I made it. I’m ok. I can’t believe a year has passed since a wrecking ball crashed through my life. I debated with myself about whether or not to share this story, because it is the hardest thing I’ve ever faced in my life and still on many days it feels like my biggest personal failure, but I want to share because maybe you’ll find something in this that helps you rise up if you are at what you feel to be your life low.
August 2016 I headed to Las Cruces for work. On that trip, I went on a hike with a buddy who shared with me that he and his wife were having a hard time. I spoke to him of hard work, perseverance, commitment, and talking things out. I used many examples of how in my own marriage patience, forgiveness, and commitment were the threads that kept us going and told of how much I loved an appreciated my relationship with my husband. Then I came home from that trip to an abrupt declaration from my him: “I’m unhappy. I’ve been unhappy for awhile. I think I don’t want to be married to you anymore.” Seriously? What? I’m so confused? How did I not see this coming?
I cried. And cried. And prayed harder than I ever had in my life asking God to help us. I relentlessly and desperately did anything in my power to work on whatever was wrong. I don’t think I’ll ever know what really prompted the change in heart towards me. None of the reasons given were reason enough to abandon 6 years. I don’t give up on anything, but eventually I was so worn down and defeated that I was left with one option. To give up on “us”. To accept I could do nothing. It was heartbreaking to learn that no amount of love or work would ever change his mind and that he was not ever going to choose “us”. He chose himself, so it was finally time for me to choose myself too.
This is where the real me began to grow. I began to grow out of shattered expectations of my life and started all over again. My family, friends, and MBA colleagues were the real MVPs. Honestly, I was awestruck how people showed up. There were many phone calls where I know they couldn’t understand a word I said through tears. Bless my mom and dad who took 2-3 phone calls a day to hear me analyze the same point over and over. My twin sister and her husband offered their home to me and took me out to shoot guns to get the anger out of my system. The girls at work let me “pull it together” with a happy face for a meeting or phone call and then would wrap me up in a hug when they would find me just staring blankly at my computer with tears running down my face. My boss let me take all the time I needed. A friend drove from Denver for a weekend to love on me. ZTA sisters let me take a break from my volunteer work. My MBA buddies would help me work through homework that I couldn’t concentrate on. Mavin the cat let me curse and get mad with no judgement (maybe he was judging?). One friend consistently checked in on me and sent reminders to trust God’s plans. And a few special people helped me define what characteristics and values a man needs to possess to be a part of my life. My family and dearest friends kept picking me back up over and over and over. They pushed me to go on.
I was really afraid. The fear almost paralyzed me and there were many days I couldn’t see how I would be able to stand on my own. My parents kept telling me to not be the victim and to see things as they were (not how I wanted them to be). I became keenly aware of myself and present to the people around me. Daily I was finding lessons in a few words spoken and encouragement reminding me to keep going. What was most amazing to me was how a person seemed to share God’s word just when I needed it reminding me His purpose was at work and He would take care of me. I clung to these 3 verses:
The thief does not come except to steal, and kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. -John 10:10
What I’m doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this. -John 13:7
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. -Romans 8:28
When I made the decision to move forward, trusting that this was part of the plan, things just started to fall into place. I started to try things that I always wanted to try. I laughed again. I had some really fun adventures with friends: the Balloon Festival, NYE parties, a 1/2 Marathon, the Garth Brooks concert, family book exchanges, driving up to Sandia Peak for a night view of the city, a gal pal trip to Austin, summer weddings, learning how to longboard, spontaneous hiking trips and so much more.
I’m still scared at times. And my confidence is shaken up, but honestly I’m 3X the person I was a year ago. I know what I care about and I don’t let others define my course. I’m more honest about my feelings. I’ll tell you what I think. There are things that are non-negotiable and I can choose if you are in my life. I know I am more compassionate, empathetic, and invested in people’s stories. I care more about people than I ever thought I did. I’m a better daughter, sister, friend, and co-worker. The little things can wait. Only the big stuff matters. It truly has been the worst/best year ever and I’m looking forward to seeing how this next year unfolds.