It'd been nearly 10 years since I met up with my friend from the small, informal playgroup in which we were both members when our children were babes. Long ago she'd moved to Western North Carolina. When I vacationed in Asheville last summer, we shared a meal downtown. Time had passed, gray peeked through our locks and lines had crept from the corners of our eyes. Our children were grown now, one of hers had jumped from the nest and the other was perched on the edge. A far cry from the diaper swaddled, round-bellied children who lolled about on the floor as their female parents dissected our roles as mothers, wives, women, politics, religion...no topics were left un-discussed by this special, treasured, diverse group who met twice a month in each others' living rooms.
I told my old friend the news of my marriage ending and she began a refrain: "That SUCKS! That SUCKS! That. Just. SUCKS!" She repeated it several times during the download of current events portion of our catchup. I winced each time she said it. I knew it came from a place of love and compassion. She grieved for me, her friend. She knew how I'd left one marriage, bundled my hopes and then entered another almost a decade later. It wasn't supposed to turn out to be this way....Or was it?
After we finished our lunches and hugged each other goodbye I got in touch with the discomfort her words summoned within me. It was my Life. And it didn't and it doesn't suck. Was I disappointed? Hell, yes! I'd lost something that I'd expected. Something Big. But, my Life, despite "the current condition" didn't and doesn't suck. The experience and the Gift of Life is just too precious to let our conditions, many of which we create, mar our perspective--the total picture of The Goodness. The Joy. The Hope. And, The Blessings of Living. They exist, in Real Time amid what we label as heartache, frustrations and our loss of what we expected....
Journaling yesterday morning, I tried to parse out these feelings once again and decided to come here, vulnerable, open, and share them with you. It was here and on the social media venue of Facebook, where "The Journey with Grace" is also posted, that many readers were extremely kind, generous and gracious, expressing in the comments on both online sites that they were "sorry" when I humbly and authentically shared the news of Divorce 2.0. Again, I knew, I know, the words, the sentiments of "sorry," were and are a sincere, heart-felt attempt from dear, compassionate people grasping for intangible words to communicate that they wished things had turned out differently for me.
But...Sorry? No, I am not. I am not because I know and I see the Great Divine Scheme in how Life works. This doesn't don me with some magical power that others do not have. There are others who also see their lives this way. It is in the teachings of the ancients and the great teachers of the 19th century, which formed New Thought. But our culture conditions us otherwise. To Blame. To Pity. To proclaim "Woe is Me." Have I had my moments of sorry or woe-ing me? Oh. Yeah. I've hosted a number of pity parties complete with a band. (Grief is Good. It is Real. It is Normal. It is Necessary.) But then I snapped out of it. I took the handlebars and not the sidecar seat because I know that I am the author of my Life. It, this Life, does not happen to me or others at random. I am not at the mercy and control of a Sky God who wishes me harm and unhappiness. I am a co-creator in this Life of mine. And when my choices are "less than optimal," as I choose to call them, I have the opportunity to mine the Gold in them. And there is Gold. There is Gold in all of Life. I've found Gold in Autism. I have found Gold in Job Loss. I have found Gold in Grief. And I have found Gold in Divorce. (I even believe there is Gold in cancer. Surely you've heard the stories of the jewels found?) I know with all of my heart that I could not have reached this destination of Now and gained the awareness of past influences on my choices without the mining, without plunging to the depths that I have in my Life. And, that I would not reach the Now of tomorrows had I of not gone down deep and learned what I needed to learn. Now the smart thing is to make sure I pave a path with that Gold that directs me to wiser choices that bring me less pain going forward. But it takes a lot more mining.
I've got perpetual helmet hair these days because of all this mining. But, I've no regret for the hard work of shoveling before me.
Sorry? No. GrateFULLness.
Photo: Leisa A. Hammett, my new patio garden. "Begin Again" stone from my all-time favorite catalog, Isabella.