It was on a Valentine’s weekend almost fourteen years ago that I signed my full name on a couple of dotted lines, making my divorce final. This was just four months after our fifth wedding anniversary– six months after we had separated– and eight months after we had entered marriage counseling. The moment of clarity had finally dropped on a random Wednesday evening… that night, my four year-old son and I slept in a locked master bedroom. (Simply awaiting morning, I did not sleep so much as fret while attempting to rest my wildly spinning, though decidedly calm, mind.)
I had “worked my way out of (my) marriage,” as Dr. Phil is known to say; we had attended marriage counseling steadily for many months, believing things to be changing yet continually being made to feel unsafe in my own home. Again and again, this was the pattern. When the last situation occurred, I felt the ultimate finality. I knew I was unable to continue living in a world of unpredictable extremes, deceit. Please understand– I was an equal partner in the imperfect-state of this young marriage. I could write entire books, I am sure, on the ways in which he and I were wrong for each other and on why we had ever even tried to join together our lives in the first place. Our relationship was out of balance and full of valid mistrust from start to finish.
For me, the way through the weeks and months of strife and confusion, hurt-pride, belated truths, confessions, revelations that followed… was to confide in my heavenly Father while residing in the nature He’d created with love. So much of wholeness, both retained and rebuilt during this time, came from being strengthened (inwardly, spiritually) while walking outside. My grandparents and parents had built houses on/amidst some beautiful, natural acres of woods. The trees on the “upper-field” encircled the land– one house at each end, a driveway and lengthy fenced part for a couple of old horses between. Being there in those tall woods gave me the direct connection to the Lord that my battered heart needed.
I spent hours each week walking from the house to the lower field, beside the small pond and back again. Sometimes, through the woods linking the pond to my parents’ house, though this path infrequently as I tended to lose sight of the house easily…
I used a walk-man (there’s a blast from the past, huh?) and a lone cassette tape during most of these walks. The tape was a recording of a marvelous all-men choir; there were songs and Scripture-readings. Loved, safe, forgiven, surrounded by His wings– truly, I experienced these feelings deeply during these walks. I felt God’s great mercy and grace and unconditional, steadfast love– truly unwavering— for me. I am sure that is why when I read a portion of one of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays “On Nature,” I felt such a love for it. When Emerson wrote of his own deep, pure connection to God through nature– when he experienced a oneness with it in feeling as if the cornstalks were nodding to him in the wind– my spirit echoed the same. This restoration for the soul found in being out in nature is a global thing, I think. Don’t you?
“Recount how far you’ve come. Look back at your life and make a list of every time God has carried you through a season of uncertainty and provided for your needs (Note how David does this in Psalm 143).”
*I am “(recounting) how far… God has (brought me) through season(s) of uncertainty…” before.
I am, also, following Michelle’s sound advice here and choosing to change my attitude on an area of difficulty and discouragement for me, right now, because she is right: “Hopelessness (in any area of our lives) is not sustainable” — truly…. My husband said something to me tonight that rocked me. I need to re-center myself in truth from God, my Father– in what He thinks. Read, below, the wonderful wisdom shared by Michelle:
“You can change the way you feel by your focus. Remember another time you were full of joy. Breathe. Imagine it in all the detail you can. Feel the bliss of the moment….
Hold those feelings in your heart and mind and imagine tossing a life preserver into the future attached to a golden thread. It unfurls and flies high and far, sparkling in the sunlight. You are holding on tight to the end of the glittering thread for dear life, but the other end is sailing into a time when whatever you are facing now has passed. The life preserving end of your golden thread has landed in a future summer. Imagine yourself as you hope to be then. Empowered. Strong. Healed. Whole.
Just like summer didn’t last, winter won’t either. It’s just when the thaw comes and your life smells like honeysuckle and sunshine again, you are going to be so much stronger and (more) resilient than you are today….”
I am sending out that “life preserver into (my) future (LW).” And just as the troubles of a selfish, divorced, young mother who did not understand certain ways of the world yet, at twenty-five-ish, this too shall pass.
I will begin, again, to recondition myself in every area. Re-gaining my usual strength and energy has not been immediate following the couple of months of illness I’ve just gotten over. And last year was a hard year for me, physically, as well. I injured my “good” knee in January (2015), but was able to rehab-it through physical therapy. I am still very thankful for that. ~ I want to recover other things in my life as fully. I will be working on that, day by day, LW.
Wishing you a new week full of places of healing and rest wherever you need them, as well.