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 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.
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.
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 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.