE” to “me”

  1. Ring, Christine says:

    Patty, for what it is worth I was a member of a religious community for 35 years. When I left I felt no longer a member of “we” so I went and adopted a cat. I don’t really miss the religious life and enjoy the single life. I sometimes miss my friends who are still persevering in the religious life, but I do not miss the life. I have found God calling me in a new way and this I really love.

  2. roxrunner says:

    Hi Patty, you are so good and strong, even if it doesn’t always feel that way! Please know that you’ve got a set of ears in me who will always listen if you ever want to talk. Not judge or give advice or “try to help” unless that’s what you ask for, just someone to listen and give a hug at the end.

  3. patsy mclaughlin says:

    Great picture! I could very much relate to the “We” to “me”. You described it very well. Press on. I also used to sing or hum the words from the Broadway musical (which one?) “When you walk through a storm”.. The words temporarily erased the discouragement made me feel hopeful.. Patsy

  4. Peggy McGowan says:

    Each new entry sheds a new light on YOU, Patty. You are amazing.

  5. Laurie W says:

    You are full of Godly wisdom, your writing must be a blessing to all who read it. Thank you for sharing and know that through your blog you have helped me.
    May God bless you as you continue to move forward.

  6. Betsy says:

    Thanks for keeping up the blogging. I often think of the we/me thing myself. It stinks!!! GREAT picture of you and the pup. xo

  7. Gwynne says:

    In some ways, Patty, this is exactly how I feel about the end of my stay-home-mom preschool life. The kids were attached at my hip; I got so used to it and naively thought it would never end. The “now what?” question is tough! I will pray Psalm 32:8 for you- it’s been my verse these past two months.
    Love you!

  8. George says:

    I still struggle with it. I remember one day I got up early to work outside and since I was doing physical labor that day I did not wear my wedding ring. A friend came by later in the morning and was so excited I had moved past… Past what I am not sure 😉 But that was when the WE me thinking hit me hardest. I was alone in so many ways. I travel alot and did so then too for work. I have a huge chunk of years with very few pictures. Why? Because WE weren’t going to look at them. And I guess I lost interest. So much of life is shared. So many things we do for the WE. One thing hard for me, this time of year, is Christmas is for WE. I am just not really into doing too much for me. Now I am married to Awn, the WE is back and I am happy for that, but I still get confused about who the WE is and how it works. because it is a cross culture marriage there is no WE to Thanksgiving or Christmas, that would still be me. I am getting a headache. Sometimes when I call her Pam, she smiles at my mistake, and then says, “you really loved her, I am so happy you love me.” I guess what I am trying to say is you never get fixed, you just get better, and that is a good thing. me is still small but our lives are so BIG, so rich with love I can’t keep it all in my head at one time. My children, I love them, my wife Awn, I love her, my wife Pam I love her still, my extended family, Pam’s side and Awn’s side I love them and my friend Patty – I love her too.

  9. Beth Sagar formerly Betsy Luchs says:

    Love your posts my friend. xoxo

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