Wednesday, February 4, 2015

IWSG: February 4, 2015 ~ A Touch of Grace

It's a good day!

It's the first Wednesday 
of the month ~ 
the day when members of the
Insecure Writer's Support Group
share their writing struggles
and offer their encouragement
and support to other members.

To visit the IWSG, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are stepping up to help 
IWSG founder Alex J. Cavanaugh today are
Gwen GardnerDolorah, Sarah Foster, and M. Pax.
Visit them, thank them, and follow them (if you haven't yet).

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Have you ever retreated under the covers 
with a microwaved teddy bear
and huddled in the warm comforting dark?

January dealt me some bear-hugging days,
as obstacle after obstacle 
thwarted my writing schedule.
It would be easy to give up.

Don't Give Up  

Sunday, the 31st, had me in frustrated tears 
before the start of the Super Bowl.

I admit, I was emotional
as I confronted a rite of passage
and wondered how
I had reached it so fast;
but, I was also determined
to get it done before kickoff.

Rite of Passage

With resolve and the Ever-Patient there to support me,
I headed onto the Internet highway
only to flame out on the latest barricade.

We're sorry ..., We're sorry ...,

After rejecting my name three times,
the website locked me out.

Okay, I know my name ~
I've been using it for thirty years!

What is it with me and computers?

Help Just a Phone Call Away

"Pour yourself some coffee,
put the phone on speaker,
and be prepared to wait 
on hold for a long time,"
the Ever-Patient cheerfully offered,
as he headed out for work 
Monday morning.
"But I bet they tell you 
to go to the Aurora office."

I hate it when he's right.

Have you ever gone to your local
Social Security office?

There must have been a hundred people
filling the chairs, hugging the walls,
and spilling into the hallway,
all clutching their numbered tickets and waiting:  
bored, resigned, or impatient.

A hundred minutes crawled by
before I heard the magic words:  
"A256 go to Window 14."

"The Social Security Help Desk told me 
the name on my Social Security card
is not my legal name,"
I explain during my first interview.
"So I can't access online services
or sign up for Medicare.
But this is my name!"

I hand the problem card
to the woman behind the window.

Security questions.
Type, type, typing.

No answers,
only the instruction
to go back and wait 
for my name to be called.

I wait more long minutes
before hearing 
"M. Louise Barbour,
go to Window 19."

My name!
The name on my card!
Maybe spotting that bench 
when I turned into the parking lot
was a touch of grace from above!

The kind man behind Window 19
sent his fingers flying over his keyboard,
enrolling me in Medicare
and setting up my online account lickety split!


Yup, this one: 

I danced out to the parking lot.

At first I hadn't recognized where I was
as I drove into the parking lot hours earlier.
The street was dirt in October 1982,
and the transmission towers 
had marched through open fields.  

But the transmission towers
slammed me
this morning,
and I suddenly realized
that it had to be near
that bench 
that shot my life
off in an unexpected direction
decades ago.

Did you ever have a powerful premonition,
a gut-kick feeling of WRONG so strong
that it catapulted you into a fast run?

I did as I waited on that bench in late 1982 
for an appointment to view a condo I hoped to rent.

"I may be late," the owner had told me.
"Please wait, because I might get stuck
in rush hour traffic."

He was, and I waited.
But the longer I waited, 
the more uneasy I got.

I looked at those branching sidewalks,
with a growing sense of dread 
and a solidifying conviction 
that I was at an important fork in my road.

I knew that if I stayed,
if I met that owner,
I'd rent that condo,
and head down the wrong fork.

The more I struggled with the thought 
of bailing on my appointment,
the more panic billowed inside me.
I had to get out of there ~ NOW!
I could feel a door swinging shut.

I fled.

That owner was so pissed 
when I called him later that evening
and told him I couldn't rent his condo.
He had arrived just minutes after I ditched.

A few days later I rented an apartment
miles and miles away in Denver.

And then I met the Ever-Patient 
at the bus stop by my new apartment complex.
He had just moved into it too.

After I left the 
Social Security office,
I crossed the street
and sat on the bench.

It was cold
in the shade of
the surrounding trees,
as I sat and 
on this bench
a lifetime ago.

Honeymoon 1984

If I hadn't left, 
my path and Terry's
would never
have crossed.

A warm feeling of grace
washed over me
in the cold shade.

It's okay to have an occasional
bear-hugging day,
as long as pull yourself together
and confront the obstacles 
life throws at you.

Things have a way of working out
when you listen to that voice inside you.

My inner voice is saying
You can do this!
Things will calm down,
and you will write 
on that schedule you mapped out.
Don't give up! 

Happy writing everyone!


  1. Yes we all do have those days. But isn't wonderful how fate interceded and led you and Terry together that day 32 years ago? :)

    1. It is wonderful, Keith! It's the best thing that ever happened to me! There is nothing like finding the right person! You have a good one!

  2. Total believer in following your gut..which I believe is nothing more than a nudge from above.

    1. I agree, Elizabeth! You gut is usually spot on! Have a great evening!

  3. Have to listen to the gut indeed and sometimes get the hell off the bench quick. Good you did to.

    1. Intuition is a fascinating concept, Pat. A person takes in so much more than the rational mind realizes. Have a good one!

  4. Such an amazing twist of fate. You were meant to be with Terry and the Universe made sure that it happened.

    welcome to Social Security. It's fun to see that check arrive each month. No enough to live on, but it helps. Now that I'm seventy I feel i'm stepping into a whole new realm of my life.

    1. It's fascinating to look back at my life and see the turning points and twists of fate, Peggy. Sometimes you don't realize the significance at the time, and sometimes you do. I do feel that Terry and I were meant to be together. I don't get to have a social security check. :( I worked as a state employee so I'm under a plan that is outside social security. Colorado is one of number of states that fall under the GPO WEP laws. But I'm thankful to get Medicare! Every decade has its joys and rewards. I'm glad that you are facing your seventies with optimism. Life is a precious gift. Have a good one, my friend!

  5. Wow, what a story! Isn't it amazing how one decision can change the outlook of our lives forever? And often we don't even know it at the time.
    On a side not, I've never microwaved a Teddy bear before...

    1. Thanks, Alex! It is amazing how your life can turn on a dime! My teddy bear was specially made to be microwaved ~ like rice bags, for example. It's wonderful when it's cold or when you need some extra warmth. It sure beats putting a hot brick or rock in your bed at night, or even the more modern hot water bottle. But then, maybe you've never had to do that! LOL! Have a good one, my friend!

  6. Sweet. Some people say, "Things happen for a reason."

    1. It's hard not to believe that, Peaches, even when my rational mind says things are random. But then, I've always been more intuitive than rational. Have a great evening!

  7. What a wonderful post! And you're right -- life works out for us when we listen to our Inner Voice of Knowing. But learning to do that and trust it can be very hard, especially for women, I think. Glad you listened to yours!

    1. So am I, Debra! I've always said that Terry made my life. Trusting that inner voice is hard, especially when so many discount intuition. Usually I run into trouble when I'm going against that inner voice. Have a great rest of the week, Debra!

  8. What a great post, Louise! Always listen to that listen voice inside you; it's your intuition trying to get your attention and point you in the right direction. I'm so glad you paid attention and everything turned out so beautifully.

    1. Me too, Martha! My intuition is rarely wrong. You've just got to silence the world sometimes and spend time listening and trusting. Have a great evening!

  9. So frustrating. The older I get, the lower my threshold for nonsense.

    A microwaved teddy bear?

    1. Hi Donna! My bear was designed for the microwave, like a rice bag to warm you up or soothe tired muscles ~ but it's way nicer! Have a good one!

  10. Our gut really helps in many situations. I love your photos.

    1. Thanks, Linda! I've learned to listen carefully to mine! Have a great Sunday!

  11. Your writing is the kind that makes me read and read, and hoping the end will be a long way off. Fate intervened for you in the most wonderful way, but you yourself had a huge part you played exactly to your role in life, and look at you both .hugs as our weather has changed rapidly to cooler autumn, and still February.

    1. Hugs back to you, Jean! And thank you for the encouragement about my writing! It's funny to think of autumn in February. I'm thinking about spring because it is so warm today. I'm a little ate replying, but I'm chasing my tail a lot this week. I enjoy the comments people write so much! Have a happy week!

  12. That was a great story. Gut instincts are essential to creatives. It pays to listen! Thank you for sharing.

    Your Social Security office sounds like the California DMV.

    1. Hi Adrienne! Thank you! I'm seriously playing catch up ~ sorry I haven't replied; I didn't realize there were more comments. I've been to the DMV in California! I don't care to go back to there or to SS! Have a great Sunday!

  13. I hate the waiting game!! Seems to have paid off in the past for you though. I am sure it will again soon.

    1. Hi Dolorah! I'm the world's worst waiter! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  14. Okay Louise, I love all of your posts but this might possibly my favorite one EVER! I LOVE IT. And it's so well written. Hope the lovely couple has a beautiful weekend! XOXOXO

    1. Thank you, Audrey! You just made my evening!!!! I worked so hard on this post, so it means a lot to read an encouraging comment like yours. I hope that you are having a beautiful weekend too, my friend! XOXOXO!

  15. This was an amazing post! I'm learning now, at 49 to finally listen to my gut. Sigh. It makes me wonder how many little nudges I ignored in the past; I won't anymore, that's for sure.

    I know the problems with Social Security all too well. I still have occasional issues with them but I do what I can. I'm still working my way through the IWSG blogs; sorry if I'm a tad late. Have a great weekend. Eva

    1. Hi Eva! I'm perpetually playing catch up, so I get it! Thanks for your kind words! We are having a lovely warm weekend, so nice after our recent cold weather. You have a great one too!

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