Independence Revisited

Park Guell 01

Integrating past, present, and future in Park Guell, Barcelona. Photo by Wendy Donnell.

One year ago this week, I traveled to Costa Rica to sign my divorce papers.

Today, I can reaffirm the old saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Because this thing nearly killed me. And now, I feel stronger for it.

The years leading up to the divorce and the months following have been emotionally harrowing. Yet I’m still standing – another way of saying I managed to get back up every time I was knocked down, sometimes of my own accord, but most often with a little help from my friends.

The morning of July 4, 2017, I woke up rested and content, with a peculiar stillness in my heart, like the feel of a quiet forest or the soft rush of an evening breeze.

True to my writer’s instinct, I tried to capture the nature of this peace in words, but without much success. In the end, I could only describe it like this: I was blissfully man-free. Immersed in a hard-won awareness that no person – from my past, my present, or even my many imagined futures – was burdening my heart or mind in any way.

I was alone to greet the sunrise and comfortable in my solitude, satisfied with all the potential contained therein.

This was not the death of emotion or romantic instinct. On the contrary, pain and uncertainty were still with me, as were hope and the desire to share the gift of love, but these and other emotions had paused their frenzied dance and now rested inside my heart, like cats sleeping by the hearth.

It no longer mattered whether I was alone or with someone. It was enough just to be. 

I’m not sure how long this truce will last, but I’ve lived enough years to understand these moments – when you know with calm certainty that you are exactly where you should be in your life and in your heart – are few and far between. They must be cherished and honored, because sooner or later, you’ll be thrown back into the fray. And when that happens, sometimes the one thing that gets you through is the memory of how right it felt the last time you survived.

A year ago I wrote: One life is given to us. We do the best we can with every precious moment, and then we move on.

This past Independence Day, I woke up knowing I’d done my best, and that knowledge has set me free.

4 thoughts on “Independence Revisited

  1. I knew you’d get here, and I’m so happy and proud of not only this, but how you got here. Welcome to the other side of adversity…again! I would hope that this is to be your last time over this threshold, but that seems silly. Life isn’t adversity, but overcoming it in a way that makes us, as you say, stronger. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely love this. For so many reasons. Including this, “They must be cherished and honored, because sooner or later, you’ll be thrown back into the fray.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: milestones – Karin Rita Gastreich

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