This I Believe

Jill - Carpinteria, California
Entered on August 12, 2007

My mother lost her purse between my front door and driveway recently. She looked everywhere for her book on Attention Deficit Disorder. But she couldn’t find that either. To help, I used a scientific approach and searched. No results. Next, I employed intuition and hunted. No luck. As a last resort, I tried trusting counter-intuition and didn’t even look for that crucial clutch. For no reason, I phoned my little niece to remind her to visit. I believe in various approaches to problems. I believe in casting a wide net into the Black Lagoon of solutions.

I began believing in change-up ways to handle a problem when my marriage fell apart. After our several years of being a couple, my husband said he might end our relationship. I believed in a standard approach to the scary problem and saw a counselor. My husband revealed he’d had an affair. I’d made mistakes with him and argued often, but I’d thought we had true love.

I took to constantly walking my collie. I admired how he used his sense of smell. I tended to overthink. Could I rely as well as he did on the senses and somehow sniff out what to do next? Yet, the dog had an advantage; his whole face was a nose. Ultimately, I came to believe in using my sixth sense. That led me to tell my husband we should work on our relationship from a safe distance and to move out. He moved; our relationship improved. He said he wanted us to have a future and relocated two thousand miles away to start medical school. He didn’t phone, so I didn’t phone.

I believed I might find one more method to help me through this marriage madness. I read widely, took longer walks, and attended an organized, spiritual group. I learned very puzzling problems can sometimes be solved with counter-intuitive approaches. For example, when a fight begins, don’t engage. The practice would feel like refusing to catch a fly ball even as it arched beautifully toward my mitt. I could be the Willie Mays of shagging a fight. I rehearsed the method. When my husband ultimately called, he was baffled by my responses. He phoned often and planned to do a residency near me. In the end, I found myself asking for a divorce. I was at peace with my decision; I’d also gained an ability to get along better with all kinds of people.

The day after I talked to my niece, she came. On her way in, she glimpsed her grandmother’s purse. The bag hid in a jungle-sized fern potted near my door. My absent-minded mother refused to even think about what possessed her to put down her purse in a fern. I believe in post-analysis of problems. But Mom remained mum. Clearly, the fern wouldn’t come clean either. Maybe I’ll discover and believe in another post-approach. All together, I believe in believing.