Friday, January 24, 2014

I still get sad sometimes, and that's okay.


Photo attribution here.
I spent a lot of my childhood riding in the back seat of a car, watching the road--quietly contemplative. Speeding along the freeway I would watch as the pavement holding us would silently split into two lanes--one with a brand new destination. We'd cruise along, parallel with the new road. Two that had been made from one. I'd watch as the new road rose or sank, then took its own turn and silently peeled away from us and disappeared from my view. I'd wonder then for a moment where that road went and how it could disappear, so smooth and silent. When I think about The Mr. now, I think about the roads. One road split into two, silently going their own ways.

When I first got back into classes here in Hawaii I was completely immersed in the healing that comes with creativity. Particularly there was a drawing class that took all the time, attention and focus I could afford it. I loved it. My professor was excellent in pointing out where I was going wrong and teaching me how to fix it. I marveled at the return I got on my artistic investment over those few short months.

In this class an interesting thing would sometimes happen. I'd be so lost in trying to capture the core shadow on the sphere I was drawing that I probably morphed into a full on mouth breather and didn't even know it. The kind of concentration it takes when you are first learning this stuff is nigh unto Jedi Master in training concentration. I'd be full on in the throws of mastering the force of my charcoal pencil when all of a sudden, a still frame from my former life would flash through the feature film of Frowfrow Goes Back to College and Loves It. It was such an unexpected juxtaposition that the first time it happened it almost knocked me over--it was so dizzyingly disorienting.

When I take stock of my life, the things I want to be and the things I've accomplished, the phrase, "divorced" inevitably filters through. Every time it does my brain does a double take. No, I'm not divorced. I'm not the type. I wouldn't let that happen to me. I'm not stupid enough to marry someone I would have to divorce. I wouldn't break that promise to God.

And yet, I did.

I am.

I can't take it back or unmake the decisions that brought me to and through that. I can't know better in time to not make those mistakes. I know God doesn't hold it against me, but I still can't help feeling like I can't ever get my slate completely clean.

I'm divorced.

In my memory bank there's ring, a proposal, a wedding day and a wedding night. There's a family ward I attended and an apartment I decorated. There are plans I tried to make and promises broken. There's the first times and the last times, the endless efforts of making it work, the cruel things that can never be undone and the way it unrelentingly would not renege until my soul was lying motionless on the floor, bereft of any ideas for what I could try next. There's a foundation--laid and abandoned.

I'm divorced.

And now I'm in my second chance at life, and it's a nearly surreal life at that. I put an ocean between myself and anything I'd ever known. I indulge every creative impulse that flits through my mind. I spent an hour today lying on a private, aqua beach reading for pleasure. I sleep in on Sunday, go out on weekends, skinny dip in January and have nothing I can logically complain about in this freshly constructed world I've built for myself. But there is always this part of me that is somberly saying, No, you don't understand. You don't know what it was like. 

I'm divorced.

I was married. I took a full on face dive leap of faith into the tea cup of a quick marriage. I make my conscious efforts to move ahead, to live in the present, to embrace the now, to learn from my mistakes and to cultivate gratitude, forgiveness and love--but I will never not be divorced.

That makes me sad.

So please, when you meet someone who has been through it, withhold judgement for a moment or two. Give the person space to be who they are--now. Let the divorced people you meet know that it's okay to be okay, that they are not categorically dismissed because of life experiences, and that life is full of tough choices. None of us get out unscathed. There's a unity to be had in sharing our stories, regardless of the source of the scar.

4 comments:

  1. Your blog has slowly and continually changed the way I look at people who have been divorced. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I think I have been judgmental in the past. When I hear about a young couple getting divorced, I never said it out loud, but there's a part of me that thought, "Come on, guys. Why didn't you just try a little HARDER?" But reading your blog is changing that. I'm beginning to recognize that I don't know anyone's story. I can't see into anyone's experience. But it's hard enough without my judgment. I shouldn't wait for people to justify their struggles before I care about them. Thank you for helping me make those changes in my thinking. I'm grateful for your courage in sharing your experiences. They're helping more people than you know.

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    1. The funny thing is, Liz, I absolutely was that way, and still I struggle with not jumping to conclusions. I think that's why it's hard not to be hard on myself sometimes. I have/had so much faith in the idea that God can heal anything and if we do our part He will take care of the rest. I think in many cases couples come to a place where maturity and perseverance, perspective, repentance, therapy and reconceptualization could save their marriage. The problem is that if they haven't both, individually cultivated those necessary traits before arriving at that moment, or at least some solid adaptation/conflict resolution skills, it's just not enough. It doesn't do any good if one spouse can do it and the other can't, they both have to be capable of pulling it out of themselves. God helps, but He can only do so much with us of we haven't put in the work ahead of time to develop the skills. This is one of many, many reasons I favor a focus on cultivating maturity, life skills, self awareness and life experience before we get married.

      Thanks for your comments. They do me a lot of good. <3

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  2. You put exactly what I feel into perfect words. Thank you.

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    1. It's nice to know I'm not the only one. <3

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