Divorce. I can’t lie and say I didn’t know it was coming.
For years we were unhappy and the writing was on the wall (and literally in the mailbox but that story is for another time).
After 35 years with the same guy, no matter how much I thought I was prepared, I was not. My identity was tied up in being a wife to him. I was stable in my life, despite it being unhappy. And change is scary and hard and brings with it, in this case, so many things I did not ever say I wanted.
Like, how are am I going to pay your bills now? And where am I going to live? Who gets the furniture? Where will our family congregate for Thanksgiving?
Everything I had built all these years was coming undone. Unraveling like when pulling a thread. Or tumbling down like a tower of cans built with the kids when they were little and knocked down to watch it all fall.
I have been on this journey four years now, long enough to have some distance and to be well within the re-building cycle. We all come to that at different times. Mine has been a long journey, maybe I’m a slow learner.
But I also had lots of other change tossed in, which is not unique to 50-somethings: my mom moved to independent living in another state; my kids left for college and moved to another region in the country; I experienced menopause. Each of those changes is a story to itself but for the sake of time, let’s just say they happened. Oh, and we sold the house—all the comfort of the family home, gone.
In a sense, there is some humor here because, darn it, it all happened at one time!
Does God have a disturbing sense of humor?
Brought to my knees, I have learned that all things fall away to allow new things to be born.
In The Guest House, Rumi says:
“Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.”
Now, it seems that people entering this new territory are approaching me.
For I’ve survived.
I want to throw out a life vest to those going through this experience. Through a combination of my spiritual studies and the knocks of life, I know this much is true: we are all here to help one another. I want to lend my empathy and my story, which I hope will normalize the story of others.
It was not an easy journey but it did not kill me.
I did not only survive, I am thriving.
I was broken open in ways that taught me deeper compassion and ultimately, love, for myself and others, for as the heart breaks, it also expands to allow more love in and more love out.
I became strong and courageous enough to count on only me, glorious, strong, wonderful me!
I found great supporters, including friends and therapists, and came out of this ready to find my new “delight.”
In the grand scheme of things I am a very lucky woman. I am friends with my ex. I adore my kids and my mom and they me. Though far away, we stay close thanks to technology and deep connections of the heart. I’ve learned that “things” are overrated.
And, I have found that the ground beneath my feet really does exist, solid and unwavering.
It was there all the time.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Yaisa Nio / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Wikimedia Commons