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  • Writer's pictureThe Hamilton Post

Problems in Paradise

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

by Lisa Hamilton

One morning I received news that turned my life upside-down like a spilled bowl of Cheerios.

Trying to clean it up/ or recover the loss was virtually impossible. Like squished Cheerios, my beautiful life suddenly turned into one disastrous irreparable mess. After weeks of yelling, crying, cussing, and overeating I just wanted a break. I needed to go somewhere, for that matter anywhere.

One way ticket to Hawaii? No, a romantic vaca alone would be humiliating.

All day spa? Absolutely not, how could I relax, when I just wanted to scream

An all day extravaganza shopping spree? Hit the nail on the head. Bingo,

Fashion Island, Newport Beach, the only and obvious choice

My shopping strategy was this: start at the beginning and buy your way to the end. The thought of it, was already releasing endorphins.

Parking my car at the north end of the mall I decided Nordstrom would be

my starting point working my way to Steve Madison shoes. My plan was fool proof.

Who wouldn’t snap out of depression seeing this plethora of purchasing extravaganza?

First stop Starbucks. “Yes, I’ll take a short double breve latte, please,”

Enthusiastically placed my order, I added caffeine to my already endorphin high- the perfect cocktail. I was ready for the quest.

Next stop Nordstrom:

Shoes? Why not? Boots better yet. Pulling the perfect pair off the display, without flipping it over looking at the price, I confidently commanded, "size 9 please." Beautiful! Over the knee black suede boots. Handing the assistant my card, I simply stated, “I’ll take these.”

This was fantastic! Little dopamine rush from achieving a goal. On to the next store.


Absolutely. Picking out a black leather jacket to match my newly acquired boots was a given.

“I’lll take this please,” handing the gentlemen my card.

Victoria Secret.

Why not? How about a black bra to match my black boots and black jacket? Not that anyone would ever really know I was wearing a black bra, but I would. Again I tried it on, tore off the price tag, paid for it and walked out.

Shop after shop I continued, until even I was retailed out. What next I thought?

The Montage, Laguna Beach.

Valeting my car, walking in the lobby, I beelined to the bar. “My I see the wine list, please.”

Scanning over the selections, I noticed the Rombrauer Chardonnay $23/glass. “Okay,” I thought, “that’s a little steep, but today is a very special day.” I reasoned. Handing the bartender my card," I’ll take a glass please."

Strolling on the path, the moment I took my first sip, I burst out crying, suddenly feeling all my returning emotions.

“God, why did this happen to me!” sipping the chardonnay crying some more. “I have lost everything,” suddenly losing my very expensive endorphin high.

Crying, complaining, and still sipping my chardonnay, I asked God again, “What am I going to do? My life is ruined!”

Then the gentle quiet Voice spoke “Lisa, where are you right now?

“Well, In laguna beach.”

Exactly. What have you been doing all day?”


“Exactly. So you can afford to shop?”

“Well, yes.”

“How did you get here?,” God’s gentle voice asked.

“I drove a car,” I responded.

Exactly. Are you walking?”

Suddenly seeing pictures of war veterans in wheelchairs, “Yes, I am walking.”

Exactly. Can you see where you are going?”

Remembering I almost lost my eyesight from smallpox, I responded,

“Yes, God I can see.”

“Exactly,” was His response.

“What are you drinking?” He questioned.

“Well, a $23 glass of wine,” I confessed.

Exactly. So you have enough money to buy wine, and I suppose food if you needed it.”

I got His point. I live in a free country. I had limbs, food, sight, transportation, health, things that many people don’t have.

“Lisa, “ God spoke consoling me “if you have all of these things, if you live in this country, then you live in paradise. So I ask you, do you really have any problems?”

I was convicted. No matter what I lost, I could still walk, see, talk, and breathe in this beautiful country. One day, my losses would be restored.

Driving up the coast, with the car I had, with the eyesight I almost lost, I parked at Fashion Island, and proceeded to return the items I purchased with the money I had, walking store to store with the legs I had.

I kept the black bra as a reminder I had problems in paradise, and my life was blessed.


Lisa Hamilton/ The Hamilton Post

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