Decisions can be hard…

Assignment #2. In 5 minutes write down 20 experiences you have had in your life. Pick the one that has the most interest to you and write for 15 minutes without stopping. Do this 3-4 times. Then pick one of the free writes and develop it into a personal essay.

Here is the one I choose to write on..

I know I could have found a more psychologically astute way of deciding the fate of my marriage. Wisdom from an elder aunt. Perhaps an article in the Huffington Post. Maybe a TED talk about how to decide when to end your marriage. Hell, even a Dr. Phil episode. In the absence of such guidance, I was left to my own devises. I did what I knew how to do.

Several years earlier, Pete and I had separated for 6 weeks, a trail separation…of sorts. He rented a recently renovated, off season vacation cabin. It was lovely. A small stream ran along side the back deck and bedroom. At the end of the 6 weeks he moved back home. I was glad for the illusion of being happily reconciled.

In 2001 we separated again. This time more seriously. He rented a dull apartment with a years lease. The plan was clear. This was to be a “working” separation, not to end in divorce, but to solve my 20 year long dissatisfaction. We agreed not date other people.  We continued with weekly marital therapy. I was hopeful this would work.

At the end of the lease Pete came home. Our relief was palpable. I am not sure our love was. I just know I wanted it to be.

A year later we were back where we relationally started. I was full of blame, silence and not so veiled hostility. I began to notice my fantasies while driving my commute to Pittsburgh…maybe this will be the trip that the oncoming truck crosses the grass medium and hits me. I didn’t really want to die, I just didn’t want to be here anymore. I was desperate. I had been for a while. I was finally letting myself feel it. I couldn’t imagine making the changes that were needed to afford me my happiness. So these fantasies filled in.

About the same time I had begun working with a new doctor. During one of my visits, while we were discussing an “area” in my left breast that was of concern to her, she asked if it were possible that I might want to “check out” using breast cancer as my way to go. I straightened my back defensively, pulling myself away from the chair. She assured me she held no judgement. She simply wanted me to be conscious of the choice I may be making. She knew I was unhappy. We had talked about it in previous visits. I had told her that my marriage was empty. That I lived in a remote area where I was lonely. That I was overwhelmed, anxious and very, very sad. I settled a bit back into my chair. I agreed to think about it.

I don’t believe we give ourselves cancer or any other illness. I do believe that illness is a wake up call, an opportunity to make changes in ourselves and our lives. So I let myself get curious. What if I did want to check out? What if I got breast cancer? Breast cancer was certainly an honorable way to go. No one could fault me for dying of cancer and leaving 2 kids behind, but they could judge me for blowing up a 23 year marriage and family.

What if this was my unconscious plan?

I decided my kids would fare divorce better than my death, so on Halloween morning, 2003, I knew it was time to deal with me…this…it. I had to decide whether or not to end my marriage. So I did what I knew how to do.

On two small pieces of paper, each the same size, I wrote STAY on one and PREPARE TO LEAVE on the other. I knew I wasn’t ready to leave-leave, because of the kids, but I was ready to begin to prepare myself.

I folded each precious piece of that white note pad paper exactly the same way. Over the years of developing this technique I found uniformity important to prevent conscious or unconscious choosing (resulting in invalid conclusions). I cupped the prophetic  squares in my hands, said a prayer for wisdom for the highest good for all involved and tossed my pending future together. I opened my joined hands a bit wider asking the Divine to allow my answer to leap to it’s freedom. I shook a bit harder.

Within seconds one hit the floor.

I stared at it. My fate was in it’s folds.

What if it said Prepare to leave? My heart caught. Could I?

What if it said Stay?

In that moment I knew. I was more afraid of the words stay than leave.

I had my answer. I knelt down and gingerly opened the folded white paper.

Prepare to leave.

10 months later we separated and then divorced…for good.

 

For good.

waxseal2 

 

 

One thought on “Decisions can be hard…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *