Thursday, November 18, 2010

Shadows and Smoke

I've been reflecting lately on how truly blessed I am.

Five months ago, I thought I'd never be able to pick myself up off the floor.  I hated being out in public for fear that everyone could see just how truly flawed I was.  My husband didn't want me, so surely there was something wrong with me, I thought.  I hated seeing other women wearing their wedding bands.  I hated it especially if they were moms, out with their husbands and children.  I felt like I had a blinking light hanging over my head with the word "FAILURE" that everyone could see and judge me for it.  And yet as much as I hated being out in public, I hated being at home even more, surrounded by memories of everything that my life had once been.  I felt so alienated from my friends; in fact many of them stopped talking to me.  I began to see who was rock solid and who was fair weather.  Some of them just didn't know what to say.  I was miserable and alone.

My life was over as I knew it.

I started to attend a new church and joined a Life Recovery class there and I signed up for DivorceCare, a support group for divorced and separated people.  With the help of these new friends and love from one of the most unlikeliest of places, I began to stir to life again.  I hated church growing up as a kid, and yet I found myself wanting to go back each week to listen and be surrounded by others who felt just as broken as I was.  I felt safe.  I felt like I could finally be me.  I finally felt like I deserved to be loved by myself, God, and other people.  I felt like I had a home in this church.

But still I felt like my life was over.

I mourned for the loss of my best friend, for the failure my marriage was, and for the dreams we'd shared.  I mourned the fact that Sybilla would be an only child, I mourned for the future that was now shadows and smoke.  I wondered what to do with my wedding dress and all the wedding memorabilia.  I have to laugh at how silly that sounds; I was so genuinely worried about what would happen to my damn wedding dress that it kept me up at night!

Slowly, the spark in my heart flared to life and a fire began to grow.

I cried all the tears I had.  I screamed all the obscenities I knew.  I poured out my frustration, loneliness, and brokenness onto reams of paper.  I sang every song I knew, letting music do the talking for my hurting soul.  Every morning and night, I looked myself in the eye in the mirror, telling myself it would be ok, only occasionally believing it.  I leaned heavily on friends as much they let me.  I prayed every night and morning and rejoiced in completing the simplest of tasks.

"I'm still alive," I told myself fiercely.  "I'm still here, and I'm still alive."

After five months of personal and couples counseling, turning the lens onto myself, gaining perspective, and learning to accept my faith and love myself for what they are, I have climbed beyond the treeline and am able to see the vista around me.  I am nowhere near the top of the mountain, but I can see it without the trees obscuring my view.

I heard a piano song last night that resonated with everything I'd been feeling.  It made me wistful and hopeful all in one.  The song was called "Shadows of Someone I'll Never Be."  I understand now that the shadows of the people we will never be are not always good ones.  Sometimes it's good to acknowledge the bad shadows of one's self and to let them go.  I mourned for my future as we once imagined it.  But now Michael and I are imagining a new one, one that's more loving and kind.  I mourned our relationship, but now I revel in what we are building anew.  I am grateful for this chance at starting over, and grateful for the lessons I have learned.  Even if Michael and I were not reconciling, I'd still feel blessed.

My life as I knew it WAS over.  But where one life ended, another came to take it's place, one that I look forward to living. 

It's a good life!


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