I'll admit it. I'm finally starting to read "Eat, Pray, Love" and only because I bought the book for someone else. I figured maybe I'll flip through it and see if it's worth the hype.
Liz Gilbert described my feelings exactly when she talked of ending her marriage.
"I don't want to be married anymore. I was trying so hard not to know this, but the truth kept insisting itself to me...How could I be such a criminal jerk as to proceed this deep into a marriage, only to leave it?"
Then she described my feelings on Spirituality.
"Culturally, though not theologically, I'm a Christian. I was born a Protestant of the white Anglo-Saxon persuasion. And while I do love that great teacher of peace who we call Jesus...I can't swallow that one fixed rule of Christianity insisting that Christ is the only path to God...Traditionally, I have responded to the transcendent mystics of all religions. I have always responded with breathless excitement to anyone who has ever said that God does not live in a dogmatic scripture or in a distant throne in the sky, but instead abides very close to us indeed - much closer than we can imagine, breathing right through our own hearts."
It's hard to put your life into words - or at least very few words - when you are discussing what some would consider a failure in your life. Yet, Ms Gilbert does so quite well in her quick synopsis of what pushes her toward the journey of this book. I'm barely into it - yet I feel as if I've been embraced by a soul that found a way to grow while still young enough to learn and give back.
So what am I doing?
I started my life over officially 4 years ago when I left my husband after 23 years of marriage. I put him on a plane to Washington for his 4th (and seemingly) final attempt at sobriety on the day of our 23rd anniversary. I told him not to bother coming back since I was leaving him and moving to Texas to be nearer to family. I didn't finalize my divorce until April 2008 - after he followed us to Texas. I finally decided he was strong enough to let go.
But is that when my marriage ended? It's what I've always told everyone...but no. That's not the truth.
My marriage ended for me after I gave birth to my son. My light. My joy. My gift. I realized there was a person in this world that I would willingly give my life for - sacrifice everything for - someone I could and would love truly unconditionally no matter what. And at that moment, my focus changed and I started to breathe - to see - through my heart.
Understandably, my husband was not happy about this change. I tried to balance it. I truly did. But somewhere in my attempts, I found my own needs - my own voice. I hadn't even realized they were missing. I reached out to my education. I reached out to my passions. And while I was reaching - I was holding on to my son. I thought...I had hoped...that my husband could follow along side me. I had assumed he would want to move forward - for the sake of bettering ourselves for this precious child we had lovingly brought into this world.
But in that first year, and subsequent years, our paths separated and became further and further apart. What I thought was a lull in our marriage was actually the division of the union of souls. My marriage ended almost 10 years before I found myself acknowledging that voice inside of me, "I don't want to be married anymore."
As I said, I'm slow.
Here I am. 50 years old. Divorced after a lifetime of marriage. Mother of the perfect teenage son with less than two years left before college. Starting over. No retirement, no savings, no credit.
But I'm at peace. Something I wasn't sure I'd ever experience again. I'm true to myself and I'm true to my son. I study everything I can searching for the God that I can feel beside me, speaking through my heart. I believe I have found that without the surety of labels. I have my spirituality, I have my peace, I have my God.
I wish I could have traveled to Bali. Or Italy. Or a quiet cabin nestled in the redwoods close to the Pacific ocean. But I couldn't - I had to find that peace within my day-to-day means of survival as a single mom.
And I did.
I have the peace and the understanding to move forward in my life. To rediscover the lost spirituality I gave away when I got caught up in living for everyone else. I have the chance because I am simply me.