This I Believe

Jill - Carpinteria, California
Entered on August 12, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50

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.