Four Weeks Later….. Looking for Joy

Tonight marks 4 weeks since Don abruptly broke off our engagement, packed his bags, and left.  4 weeks….. 28 days…… and so very much to deal with.  Since that night, he has returned with packers and movers and then moved to Florida.

I now live in a big house with half empty rooms and silence.

As readers know, my faith is very important to me. Over these last 4 weeks, I have reread some of the postings listed under my Faith category. Many of the faith stories were written as a way to share how I was trying to live my new life as a divorced woman—with her faith and courage and joy intact.

My first Faith story, To Walk on Water, You First Have to Get out of the Boat, shared beginning my journey as a divorced woman. Faith and Joy—Happy New Year 2013 told how I had found joy in my life.

The 2014 story, Ashes to Joy, was about my struggle to get rid of the anger in my life. And the September story of that same year, The Gentleman Caller with Smiling Eyes, was my faith based story about the beginning of my relationship with Don.

And then—there is the story, In the Meantime…. What Do You Do When Your Life is Stuck in the Wrong Place, which was written one year ago and is now more challenging for me.

My closing remarks were: “And on a closing note, I am not foolish enough to think I have seen my last “In the Meantime” season. I realize that the future can bring for me or for someone I care about another period of life where we are stuck in a place….. a situation….. where we have a problem for which there is no “Cinderella-Fairy-Tale” answer. But it is my hope that the knowledge and faith I have gained from my “In the Meantime” season will enable me to face the next one with a deeper faith….. and will allow me to see a purpose in the pain and to do something positive with it.”

Ah… such noble words.

The problem is that I wrote those words when I was no longer stuck in the wrong place. I was in a very good place—dating the man I loved, working with great people, getting to be Nana to my wonderful grandchildren, enjoying time with family and friends.

It is easy to write such words when you have crossed over the river of sadness and are on the other side.

I will not comment much on the loss I am dealing with … my words last month and my feelings have not changed. And yes, as my friends have pointed out, I have been here before with my divorce.

But that was different. 

My divorce was a long slow process where for 5 years I tried to save a marriage that my ex-husband did not want to save….the emotional death and pain was drip by drip and slow.

This loss is sudden…one moment I was sharing my life with a man that I deeply loved and then it was gone. It has sucked my breath and heart out from me. And it is compounded by my having been emotionally alone for 10 years before Don came into my life.

To have lost a loving relationship and then to find it again and then to lose it again….. merely compounds the grief. I am not sure how to move on or, if I can.

But there is another element this time that makes my finding my way out of this “In the Meantime” season more challenging. I no longer have a daily connection with anyone.

In 2004, I went to work at Cobb County so that my husband could retire as I thought the stress of his job was leading to our marriage failure. It was one of the many steps I took to try to save my marriage.

The truth is…..my job did not save my marriage but it saved me because it was there that I made friends and had a daily relationship with people.

I had friends to laugh with; cry with; share stories with; and eat meals with. There were people who were glad to see me each day (or at least, they acted like they were glad to see me!!) I was connected to others on a daily basis.

In an ironic turn of events, I quit my job to spend more time with Don—so we could travel and be together. In doing so, I lost my daily connection with my friends but I was deepening my connection with Don. And now that is gone. I have no daily connection with anyone.

That is something I am struggling with. There is no one on a daily basis who is glad to see me; there is no one on a daily basis to talk to; no one to share news events and make small talk with.

There is just ….. silence.

I often go to bed by 7 pm as, after having 12+ hours of being alone, I just want to crawl into bed and pull the covers up and escape from the silence and the solitude.

I am blessed to have family and friends (including Cobb County government friends) who “check” on me to see how I am doing. There have been outings with my grandchildren. I go shopping and run errands and smile and say hi to clerks and try to say something cheerful. I have been wearing my Santa hat when out and about and try to bring a smile to someone’s face.  I go out to grab a sandwich and sit outside and try to enjoy the moment.

And yes, I realize I can go volunteer somewhere and make some new friends but it is not the same as a daily personal connection.  I have thought about looking for a job but the truth is, I really do not want to go back to work—I don’t think I want that much structure in my life.

So, here I am…..in  a place I do not want to be and not sure how to go forward…. I am stuck in a life I do not want to have.

All that brings me back to my comments in the “In the Meantime” blog story. I included in my story links to the Andy Stanley “Meantime Series” videos.

I have listened to them again with fresh ears and an aching heart. Those videos have given me hope and reminded me of certain truths. And, like it or not, all those truths that I wrote about in that post and in all my other faith posts remain the same.

This season of life… this place that I now find myself…. to handle it means I have to actively choose what I will focus on. Will it be the pain? The loss?

Or will I choose to thank God for everything in my life and to thank Him for the blessings?

I will never understand what happened and why my relationship ended the way it did but I know this…. I was blessed for 2 ½ years to deeply love a man who filled my life with great joy and laughter and with whom I felt unbelievably comfortable. My connection to him and with him ran deep inside my heart and my soul. Many people never get to experience that kind of connection.

I was blessed to have that—even if it was just for 2 ½ years.

That said, the pain of losing that love and relationship is intense and will be for a very long time. I sometimes think I may carry it with me forever.

But I am learning to be grateful for the pain as it is a reminder of the love and joy I was blessed to have in my life. It is a choice—to wallow around in self-pity and sadness and tears or to change my focus to love and giving thanks.

It is not as easy to do as I made it appear in my writings a year ago…but I know it can be done.

And regarding giving thanks, I will be eternally thankful for all the emails and prayers and phone calls I received after last month’s blog posting. It must have hit a nerve with many of you.

My blog is small and I average a mere 215 views a month.  I posted my story Let the New Chapter Begin on November 23rd and by November 30th; there were a total of 647 views of the blog of which 357 were of that one story.

I cannot tell who is reading my stories but Word Press gives a click count of which stories are read. I could tell that past stories were being reread.

I also had to laugh as I had written I did not want to be strong and you sent me emails telling me I was strong; I wrote that I was mad at God and you sent me scriptures to read.

And that brings me full circle. I cannot do this on my own. I fully accept that this Christmas and New Year’s season will be an emotional minefield for me.  I know that I cannot do anything but get through this—I cannot go around it or over it or under it.

The only way is to go through—but the importance is HOW I go through it—I am determined to take all I have learned and to embrace this season with love and to give love when I can.

I am also looking for joy and when I find it, I hold on to it. I thank God for it.

As this will be the last post of 2015, I have chosen to end this post and, thus this year, with joy. Since 2011, my granddaughter has helped me pick out my Christmas tree. Due to my living in the condo, the tradition was to pick out a small Charlie Brown type Christmas tree which we set on top of an end table. And in 2013, my grandson joined in the fun.

This year, when my granddaughter went with her family to get their tree, she spied some Charlie Brown trees in the Christmas lot and told me she knew where we were to go. So, this past Sunday, we headed out to find our Charlie Brown tree at the lot of her choosing, Big John’s.

It was more complicated this year as she first picked out a tree that my grandson did not like (but, of course!) so we had to look around to find a tree they would both agree on. Once that mission was accomplished, we headed back to the house where we decorated the tree while listening to Christmas music.

It is truly more of a Charlie Brown Christmas bush than a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and my angel on top of the tree is almost as big as the tree itself—but at night I turn the Christmas lights on and for a brief period of time, the cold silence in my life and heart is replaced by warm memories of laughter and music.

I wish the same for you this Christmas season—may it be filled with laughter, music, and memories that will warm your heart and give you joy.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

jfh

The  Charlie Brown Christmas Tree/Bush

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