It’s always Signs and Providence.
I think I really began to notice their existence when my marriage began to disintegrate.
Chicken or egg.
Which happened first? Did I always possess this gift? This ability to notice windows of opportunity open up, briefly, to be taken advantage of before they disappeared? Or did the constant pain of the years-long dissolution of our marriage scrub any and all illusions of a perfect life out of my eyes, washed away by years of tears and sobs, leaving me to see only what’s real?
Either way, I was left, somehow, being in tune with my gut. Pretty accurately, too.
I don’t believe in prayer as a form of action. I don’t let go and let God. Unless I’m collapsed in a heap on my bed, going through one of my heavy depressive states, I move. I move forward, and I look, and I know that when I do that, then God presents us opportunities.
That’s how I ended up in downtown Houston, alone, by myself, for a four day weekend.
So it was, less than a month after dad passed away, that after scrolling through my emails, I saw that Brett Dennen was going to be playing at Warehouse Live, in Houston.
He’d be playing Austin on Wednesday, but taking off from work during the middle of the week is kind of tough.
Then I saw that he’d be playing Friday in Houston. Now, taking a Friday off is much more feasible. I did the math. I knew that I could get away with taking two days off — it’s May, we were done teaching everything. It’s just pure enrichment. So I bit the bullet. My dad just passed, my problems with my ex weren’t going away, I needed space, distance, and to have my ragged, worn-down spirit cleansed and rejuvenated.
And that’s why seeing Brett Dennen’s gig appearing serendipitously that May weekend is another sign of a door opening up by the Divine.
I love Brett Dennen.
He’s the only singer-songwriter whose songs have ever made me feel simultaneously astronomically happy, and tear-stained ashen heartbroken.
To me, Brett represents purity of musicality – with his bright melodies and his ability to often juxtapose them against heartbreakingly sad, authentic lyrics, he is a real musician and a singer-songwriter of the highest caliber.
Now it’s Monday morning, close to check out time.
I feel different refreshed.
I feel lighter – more so than I’ve felt in a long time. Seeing Brett Dennen, singing along, crying out all the anguish, heartbreak, and joy I’d been going through. Then exploring downtown Houston, finding a great coffee shop to hang out during the day, then haunting the local Flying Saucer across the street. Making friends, chatting with strangers.
Needless to say, I was happy.
So I truly don’t know why I decided to pick up my cell and text Marce.
I truly can’t remember – Did something come to mind. Did I text him totally out of the blue, after weeks of turning over the problem in the back of my head, what I needed to say finally crystallized and had arranged itself into perfect word order, or was I returning a text of his?
I honestly can’t remember.
All I remember was just getting out of the shower, getting all my gear packed up and ready to roll, then I got my phone.
I texted Marce.
Everything that I had been wanting to tell him about things that he had done – from high school to his comments on my work, to my thoughts on his work that had been gnawing at the edges of my consciousness, irritating me, burst forth in my machine gun texting style.
And I didn’t care. I did not give one rat’s ass. My father died, and he made it about him. Or so I thought. It was a minute or two of frenzied texting, then nothing.
There was silence.
I stood before my duffle bag on the bed. For a moment, I freaked at what I had just done, then I let it go.
“That’s harsh,” was all I could remember him replying.
“The truth is harsh.” I responded.
And that was it.
That’s how it was for a very long time. No communication. No social media. I believe I unfriended Time passed, as it tends to do.
I would get an occasional message from him, an infrequent text. Then – and to be honest with you, I cannot remember when it began – the messages and texts came with more frequency, the apologies. At some point, I apologized – not for what I said, but how I said it, and that I should have said it long ago. My tone changed. I changed. The death of my father irreparably changed me into someone much harsher.
My father died, and a part of me died with me.
I now had no problem telling people what I thought. I wasn’t “sweet,” or “kind” – and I sure as shit wasn’t going to be “diplomatic.”
Maybe not harsher – honest.
Finally knowing myself, knowing my worth, knowing what I will and will not put up with.
Everything was changing.
Everything had changed.
And that was a good thing.
Next: an invitation, a decision, more death, a path to healing.