Glenn's core was everything I was looking for in a man...he still is. We both enjoy the arts, new places, exotic foods, nature and a love for community. He and I both believe work should be a lifestyle not just a job. Love what you do, or work towards achieving the life you want. He and I commuted from St. Pete to Sarasota quite a bit in our first months to spend time together. When he asked me to move in, I was a little stand-offish and asked him about his intentions. That evening he gave me his house key. When I went home, I told my roommate all that had transpired. I also told her I was going to give him his key back. I didn't really know Sarasota, my job was in Clearwater, and what if he turns into a jerk after I move in? She convinced me to give it a try. She suggested I volunteer in Sarasota to get a feel of the city. She would continue to stay in our place and I could come back anytime. She also reminded me this was the happiest she had seen me in months.
I agreed, I applied to volunteer at local organization for people with special needs. They offered me a job instead. The job was too good to turn down. I would be in charge of starting a program offering direct services to people with disabilities. On my first day, I got to know the "consumers" and asked them what kind of classes they would like to have. I offered for them to name the program, which they gladly did. We offered classes, in life skill learning, cooking, art, reading/writing, math/money, Spanish, employability skills, self-advocacy, hygiene/health, science. In a few weeks the classes were running fine. I could tell the "consumers" had faith and trusted all that I was doing, but that was not enough for me. I needed them to believe and trust in themselves for the real magic to happen. I prayed about it, then a little voice said that I needed to come out...about my disability, my story. This was totally out of my comfort zone, but understood that it needed to be done.
When I did, boy did they all start to blossom! Every day was like Christmas! I was excited to go to work to see what miracle I would experience that day. They where doing so well that we grew an employment program out our transition program. We also started a youth group. When we first met, the youth's faces were looking down. I remember thinking, "They are a light that doesn't know how bright they can shine." As the youth group continued I started to see a sparkle. When they started shine, it surpassed all that I could imagine or desired for them. I don't think man could ever make sunglasses that could block out their shininess! I have been told, these kids needed someone like me. My reply is, "I think I needed them more." They have a way of transforming the hardest/darkest day into my best day ever. Things that the "common" person would take for granted... for us warrant a five minute dance party in our world. I have not only learned to stop and smell the roses but to take in the whole garden! I am blessed to be a part of their lives.
The second Christmas I spent in Sarasota Glenn proposed. I looked a fright when I entered our home to find the whole living room covered in small lights, candles, flowers, and him in a white linen outfit. (Boy does he look good in linen pants!) He asked me to be his wife...I said yes! I never saw a man so involved in the wedding planning. I we had a blast. My consumers threw me a surprised engagement shower which warmed my heart. I did have one young lady that attended my day program and youth group concern for me. Almost every day and every day the week leading up to the wedding she would schedule herself a "counseling" session with me. Each session was the same. Small talk, then "Alma, are you sure? Glenn is a nice guy, but marriage is hard work! You have to share your toys and clean up after him. Are you sure! You don't have to get married if you don't want to. Its hard work ALMA!!!" In spite of her warnings and me constantly waiting to see if he was going to turn into a jerk, Glenn and I married. Glenn and I never argued, however there was always a part of me waiting to see if or when he was going to show jerk like behavior and if I would be able to tollorate it. Nine months in our marriage, I finally let go. I felt foolish and regretted not letting go sooner. I was always waiting for the rug to be pulled from under my feet. Maybe this IS us.. the way we are with each other. I love my job, l love my husband, I love my life...Maybe I finally made it...My life is PERFECT! I basked in this truth for two weeks then phone rang. It was my doctor telling me I needed to come it to discuss the results of my yearly physical.
More to come next week: Darkness leads to light and light leads to ....Honey Bees!?
Blog Quote: "The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt