A Picture of Peace

My life for today.

I'm sitting here full on See's candy and egg nog trying to write something that says something for my column.

My mind seems to go to just one word. One thought. One state of being.


Yes, peace. For the first time in my life there is a strange sense of peace. An eery sense of calm. A mysterious feeling of balance.

It's odd, foreign, and oh so welcome.

I have long been the child and adult with the word "Poor" spoken before hearing my name.

"Poor, Susan. What's going to happen to her?" "Poor, Susan. She tries so hard." "Poor, Susan. When will it get easier?" "Poor, Susan..."

Now, this isn't to say I have ever been seen as a victim or felt like one. It simply means that there has always been something not right in my life at any given time. Be it the relationship, the job, the income, the addictions, the traumas, the failures... always there has been some part of the puzzle missing, broken or simply lost.

And yet, I've always tried to be grateful for the pieces I have been given to work with. Somehow believing that my puzzle is exactly as it should be.

But today I can honestly say I see the picture—the one I suppose I have been given to build—and it looks really, really beautiful.

There's the newly 9.1-year-old girl with a smiling face, a bearded dragon from Santa in her hand that she named "Joy" and a heart glowing so bright you can see it through her shirt. There's her grandma and aunt and uncle and cousins all laughing, full of good health, sipping their drinks and giving hugs. There're the friends bringing light and history and support in their baskets of goodies. There's the handsome man with the kind eyes, humorous spirit and gentle generous heart sitting by the Christmas tree holding his hand out to... her.

Me. Yes, holding it out to me.

And there's me, looking at all of them. Taking them all in. Enjoying every moment. And there's the Christmas card on the shelf with the picture of my boss that reminds me I have a job. A great job. And how grateful I am to get paid to do what I love.

There's music, and animals and dancing...

And there's this column. This column that I have the privledge to write. This column that reminds me every day that I am not and never have been alone in the making of my puzzle.

Thank you for sharing your puzzles with me. I hope your picture is one of peace.

And, if not, if it's still a bit lost... keep building it.

Don Helverson December 26, 2011 at 08:35 AM
Sounds like it's time for a new adjective: Instead of "Poor, Susan. What's going to happen to her?" we might say, "Lucky Susan, what's going to happen to her next?" Or, instead of "Lucky," we might say, "Amazing" Instead of "Poor, Susan. She tries so hard," we might say, "Amazing Susan, she tries so hard!" Or "Amazing, Susan. And it's finally gotten easier!" "Amazing and lucky Susan!" You're amazing for handling your obstacles with wit, determination, love, and a positive outlook. And you're lucky to have left the tunnel finally. Put on some sun screen now; it's sunny outside.
Mike Szymanski December 26, 2011 at 03:33 PM
How about "Talented Susan"... but then, we'll have lots of people named that who write for Studio City Patch, like "Talented Don," "Talented Marla," "Talented Irene," "Talented Debra," "Talented Karen" etc. etc.
Aaron December 26, 2011 at 04:55 PM
So happy for you, Susan! You're long overdue.
Susan McMartin December 26, 2011 at 05:04 PM
oh, aaron, thank you!! as are you! xo
Susan McMartin December 26, 2011 at 05:04 PM
don, thank you for those incredibly loving words. i will slather on the sun screen, indeed!
John Emerson December 26, 2011 at 05:14 PM
I watched the pieces of your puzzle become a solid beautiful scene in hi def and 3 D! I thought for a moment I heard laughter and glasses clinking.
Susan McMartin December 26, 2011 at 05:25 PM
John, you always make me cry! Thank you for being such a light.
Carol McGovney December 26, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Well said Susan you didn't make lemonade out of your lemons but a grand Lemon Merinque pie... Love to you and your family xo Carol
Marcia Rodd December 26, 2011 at 10:38 PM
So happy for you! Have a wonderful and peaceful 2012. Love, Marcia
Susan McMartin December 27, 2011 at 04:35 AM
thank you so much!
Karen Young December 27, 2011 at 08:40 AM
Inspiring Susan....
elizabeth rose December 27, 2011 at 02:21 PM
We are what we become through our journeys. Every moment, every challenge, every question faced head on with honesty and grace creates who we are. I am proud of you and miss you. A lot. Love Lizzie.
Susan McMartin December 27, 2011 at 04:16 PM
thanks, marcia! xoxo
Susan McMartin December 27, 2011 at 04:16 PM
so are you, karen! happy holidays!


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