Sunday, June 1, 2014

Casting Pearls before Swine

The title, a quotation from Matthew 7:5 in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, implies that one should not put what is valuable in front of those who will reject the notion.  Not only reject that it has value, but furthermore seek to diminish or destroy what one offers.

The astute reader of “Alice in Tomorrow Land” (Skagit Leeks March 23, 2014) surely discerned that Alice was in the midst of a divorce.  They just had no clue it was from her long-time lover, friend and husband Heinrich.  It should have been easy.  It was their second time at ending their marriage to each other.

But alas, it was not easy.  Far from it.  Heinrich insisted that the laws of the State of Washington were wrong and he was going to demonstrate that. 

“To whom”? Alice asked.

“To whomever!” Heinrich declared, raising his arm for emphasis.
So … instead of using the same attorney like they did the first time they divorced (which cost $50), they each hired their own.  Heinrich got Ms. Nobody, a local newbie.  While Alice somehow bumbled into getting one of the best attorneys in the state, who we will call F. Lee.

His fee was exorbitant, but Alice handed over her credit card anyway.  She was in a bit of a daze wondering how she got him and why he took her case.  And afraid to touch anything in the splendor of his office, especially the giant mushroom – sculpted from one huge piece of marble -- sitting in the main foyer.

“It’s a slam dunk,” he said after looking through the documents Alice brought.  Actually it was another attorney who had prepared the magic document that rendered this divorce a slam dunk.  Alice was just grateful that, although the hourly rate was staggering, surely a slam dunk meant it would be over quickly and her retainer would be returned.
Divorce Tip #1:  When the best attorney tells you, “It’s a slam dunk,” most likely you don’t need him.  Get somebody like Saul from “Breaking Bad.”

In spite of his vast experience, F. Lee did not have a clue about Heinrich’s sheer determination to insist on his position without regard for the intent and wording of the Law.  So, while F. Lee buried Ms. Nobody in paper, Heinrich told her not to bother him with such nonsense.  Thus the paper piled up on Nobody’s desk and F. Lee went through Alice’s first and second retainers like a hot knife through butter.

Divorce Tip #2:  Tell your attorney to do nothing.  It saves oodles of $$.

The law is amazingly screwed up.  For example, in the 6 foot stack of papers this simple divorce generated, it is stated at least 50 times that neither of these two senior citizens is pregnant.
“Is there no short form for older couples?” she asked a couple of times.  But was told:  “Just answer the questions.”  The Law was The Law … and apparently no one, prior to Alice, had ever questioned the Ludicrousness of The Law.

Finally she just gave up, hid in her room, ate heart healthy dark chocolate truffles and drank vitamin enriched orange juice with Grey Goose and Galliano floated on top.  She was losing a lot of money, but gaining a lot of weight … so it all evened out in a bizarre illogical way.
Divorce Tip #3:  Xanax is probably a smarter choice than chocolate and Harvey Wallbangers for dealing with divorce trauma.

At last, after much heartache and terrible times … Heinrich agreed to sign the exact same proposal he received on Day 1 of the Divorce Process.  Unfortunately all his posturing resulted in the destruction of a small forest in paper and cost them both a big wad of money.

All Alice could do is deal with the swirl of feelings from severing this 40-year relationship.  Watch her back in response to behind the scene maneuvers.
And look forward to seeing the reactions of friends and family members who believed the stories and expected her to be a raving lunatic.  TouchĂ© she’d think, clutching her remaining stash of pearls, shared only with angels now.

The legal papers and filings are only one piece of the pie.  Money is another piece.  A big piece which always pops up in divorces and deaths.  Then there is family; vehicles; and selling the family abode.

Some couples deal with these issues with grace and honor.  Others, not so much.  Fortunately Karma plays a role in these kinds of squabbles.  And he who screws his partner must drag around a bag of bad Karma for the rest of his life.
Alice suffered great losses during this divorce process:  people she loved, money that belonged to her, her car, almost her sanity … which she held onto only through the help of compassionate strangers who simply “appeared” in her life, seemingly out of nowhere, right before she would have slipped into the abyss. 

It was these Good Samaritans (called angels by her friend Claudia) who listened to her, held her as she wept, and told her she was special and worthy of love … regardless of what she learned to believe after years with Heinrich and recent treatment by family members she was so sure appreciated and loved her.
Ironically, the most special of the angels was the paralegal assigned by F. Lee to work with her.  Sometimes Alice would call just so she could hear her voice:  happy or calming or encouraging or sympathetic.  The paralegal’s voice always had the perfect pitch for the situation at hand. Alice knew in her heart that she may not have survived the whole nasty ordeal if not for the voice of that wonderfully caring woman at the other end of the phone … almost daily for months. 

Alice had transformed during the 90-day legal process and 6-month life process which oddly enough began on the “joyful” day her gift of writing spontaneously returned.  Somehow she made peace with all her shocking losses … with love in her heart and the ability to simply be grateful for today and filled with hope for tomorrow.
She believes she was reborn by surviving the trauma and deep personal losses of it all … and felt young and healthy and happy and most of all: FREE.  Free of any of the guilt and hurt others tried to unload on her. 

Divorce Tip #4:  If you choose not to accept it, the burden remains with the giver.

Alice emerged amazingly unburdened.

In one of F. Lee’s smaller offices (he had offices in many cities) a basket sat oddly askew on a side table as if it had been set there in passing and forgotten.  So, when coming to collect her final papers, Alice felt compelled to bring life to the forgotten basket.  Which she did, actually, by taking it with her, filling it with lovely fragrant Lilacs from her yard, and returning it the next day.
Well … F. Lee was outraged!  How dare a simple client, and an old one at that, have the audacity to remove something from his auspicious work place?! 

It was then Alice realized F. Lee and Heinrich had much in common.  After a tense couple of hours, involving a flurry of emails, she was, of course, absolved of any wrong-doing.  I mean, really.  Alice?  The one who had been called “Amadeus” … meaning “gifted by God” …  earlier that very day?

Too bad neither F. Lee nor Heinrich recognized that aspect of Alice.  More Karma chips for them. 
Divorce Tip #5:  The attorneys are the only winners.

One thing became crystal clear as a result of the whole nasty process.  When couples divorce, for whatever reason, only the attorneys emerge victorious.  We, the little people, fund the trips and swimming pools, fancy cars and giant marble mushrooms for these “officers of the court.”  And while the couples with the broken relationships are left behind … having to figure out how to mend their tattered lives … the attorneys zero in on their next prey willing to fork over the big retainer.
People most often get married with stars in their eyes and love in their hearts.  And 50% of them end up like Alice and Heinrich … some, more than once.  Perhaps humans were not created to be monogamous.  Perhaps they were created to come together to create enough lives to replace themselves … and then drift off and find their bliss.

Alice didn’t much care anymore, since she was done with men and most certainly marriage.   She was anxious to get settled into her new life and use her old computer to write the final chapters of the last forty years of her life … including how she got tangled up with Heinrich and his clan in the first place. 

Telling this story is akin to paraphrasing Acts 9:18 “And immediately there fell from the eyes of the reader something like scales which give them sight.”  Oh yeah.

Not surprisingly the title will be “Crazy Love.”

Alice was happy!  She got a new hairdo, some new duds, and didn’t even need the magical cane so much as before.  She knew exactly where her bliss was waiting for her … as her reward for being honest and playing fair in the Game of Life.



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