[I read recently that we can only really write about things that have hurt us after the pain has taught us ... that writing while the middle of your real time hurt is a call for help, and writing after sitting with the pain is more of a teacher. For a very long time now, I've wondered about writing about my divorce ... I've wondered when the time would be right. I've decided that there is actually NO right time. So. I think I'm going to stick my toe into the water. Dip a little in here and there, and hope that the pain that divorce and the hegira back to myself helps ... somehow.]
I can pinpoint one specific night that I knew my marriage was truly over. My son was asleep in bed, and his dad and I were going round for round in the kitchen. The soft light above the oven seemed harsh, the cars passing on the street seemed too loud, and I couldn't seem to catch my breath.
I couldn't answer the devastating questions he was asking - questions he had every right to ask. His computer was open on the table, and a bulleted list of discussion points sat before him. Talking points. When a foundation is quaking, crumbling, on fire - it's natural to run to the root of the problem.
Our first inclination is triage. Our first inclination is to throw cold water on the fire, dab at the flowing blood with gauze, and to cry out for help.
And I couldn't help him. All I had for him was apologies that did nothing to fill the sudden hole in his heart.
Liz Gilbert says to tell the truth. I have it triple underlined in the book she wrote: Tell the truth, tell the truth, tell the truth.
Even if you heart breaks, and your voice shakes. You speak the truth.
Glennon Doyle says that the truth is the only thing you're left with (and also that pain is a traveling professor, waiting to teach us how to rise).
I couldn't verbalize to him that he was a good man, a good dad, a good person, but that he just wasn't the one for me. I couldn't verbalize to him that every day felt like one more brick fell on my chest and soon, my breathing would just stop and
I was tired of gasping.
So I had to leave.
That night was unequivocally the most painful night of our entire divorce. Exhausted by the earthquake of pain shaking my heart, I walked to bed that night and felt like my entire world was on fire. Everything was too loud, too bright, too close, and too much. It felt like a plane was crashing, we were losing altitude, and I had put a mask on everyone else first before myself. I just couldn't catch my breath.
My mom and I were talking tonight and she told me, "Becky. You don't have to advertise a fire. People will just come to help."
And isn't that just so incredibly true? When you're sitting with your broken heart, and when you're trying to listen to what the pain is teaching you, people come. People come to sit with you.
JFK once said, "When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” And Glennon? My spirit animal? She says that crisis literally means "to sift".
And that night? I was in pure crisis mode. I clung to the belief that eventually, I would sift through all of the broken, and eventually, I'd be able to piece it all back together again into something that was whole.
I shut off the light, and turned on my closet light - I've been leaving my closet light on since I was in second grade. I crawled into bed, pulled the covers clear up to my chin, and I took the deepest breath I could. I sucked in air until my lungs hurt.
And then I slowly exhaled.
There aren't many people that are thankful for the night. There aren't very many people that welcome the shroud of darkness that comes when the sun sinks behind the horizon. But our growth often doesn't happen in the sunlight. Often, it happens under the comforting covers, and the dim light from our closet casting shadows on our walls.
It's nights like these when we bow our heads down low, and we pray that the holes we leave in our wake will eventually sprout roots. That trees will grow, leafing out over a tomorrow that we haven't even dreamed about yet.
And we pray that joy will come for us in the morning.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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