lola guerrero

50-something empty-nest-search-for-God-and-happiness with more than a dash of humor

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Plan B


There’s this production company called
Plan B. It’s got a catchy name. I like it.

Sometimes I hear let’s do Plan A and if that doesn’t
work, let’s skip to Plan B.

Is there a Plan C? I want to say No, it doesn’t exist.
Just PLAN on going back to bed and call it a day.

When I was in my 20s, I was busy planning while
my life was unfolding in front of my eyes. I had no plans
of having a baby or getting married. Of enrolling with
AETNA medical plan, buying a split level home, and getting life insurance. Being sleep deprived and having a Costco card.

All the above was God’s Plan A  not mine.

My Plan A was absolutely no babies and no husband
until I built my very own thriving litigation practice
downtown with a corner office facing the water.  My
wardrobe consist of Prada suits, shoes, and purses.
The law firm never came to fruition nor did the Prada suits.

Now at 50-something, I turn the pages of yesterday.
Knowing what I know now, God’s Plan A for me was just
right. I had the best time. I enjoyed my boys. They filled me up.
I had peace in my heart as a stay home mom.
I laughed with them and cried.  I remember crying along with
Ralph inside the clinic  as he was getting 14  stitches on his right leg.
He was 10 years old. Ouch!

I know I couldn’t keep up a demanding career plus raise outstanding
citizens of the U.S. of A.  When I learned I was pregnant there was no back door. I can say this–I can’t imagine life without them. I love them to pieces.

A voice calls out “Lola, what now? The boys are grown and live so far away that it seems they are at the North Pole.”

I respond to no one. “Don’t you think I know that? They live so far! Is it something I said?”

My mind play tricks on me as I rinse the morning  dishes.

My head is up. I force a smile and my eyes look
straight ahead.  My mantra everyday is
I say it 20 times in the morning. By noon, I have  jolts of doubts that sound like this:
Oh . . . I don’t know. God is moving real slow about this. Things should
have happened by now. I better if I do it myself.
I try to open doors and they won’t open.
I crawl to a basement window. It has bars.
I meditate, pray, fast, journal, go to church to light
candles. I’m gentle and kind to my ailing relatives.
I give to our local  food bank. I pay my taxes on time.
I’m an outstanding citizen.
I’m a saint of the Pacific Northwest.
Still . . . dense fog lingers around me, what’s the deal-io here?

I go back to my mantra, REMAIN OPEN. GOD HAS

Turn back the pages of your yesterday.  What was your Plan A?
Let’s pray.

Dear God, I know you can hear me. Thank you for my brain cells
and voice to call out and say, “REMAIN OPEN. GOD HAS AWESOME PLANS FOR ME.”

I desire to do GOOD on this planet. If I’m going to take up space,
let it be with excitement and energy that has my name on it.
Bless me with confidence and cast out doubts. Give me a sign
that your are for me–with me and not against me.  Amen.


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Judging George

When someone you love suddenly dies
have you ever laughed? And yelled FINALLY!

When Uncle George died May 3,
I did that. You might say, “That is mean!”
In Filipino culture, you would also add, “Let me slap you!”

If you met George, you would have done the
same thing. Interestingly, George’s wife,  Lucy,
of 40 years asked if I would
like to make a speech about Uncle George.
Oh Lord, really?

In my office, I started to write about what was benevolent about
this man and what was positive about this “being” who lived to be 98 years old.

I couldn’t think of anything. I could hear his voice saying to me,
“I fell in love with your aunt the minute I saw her.”
If I could only turn back the clock, I wish I had had the nerve to tell him, “Yes, you did fall in love with her, you pompous son of a gun, you.
And, she carried you financially on her back all these years.”

Aunt Lucy raised me from the beginning. In many ways she is my
second mom. I wanted to protect her from this maniac, but I couldn’t. Her independent spirit and ambitious self went on a holiday never to
return when she married this man I had to call uncle.

Sitting in my office I hear the voice of the Holy Spirit,
“You have nothing to write because you are busy judging George.
The fact is he is dead and in his casket. Put yourself in your
aunt’s shoes and see what you come up with.”

I make a list of what Aunt Lucy saw in George. I can only come up
with three guesses.

1. Perhaps it was the way he moved. He had a swagger that I failed to notice.

2. Maybe he looked at her a certain way when no one was around.

3. Or, George brought out the best in her or made jokes only she could understand. Perhaps, they had a connection that can’t be explained.

We judge all the time. We wear our judgments like clothes and rub them into our skin like SPF lotion.

I judge my friends, relatives, the cashier at Safeway, and the driver in front of  me . . . pretty much everyone.

How to change this way of being? For me, I try to be present and listen. I hear the Holy Spirit say, “Listen, you are not perfect either. Put yourself in their shoes.”

Thinking about being in someone’s shoes is the beginning of  cultivating compassion.

I have compassion and respect Aunt Lucy. She made decisions
according to her liking and what worked for her. I couldn’t fix her
even if I tried.

Maybe George was her George Clooney.

Dear God,
I have come along way from my judging days. With your counsel
I can capture thoughts that don’t serve me or my surroundings.

Thank you for helping me be present so I can listen to your voice
of wisdom.

Instead of filling my head with judgments, I observe. I see ladies walking around in their summer dresses, men wearing
nothing but shorts and tattoos, and kids playing in the sand.
I see that summer is officially here! Thank you for today. Amen


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What Will The Neighbors Think

When I was in college, I had a two-door mustang
that had 110,000 miles on it. It was old.
One window had to be pushed down manually and
the defroster didn’t work. When I made turns,
it would stop. Oh the days of going to college,
having two jobs, and still no money to get
my car fixed. Poor me.

Fast forward to 30 years later.

My husband brings home a car and asks
if I want to go for a ride. I never turn down
an invitation for a ride because maybe, just
maybe, dinner is included.
I see the car and he asks,
“Do you like it?”
Hmm . . . is he joking? It’s a white Mercedes.
What’s not to like?
“You can test drive it and if you like it, I will buy it.”
Lucky me.

At first, I hesitated about driving around in a new Mercedes.
I wondered What will the neighbors think?
Will they say, “Who does she think she is?”
Do I deserve a new car?
Lola, stop the madness in your little head!

The voices didn’t stop. I don’t deserve a car
that shines and has a working defroster.
I’m not worthy of a car that make turns and
doesn’t stop in the middle of the turn.
It has AC and only 500 miles on it.
I seem to think it is a bad thing to own a car that is perfect and
has that new car smell.
Such depleting thoughts.

I don’t give myself permission to receive all that God has in store for me.

Why can’t I pat myself on the back and say
“Yes, I’m a wonderful person that gives and gives
to my mom and aunts that need a rides to the bank or to
Pho Le’s Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine to buy noodles and
frozen banana leaves. I smile at my favorite barista everyday.
I text my BF everyday and ask if she got out of bed. I pray all the time.
I love my husband and boys. I give to to the church.
I give to the universe, but when it gives back to me
I block it. I get in my own way.

What has changed for me is reading books on being the
best you can be, how to love yourself, and be happy.
No kidding. People write about this stuff. I have books by
M. Williamson, Louise Hay, and Sanaya Roman, to name a few.

My eyes are now open. When I give my time or money to
church or school, the universe gives back to me more
than I expected. It’s a sweet deal.

After a year of driving in a cute car I have no
no concern about “what will the neighbors think.”
I’m sure they would love to have a car like mine too!
I know I’m worth it.

Do you recall buying something and
saying in your head, “Oh, I don’t know. I’m not
worthy.” Share it with me.

Dear God,
Thank you for my four wheels. Thank you for my husband and
boys . . . they are healthy and thriving. Thank you for my grandson.
He is as cute as my car and I can’t wait to see him again.
Open my eyes everyday so I can see what you are doing with
my life. Always nudge me and remind me that when I give
love and kindness to the universe, it comes back to me ten times.



Wendy’s and Baskin and Robbins

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“No crying,” I say.

I am talking to myself.
It’s August 7, 2013, 10:30 a.m. I drop my son Ralph off
at the airport. He is leaving on a jet plane and I don’t
know when he will be back. I hate to see him leave.
That day, a part of me goes with him to New York.
There, he will chase his dream of getting into films and being independent.
He tells me, “Mom, I love the vibe of New York.”
“Well, of course you do, dear. You are 24 years old.”

On the freeway, I drive straight to Wendy’s.
I order the triple bypass meal:
A triple cheese burger with two pieces of bacon,
lettuce, mustard, onions, large fries, and
large diet coke.
After that, I drive across the street to Baskin-Robbins
to order three giant scoops of chocolate chip mint on
a waffle cone. I want to fill the gap in my heart.

Food makes everything nice and will make
me feel good, right? I end up with a stomach ache.
I am in bed by noon!

My favorite line from the play August: Osage County
goes like this:
“Thank God we can’t tell the future. We’d never
get out of bed.”
I love that line! If I knew my boys would head to
careers in New York and
Manila, I would have stayed
under the covers.

Do you recall dropping off your young adult
son or daughter at the airport to start college
or move to a new city or country? What did you
do? Did you cry or jump for joy?
Share it with me.

Let’s pray.

Dear God,
Thank you for our children. The years
of raising them went by quickly. Next thing you know
we are taking them to the airport or driving them to
their college of choice. Help me and the rest of
the moms out there to LET GO of our offspring
and with your guidance may they find what they
are looking for. Amen.