While I’m tempted to indulge my flesh and say something like, “well, there’s ten years down the drain”, I’m compelled to dig much deeper. After ten years of marriage do I feel great loss for unfulfilled dreams, words spoken and unspoken, and loving actions not reciprocated? Absolutely.
Today I’m in a fog of numbness, pain, anger and even some relief as my wife informed me of her plans to file for a divorce.
While it has been a difficult couple of years including separation and counseling, this is never what I wanted or planned. I’ve always though that everything is worth working through, right? I don’t give up on ANYTHING. How did it come to this?
I am ten years older. How can I even begin to imagine starting all over again? I have reason to be bitter about this, and I’m sure those thoughts will induce moments of strong emotions of pain, anger and resentment. And I sincerely hope those moments will go as quickly as they come.
While tomorrow I might feel differently, and believe me when I say I’ve cried immeasurable tears leading to this moment, I can honestly say the ten years weren’t wasted.
Right now, in this moment of raw, numbing reality, I am leaning into these hope-filled truths which I intend on coming back to when I want to run and hide in a dungeon of resentment, or blow something up, literally.
Even after ten years, I can honestly say:
No tears have been wasted.
No memories have been wasted.
No lessons unlearned.
Love, forgiveness and hope were not wasted, even if I feel it has not been reciprocated.
I could drive myself crazy thinking about what could’ve been different or if I married the wrong person in the first place. I certainly could’ve seen the signs early on, but love is blind, they say. In this moment, I feel no regrets for what may seem like wasted years. Do I have immense pain for the loss of relationship and broken promises? No doubt. But I can say wholeheartedly, I have done everything I could to desperately keep this marriage together, and nothing has been wasted.
Why do I write these thoughts in such a moment of grief and loss? Because I don’t want to lose sight of what I’m feeling in this moment of peace. I know I will have reason to be hurt, lonely, and angry, but I want to remember this moment of hopefulness in the wake of devastating circumstances. I believe some of the best writings come from places of deep struggle. Truth comes from pain and suffering begets a new kind of strength. When hope seems lost there is a way to cultivate a new kind of hope unknown to those who never have to walk this road.
As for now, I feel like the ancient king that sobbed and prayed for his son to be healed and relieved of his disease and suffering. When the son died, the king arose from his place of grief, washed up and moved forward. Did he have no more tears to cry or had he already mourned the loss of his son and accepted the reality of what was to come? One can always hope and pray for a miracle, but sometimes our hearts are already being prepared for the great departing. We can contend and pray and hope with all of our energy that circumstances will change, that our loved one would be healed, or our relationship could be brought back to life. But perhaps the process of healing begins when we realize there’s nothing more we can do in our own strength.
For now, I hope and hold fast to the belief that nothing good has been wasted.
I recently came across this quote which helps to clearly articulate and summarize this space in my journey.
“Sometimes people walk away from love because it is so beautiful that it terrifies them. Sometimes they leave because the connection shines a bright light on their dark places and they are not ready to work them through. Sometimes they run away because they are not developmentally prepared to merge with another- they have more individuation work to do first. Sometimes they take off because love is not a priority in their lives- they have another path and purpose to walk first. Sometimes they end it because they prefer a relationship that is more practical than conscious, one that does not threaten the ways that they organize reality. Because so many of us carry shame, we have a tendency to personalize love’s leavings, triggered by the rejection and feelings of abandonment. But this is not always true. Sometimes it has nothing to do with us. Sometimes the one who leaves is just not ready to hold it safe. Sometimes they know something we don’t- they know their limits at that moment in time. Real love is no easy path- readiness is everything. May we grieve loss without personalizing it. May we learn to love ourselves in the absence of the lover.”
― Jeff Brown