A Provence Escape

I once had the great good fortune of losing everything that had defined me — health, psychology practice, money, good credit rating, a house I loved. It all began with a freak accident that snowballed into a long hospital stay and a year of painful recuperation, an insurance company that refused to honor its commitment, a housing market that made my home unsalable, horrific medical bills, depleted savings and no income. To say it was a bad time of my life is like saying the sun is really hot.

I’m a big believer in affirmations, so I repeated a zillion times a day, “Divine right action is taking place in my life right now, bringing about the highest good for all concerned.” I had to keep it nonspecific because I had no idea which catastrophe to tackle first. The answer came in the form of an invitation from people I barely knew. They had recently moved to the south of France and had a big house with a spare bedroom I could rent. At first I said no, but they kept calling and urging me to do it, and bill collectors kept calling and snarling at me, and I kept remembering the story of the man who refused to leave his house when a flood had sent everybody else to higher ground. When a boat came for him, he said, “I’m staying here because God will save me.” The waters rose and he went upstairs. A second boat came, but he said, “No, God will save me.” The waters rose more and he went to his roof, where a third boat came. Again, he said, “I’m not leaving because I have faith that God will save me.” Then he drowned.

In heaven, he marched up to God and said, “What the hell? I believed in you and you let me drown!” And God said, “Dummy, I sent three boats!”

I thought the invitation to move to France might be my third boat, so I sold my car and furniture and jewelry, packed some books and my computer, and bought a one-way ticket to France. Within a month the people who’d invited me to live with them said they were returning to the states, and I was on my own. Again, I repeated with every breath, “Divine right action is taking place in my life right now, bringing about the highest good for all concerned.” This time the boat was a Belgian woman who offered to rent me her vacation home for the same amount I’d been paying for my friends’ spare bedroom. I moved in, she went back to Belgium, and for the next six months I relaxed into the beauty and rhythm of a small French village above the Cote d’Azur.

The air smelled of lavender, my garden was ringed with fat roses, my clothes line was strung between olive trees, and church bells chimed every hour and announced each birth, death, and wedding. Roosters woke me every morning and a neighbor brought me fresh croissant to go with my tea on the terrace. I wrote a book. I decided I’d rather write books than go back to being a therapist. I had a mild fling that allowed me to hear a man murmur, “Ma cherie.” I learned the difference between good food and fine food, learned not to fear butter. In that blessed place, my body and soul healed.

It isn’t true that you can’t run away from problems. Running away was the best thing I’d ever done. It gave me time and space for healing, for regrouping, and for defining what was most important to me. When it was time to come home, I returned with great gratitude for all the bad things that had happened that had caused me to run away. I don’t miss anything I lost in that awful time, and I will never again become so attached to any thing that it defines who I am. Now, while I greatly enjoy my home and the things I’ve filled it with, I know I could leave it all in a minute and not look back. When bad spots happen, you never know what greater thing might be waiting for you. And you might get fresh croissants brought to your door every morning.


4 thoughts on “A Provence Escape

  1. Hello Blaize:

    I just wanted to take a few moments and let you know that i found your blog very interesting. This particular post “A Provence Escape” especially.

    I am a firm believer that nothing happens by chance. Everything is before us with a world of choices. You happened to choose choice’s that made your world richer.

    You say that you had the great, good fortune to loose everything that defined you. Ahh…those were only trappings (that we all carry). You retained what is most important in life.

    You were able to retain your basic personna. Your drive, your focus, and your dreams. Everything else in life is transitional.

    There are force’s out there which exsist only to defeat and destroy who we are; and, what we have to offer the world. I believe that when you keep true to who you are; and do things for the right reasons, that God will bring wonderful benefits to you.

    My family has been through similiar life changing events (baby boomer–job layoffs-finances-dubious contractors— health issues, the list could go on for a while). My husband chose to step off in faith and learn a whole new way of providing financially for his family. It evolves daily. We adapt.

    I am striving towards a life long dream that i held in reserve for years. I sat on my dreams of writing and ignored them. I am learning and i am growing. I have recently been giving myself permission to start writing again. I am beginning the process of submitting to publisher’s. A long road I know. But, one must start the journey to achieve the dream.

    Our life took a divergent path. In retrospect, what was once viewed as a highly traumatic event, is now being viewed as a gift.

    So, I say to you, Bravo for the human spirit of endurance; and, a desire to not only overcome, but to do it with style.

    Best of luck in all that you do. LW- writeasrain.wordpress.com

  2. Hello Blaize:

    I am laughing hysterically! I just posted to your blog and i have no idea (how or why) my husband’s picture appeared on my post to you. He is a (new) internet marketer. He is all over the net…but…geez…how he got on my post’s i have no idea.

    His picture is not on my blog…this is way too funny. He said…is there any way you can change it? I said, it isnt my blog! Red face here.

    Now, this non technical person…has to try to figure out…how to get his very attractive mug from appearing on my posts. ( i could look at him all day…but i assume it could be quite confusing to others to have a female name attached to a very male face). LW writeasrain.wordpress.com

  3. I’m glad to know somebody else finds it something of a mystery to get the hang of this blogging business! At least he’s great looking. Think how bad it would be to have your comment attached to a really ugly guy’s face. Thanks for your comment, and good luck with your writing.

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