Sunday, 14 August 2011
In my handbag is usually a 6 x 6 black notebook & pen so that when and if inspiration strikes I can capture fleeting thoughts. Printed on the cover in white are the words “LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR” with the notation that this is a Zen saying.
On the web the quote is attributed to John Burroughs (1837 – 1921). Mr. Burroughs may or may not have been a Buddhist, nor am I: in any event the phrase has become a personal motto because it applies to the way I have handled survival issues for most of my adult life. I have jumped into a seemingly non-existent safety net so often that there are too many examples for only one blog.
The time: early 1960’s. I am a single divorced mom of two at the end of my freelance financial rope – yes, being an independent textile designer is risky; still it’s preferable to a low-paying studio job without opportunity for advancement.
A company had just offered me an amazing opportunity to travel to a southern printing factory, taking on a lot of well-paid responsibility. I accepted immediately, though I didn't have a clue as to how I would obtain responsible live-in child care for an adolescent boy of 13 and 5 year old girl.
SO I PUT AN AD IN THE NY TIMES, PRAYED AND WAITED.
THE SECOND APPLICANT TO RING MY DOORBELL WAS A SMALL ROUNDED LADY WITH GRAY HAIR AND AN ITALIAN ACCENT. SHE HAD TAUGHT GIRLS IN A NAPLES NUNNERY AND LOVED TO COOK THE WAY MY KIDS LOVE TO EAT. HER NAME WAS MARIA – MARY TO US.
SINCE I HAD TO TRAVEL SO MUCH I DIDN’T NOTICE OR MIND THAT SHE DIDN’T GO OUT MUCH EXCEPT TO VISIT RELATIVES ON HER DAY OFF, OR WRITE LETTERS IN HER ROOM.
ONE DAY SHE ASKED FOR A LEAVE OF ABSENCE SO SHE COULD GO TO BARCELONA, MARRY HER LONG-TIME LOVE AND BRING HIM TO NEW YORK.
WE FOUND A TEMP AND SOON SHE RETURNED WITH JOSEPH IN TOW. THAT TINY ROOM BECAME THEIR HONEYMOON COTTAGE.
JOSEPH – WHO COULD DO ANYTHING QUICKLY FOUND EMPLOYMENT, PLUS HE DID FOR US WHATEVER MEN DO AROUND A HOUSE!
MARY AND JOSEPH BECAME SURROGATE GRANDPARENTS FOR 16 YEARS AT WHICH TIME THEY RETIRED AND BOUGHT A FLAT IN BARCELONA.
NOW THIS IS WEIRD – THE NAMES MARY AND JOSEPH – THEY WERE LITERALLY ANGELS, SAINTS, IN MY LIFE, PROVIDING SAFETY AND LOVE SO THAT I COULD KEEP A ROOF OVER OUR HEADS.
HAD I ALLOWED FEAR TO INFLUENCE MY DECISION TO MOVE FORWARD, A MAJOR OPPORTUNITY WOULD HAVE BEEN LOST.
I TRUSTED AND DIVINITY PROVIDED THE NET!