“I feel like a lost a year of my life.”
That’s what I tell people, and it’s true.
Struggle and strife in my marriage, counseling and arguing, separation and paperwork, single parenting and legal questions still unresolved (and a broken ankle, too). All of these things seemed to suck away my energy and consume my life, and I felt like I woke up a little in January, and have been waking up bit by bit ever since.
Finally cleared from my ankle fracture at the end of June, I’ve been able to start exercising again, making my way to Taekwondo with Ari (and sometimes on my own), and I even went running– two days in a row!– although that was a couple of weeks ago now…
So I’m starting to find my body again. It’ll take some time, and it’s not just about losing weight (although holy mackerel, there’s work to be done there), but about honoring and loving myself and my place in the world in an embodied way.
Finding my heart and spirit is gentler work, but requires the same sort of discipline, daily stretching and testing the muscles, building stamina and courage. This too is about honoring and loving myself and my place in the world, tentatively reaching back out to friends and family and community to re-forge the connections neglected or clouded by months of pain and self preservation.
And in all this, I’m starting to see that it’s not time that I’ve lost, but myself, or parts of myself. And maybe, when I’m honest, some parts have been missing for quite some time. But I’m finding them again, finding me again. Bit by bit, with the same faltering starts and stops with which I return to exercise and self care and deep belly laughter. But I’m there, underneath. Be gentle with me, but I’m there.
6 thoughts on “Lost, and Finding…”
Gentle prayers, Becca!
Divorce in our chosen vocation has its own particular set of difficulties.
When my marriage finally fell apart (we were a week shy of our 21st anniversary), I was serving my 5th year in a very small rural 2-point charge. And it was more than my marriage that fell apart. I found myself in the throes of deconstruction and reconstruction/rediscovery of my very identity as a person.
As a pastor, I found myself in the awkward position of proclaiming hope while feeling inwardly hopeless. I knew every Sunday at the pulpit that my sadness, fear, anxiety, fatigue and vulnerability were, at best, only very thinly veiled. My DS had urged me to take this life change as an opportunity to model a process of healthy grief and recovery for the congregations, but in some ways I just felt like I had been run over by a steamroller.
After four years of very positive annual reviews from the SPRC, I went in still reeling and writhing for my next evaluation. The SPRC then proceeded to unload five years worth of complaints on me, effectively kicking me while I was down. I begged the DS and the Bishop to get me out of there, but there were no good appointments for me at the time, so I had to hold on several more months.
But the real me soon emerged. Stronger. More stable. Less angry and hurt. More forgiving. Softer, gentler. My best friend pointed out to me that I had both re-become the person I was before my marriage, and emerged as a whole new man.
There are moments I still feel the disappointment of a failed marriage despite the fact that I would never, ever go back. Those moments grow shorter and farther between as time continues to teach me just how profoundly unhappy I was in that marriage, and how much more relaxed and joyful I am now.
The tough, resilient, courageous part of your heart will continue to heal the what’s been broken. You will find new balance and a new normal. You will be far less willing to compromise any piece of your true self in a relationship. New romance may be right around the corner (it was for me, in a whirlwind!), and it may not. Whatever the case, be gentle with yourself.
Hello, friend! You are always in my thoughts and prayers 🙂
You may “feel like you lost a year of my life,” but you are well along the journey to find yourself. You use the phrases “bit by bit” and “finding me,” which shows that you are finding your footing again (isn’t it ironic that you broke an ankle, the joint that holds us up!). In contrast to Willie’s experience you appear to have an SPRC is supportive. In our brief visit to your church a few years ago we found a congregation that really loves you. We hope that this is still true, and that this sustains you. You also have wonderful friends, to judge from your posts. And your children adore you and will bear witness to your love for them well beyond this difficult experience.
Your rediscovery of your own body is part of the healing. Wonderful news. Thank you for sharing this journey and know that God is with you in the midst of it. It was once said “love your neighbor as yourself.” If we don’t love ourselves in some way, we can’t truly bear witness to the love of our neighbor.
Nan & Dave