Even though I’ve been divorced for years now, I have found that I still have my own soul searching to do. It is easy to move on if you silently bury everything and fool yourself into thinking that you’ve done the work to find happiness with yourself again. However, that is only on the surface, and I have found that on the surface simply doesn’t last.
You can jump into the arms of someone else so quickly that you forget about yourself and what you really need in order to truly move forward. This is actually the best distraction, seems like the most logical solution and definitely makes everything easier, at least for a while.
What I have needed is to forgive myself. I have asked God for forgiveness, I have asked my ex-husband for forgiveness – and I know they both forgive me. I know God will never remember what has already been forgiven and forgotten. The real problem I have faced, however, is that I haven’t forgiven myself. I haven’t forgotten. I wasn’t going to be someone that was a divorce statistic. I was going to say vows ONE time. I wasn’t going to give up. And I have been so ashamed with myself that it has gotten in the way of truly being able to move on and allow myself happiness.
I am reminded by my teenage daughter all the time that I ruined her life because she was moved out of the home and neighborhood that she now fantasizes about, as well as when we have to run all over hell going from one house to another because she doesn’t have the right shoes, charger or outfit. This is getting less and less, but still the supreme reason for most outbursts in our house. I absolutely hate this. And I pray everyday that we really didn’t totally ruin our kids’ lives and that they really will be ok in life.
I won’t share what happened in my marriage or why we ended up where we did because it is a very complicated story and it’s not all mine to tell. But, I would’ve never ended up in this spot if after ten years it wasn’t the best solution for everyone involved. I stayed for so long thinking there was no other solution until I was confronted by those I love and trust most in my life. That doesn’t mean I still don’t feel guilty and wish things could’ve been different. Could’ve I been stronger? Could’ve I done more? Could’ve I overlooked more? Could’ve I sacrificed more? Those questions don’t haunt me everyday, but still creep up from time to time.
I am not in a relationship at the moment. It has really given me the time to start the healing process that I should’ve started years ago. I know that I need to do this soul searching so I can stop punishing myself. All the while I thought the fairy tale was the happy ending. And it still might be, but my first happy ending will be me, moving on, picking up the pieces and actually allowing myself to TRULY break down the walls around my heart and be happy with ME first. I need to feel God’s love and strength and know that He is all I need.
When I can forgive myself and heal my heart with God at every last turn, then it doesn’t matter what the ending is because I will have fulfilled my journey and my heart will finally be open to so many different possibilities that I can’t even imagine as I sit here and write this. I smile to myself because it makes me a little giddy. It’s not even about an intimate love – it’s about all the relationships I will be able to build because my insecurity, shame and pride will no longer be in the way.
My favorite movie over the last four years has been Eat, Pray, Love. I can watch it over and over and learn something new each and every time. While I would love to go on a soul searching journey around the world like Liz did, I simply cannot at this point in my life as I run my kids around and want to soak in every moment of their school, activities and just spending time with them. Instead, I am embarking on a soul searching journey right from my own home.
There are a few other movies that I’ve watched that have inspired me besides Eat, Pray, Love – Runaway Bride, Hope Floats, Sliding Doors, to name a few – all very romcom and not Oscar contenders by any means, but honestly each has given me a lesson about soul searching, not just love, that I’ve needed. Yes, I AM a hopeless romantic. I know myself well enough to know that there will never be a point in my life when I am not. That is just how I am wired and is something I have come to terms with. However, these movies have helped me see beyond the fairy tale. Here are a few things I’ve learned on my journey so far:
- Yet what keeps me from dissolving right now into a complete fairy tale shimmer is the solid truth, a truth which has veritably built my bones over the last few years – I was not rescued by a prince; I was the administrator of my own rescue. – Eat, Pray, Love
- Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. – Eat, Pray, Love
- You need to learn how to control your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. – Eat, Pray, Love
- Beginnings are scary and endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning. Just give hope a chance to float up. And it will, too. – Hope Floats
- In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place. – Eat, Pray, Love
- There’s a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that’s how the light of God gets in. – Eat, Pray, Love
- I need to know how I like my own eggs first. – Runaway Bride
- And maybe the happy ending doesn’t include a guy, maybe it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future, maybe the happy ending is just moving on. – Hope Floats
- First, get your ducks in a row – V. Then you can fly in a W – Runaway Bride
- No matter what decisions we make, we will end up where we are meant to be. – Sliding Doors
- If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments – for me this needs to be Diet Coke!!) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared – most of all – to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself…then truth will not be withheld from you. – Eat, Pray, Love
- Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road that leads to transformation. – Eat, Pray, Love
I am not just watching movies on this journey, although that would be more fun. The principles from the movies have helped me with the other parts of my journey, however. I am also writing in my journal again, praying, meditating, reading devotionals (Joyce Meyer is my favorite), reading the Bible and fasting. I’ve also been trying to do things that push me out of my comfort zone.
I have a long way to go. I still haven’t fully forgiven myself or let go of the shame. But I’m working on it every single day. I’m going to do this even if it hurts and even if it is difficult because I know that it is worth it. It it worth it for my two wonderful children, the rest of my family and myself. It is a path to happiness and joy that I can only get through my relationship with God. And that I can share endlessly with others in every role that I play in life – mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, co-worker, stranger, etc. And that one day, when I’m not looking or chasing or trying to figure it all out and control every last detail, I can share with someone – and to quote my favorite movie – that isn’t a man – but is my champion.