It feels good to realize that I’ve been choosing my life for all these years.
In 2000 I chose to follow Rev Moon’s direction to go to Korea. Before that I chose to sign our family up for the National Messiah mission. We got assigned to Portugal. It was there I chose to take a teacher training course which certified me to teach English as a second language. That came in very handy later on. In Portugal we understood the suffering course that Rev Moon always talks about, and we each gained something infinitely beautiful to take with us when we left. Thank you, Portugal!
Before Portugal we chose to go back to my hometown in Tampa Florida, where we bought our very first home and where Emilie got introduced to my family. Thank you, Rev Moon, Tampa, and all the Gatlins.
After 4 years in Portugal I chose to leave and followed Emilie to Korea, where she had decided to go to middle school. Jean followed close behind. In Korea I chose the university I wanted to teach at, and after a very intense interview I got the job, much to my surprise, and loved every day there. I chose to create The Coffee Morning as a way to follow up on WFWP’s investment in bringing women from east and west together. After being elected president, I chose to delegate some of the leadership, which was not an easy thing for me to do and taught me some invaluable lessons. Thank you Peter Drucker for all the management advice, and all the IWK sisters for keeping the dream going.
After renting for a few years, Jean and I chose a lovely apartment in Seoul to buy, and after a short period of panicked buyer’s remorse I fell head over heels in love with it. We chose to make it truly our own by adding a solarium, hidden storage under the floor, and a raised platform for our bed which doubled our storage space. Thanks, Jean, for seeing the potential, and for being so handy, and thank you Korea for the best years of my life.
After 12 years in Asia I followed Jean to his hometown in Belgium, where he took up teaching, and I became a part of the Debacker tribe. After 3 years in Liege I chose to leave Europe and come back to the US where I got to live with my mother and make amends before she died. When she chose to turn her care over to my sister, Dana, I chose to leave Florida and fulfill a longstanding desire to live in New York City. Thanks Dana, for taking over, and thanks Mom, for allowing me to go.
First I chose to attend a film-making course at UTS, where I met Chaplain Kone. After meeting him and feeling the call, I chose the CPE internship I wanted in Manhattan, and from there chose the residency in Bridgeport that opened up. Because I had fallen in love with Seaside Park and the Long Island Sound during my work there, I chose to stay in Bridgeport after wandering around the globe for twenty years, and chose a tiny home to buy. It’s the perfect place for me. Thanks Kone, and thanks Eileen and Janet for helping me find a little refuge by the water.
During chaplain training our supervisor suggested we find and attend a 12 step group. Thanks, Adrian. Two years later I am still going, and last year I chose to create a step group within that. That smaller group is my weekly rock and salve, my healing place. I also chose to look for musicians and start a band. Thanks to Craigslist I found Ian and Matt. In the band I chose to call myself a new name, Moxanne, because it’s my intention to reveal more of the Moxie within.
In Bridgeport I also chose to become a regular volunteer after discovering my favorite radio station, WPKN, broadcasting out of UB. From there I met the DJ who hosts ‘Digging in the Dirt,’ and chose to join a community garden where I get my hands in the dirt and get my daily dose of Vitamin D. I’m alive and creative there and making choices everyday. Those little plants are pulling me right along with them into the future. And everybody there knows me as Moxanne 🙂 Thanks Steve and Bob!
I’m happy that my daughter Emilie and I like each other as we do, and share so much. That’s a dream come true. As I told her yesterday, ‘Before she came into my life, I missed her so bad, I missed her so so bad!’ I chose to have a child, and worked hard to make it happen, and she’s my greatest joy. I’ve chosen to let her live her own life, and to finally realize that I’m not the center of it, and that’s OK. She’s opened up to me in ways I never thought possible and only longed for before. Where I’ve chosen to live is only 2 1/2 hours from her, which means I can see her often, but not so often that she wishes I lived farther away. Thanks, my darling daughter.
I chose to join the Unification Church in 1978. Thirty-five years later I chose to leave it. Looking back the one thing I can’t say I chose was my husband. He was chosen for me by Rev. Moon. And it has been a struggle for both of us all the way through. Not that the other choices didn’t involve struggle or pain. They did. Every one of them has a story of challenge of some kind or other. Jean and I both chose to go through with the blessing, but neither one of us was clear about that choice. There’s something strange about that, because marriage is the most important choice a person can make.
Since making the choice to live on separate continents we have grown closer and more empowered, less co-dependent. We still operate like many other families – discussing major decisions, sharing resources, and showing up for important family events. We talk more, and laugh more often. It’s easier now than it’s ever been to get each other’s attention: all we have to do is get comfortable and open Messenger Facetime, and Voila! We’re choosing to keep in touch on a very regular basis, which sometimes means 3 or 4 times a week. Friday is our scheduled call, and we rarely miss it. We talk about anything and everything, only interrupting ourselves to get up and pee or go get something to eat. I often think we should record our conversations and make a radio talk show – they’re THAT interesting! Thanks again, Jean.
So, here I am at what could be called a conclusion, but of course we know it isn’t. I certainly didn’t foresee where each choice would lead me. And I look back and feel grateful for all of them, even the mistakes. I suppose that could be the lead-in to a sequel…Life is full of choices, and there are many more to come.