Three years ago this month I leapt madly toward independence. It was like jumping out of a tenth floor window of a burning building. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter if there is something waiting to break your fall. Where you are is so bad, you have to take that leap of faith.
Asking for a divorce was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I tortured myself with self-doubt. What if I was wrong? What if he was right, and we were supposed to stay together? What if the separation destroyed our kids?
What if I went through all the pain of the separation and then ended up with someone else exactly like the one I left?
What if I ended up ALONE? I couldn’t imagine a fate worse than being alone.
I found a dead Monarch butterfly on my back patio around that time. I saved it, wrapped in tissue in a Premier Jewelry box. Whenever I was tempted to call my ex, I’d pull the box out. I’d remind myself that if I stayed in my marriage, my soul would be as dead as that little butterfly.
Three years later, I look back on the woman I was like she’s a character in a book I read. Her grief is a distant memory, more like something I’ve watched on TV than lived firsthand.
Her anger and bitterness a distasteful chapter in a book I never want to read again.
I’m thankful for my beautiful children, who worried about me and took care of me as much as I took care of them. We grieved together. For a family lost. A husband and father absent. For what could have been. And never was.
As I write these words, tears pour down my cheeks. A reminder that maybe the pain isn’t as distant as I thought.
I’m thankful for my friends who remind me of Jeremiah 40:31. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
My friends stood next to me. They soared with me when I could. They ran with me when I couldn’t. They walked with me when that’s all I had left.
A couple of times in the last few months, I’ve thought to myself, I love being single. Or, I like being single more than I ever liked being married. It’s taken most of the three years to get to this point.
Being alone doesn’t scare me anymore. I know there will always be people in my life. Family to love. Friends to lean on. Boys to play with.
It takes time to get to this place. And it’s a good place.
Maybe it’s because I’m in this place that Nature Boy finally found me.
Nature Boy is my biggest surprise. He drifts in and out of my life like an unanchored boat. When he’s around, he brings peace and stillness. He soothes my soul. As I soothe his.
Five years before I met him, I pointed out his sailboat to my photographer sister. She snapped the pic and it’s been hanging in my office ever since. From my desk, if I look left, there’s a picture of Sweetness. If I look right, there’s a picture of Nature Boy’s sailboat.
Serendipity? Fate? Whatever brought Nature Boy to me now, I’m in a good place to enjoy it. Enjoy him.
Question: Have you declared your independence yet? Or are you happily dependent?