It’s gray outside, and I’ve spent the day watching the sun struggling to give its final adieu to 2010. Like an old friend you don’t want to watch leave, the sun keeps peeking through the clouds, even as it sets.
This year, unlike any before it, has been a complete story. A beginning that hinted at its end. With each passing day, I could no longer ignore the signs that my life, whether I liked it or not, was changing. I couldn’t tilt the earth off its axis, make him love me as I needed, or say goodbye without the lingering feeling that I just might love him forever.
But 2010 taught me something else as well. The life you save, may be your own. It was the first week in January that I admitted to my therapist I had but one fear. What if, while I work to save my marriage, I end up discovering that it isn’t worth saving. Nodding, he replied with 2 sentences:
1. First you figure out where you are going.
2. Then you figure out who with.
Each passing month predicted the same outcome. I was going to leave, and he was going to make me. Once I made my final decision, he was going to stand in opposition for the first time in months. Living life in reverse…it is easier to beg forgiveness than it is to ask permission.
But by that time, 7 months after I began paving the road I would some day walk upon, I knew it wouldn’t be his hand I held on my journey. He had taught me to walk alone, taught me to love myself more than him, taught me to trust my instincts. With each brick I laid at my feet, it became more and more possible that I wasn’t going to love him forever. And perhaps, if I must really tell the truth…it had been many moons since I had really loved him at all. We teach people how to treat us. And he had taught me that loving him was like mixing a unique batch of poison inside of yourself. The mixture would both mesmerize and intoxicate you. If you loved too long, it would kill you.
2011 is here in just a few hours, and I am not dead. I’m busy picking up all those broken tiny pieces and seeing what I can create from them. A new me? An old me? A little of both? This time, I don’t think I will use so much glue. I think maybe I’ll simply keep them stashed away in a transparent vase filled with water. Where they can move and dance, swirl and dip with each bump in the road. I’m still laying bricks…but I have a new hand to hold. And for the first time it is leading me down the road I’ve already paved.