Tuesday, December 21, 2010

leaping out of the comfort zone.....

Life is a travelling to the edge of knowledge, then a leap taken.”
~D.H. Lawrence 

It's been a year of assuming the life of a leap frog. This is when I first realized something was terribly wrong in my marriage and in this home. The distance and disconnection was numbing and so upsetting. Wow!  Just remembering as I write brings me to an emotional place I never want to visit again for a long long time.  I felt like a pariah.  For three months, I felt like an untouchable as I tried to figure out what was going on......... and who was involved in the "goings on...."  It helped that she was a blogger who left enough crumbs to make me wonder....... to push me along the path that led to the edge of knowledge..... 

Though I am in such a good place emotionally and spiritually now, I will never ever forget how an "untouchable" feels in a marriage.  It is the loneliest existence I have ever experienced.  It left me literally curled up on the couch speechless. Thank God I had enough focus to get myself into therapy and to see my Doctor even before everything formally went kaplooey in March.

When I think about the fears I harboured after my marriage collapsed early last spring....... how the thought of even leaving my house made me tremble, I am amazed at how quickly I gained my frog's legs. Not only that..... how far and how often I LEAPT!  On my own, but mostly with the encouragement of the people who care.  Their love and concern was grace.

No matter how far or how often I leapt, I always returned to the sanctuary of my home. Out I'd go to experience something new, to take a risk in meeting someone new, to get out into the big old world to alter the path I had been walking along, I knew I could always count on the relieving sigh you feel when you cross that familiar threshold, back into your own comfort zone.  Home. Home.  Home. There's no place like it.....

Sometimes, it took every ounce of energy to push me out that front door, beyond my yard.  Somedays I couldn't do it.... wouldn't even consider it and that was alright.  Last summer for example, I tried twice to go to a place near and dear to my heart (and my family's heart) Spencer's Island.  I got as far as the first gas station on the Trans Canada about 10 miles from my home and abruptly turned around when the crying turned into a soppy mess.  The third time?  I made it.  

So often this fall, I've compared myself to Earl from that TV show.  Not that I had to reconcile my "karma" like he did, but that we both have lists of things we have to do in order to move on.  A resolution/closure/forgiveness/prove yourself list or something.  Sometimes the things on my list I've had to accomplish were small step things.  Other times they were enormous LEAPS.  No matter how large or small, however, they were crossed off the list at the same time that my whole being felt a lifting of heaviness.  Sorrow released.  Confidence restored.  Stillness returned.  Energy renewed.  One more leap forward down a new path.  After every experience, my front door was a welcome sight.

It wasn't like that at the beginning and in fact I wrote about how my home felt startled.  Disturbed.  Like my whole family, it was shaken to its foundation.  The familiar pictures on the walls, the little trinkets and knick knacks on the shelves, the photos, furniture..... all bellowed out a song of loss.  Would it ever feel the same again?  Would I ever feel safe and happy in this space again? These were the questions I kept pondering.   

Like every other powerfully charged moment along this path of marriage separation, the feelings subsided.  I made some alterations.  I spent TIME in the space.  I think I had to recognize the pain reverberating in and around me and "lean into it" thereby moving to that "edge of knowledge " occasionally rather than always run from it, leaps were an option.  By mid summer, the house tremors stopped.  Good air was restored.  It felt like home again.  

So, now we're heading into an emotionally charged up time of year.  People continue to remind me that one has to go through everything at least once before you're truly on the other side of grief. I believe them.  This will be our first Christmas in this familial state.  This will be my first Christmas without waking up beside my husband in 24 years.  Half of our lifetime Christmases were spent together.  Daunting knowledge.  Edgy.  But, we're Ok to take the leap.  Granted there will be a few tears, a couple of toe stubs, maybe even a face plant.  Who knows what this Christmas has in store for us as it unfolds.  

What I do know......... and am confident about is that we have the strength, the emotional gifts and the awareness of one another to figure it out.  Actually, I think it will be much more than figuring it out.  I think we're going to be just fine.  We have each other as well as our family and friends.  We have an ever growing faith.

The other night, my son came into the kitchen while i was cleaning up after dinner and asked me....... "Mom, do you think this is going to be a good Christmas?"  Without hesitation, I smiled and said that I thought it was going to be really good.  I believe it.  We have leapt into changes and have learned as we adjusted.

Tonight, while driving my daughter to her job at the Mall, she and I talked about how Christmas and all of the wonderful happenings tied into it is much bigger than us.  We are celebrating a miracle of Birth!  Though our personal struggles are real and the adjustment to change is ongoing....... if we focus on the reason FOR the season, the focus is put where it should be .... away from us ..... towards a place far far away where a baby was born in a Manger, the leaping from the edge is one of faith.  

A leap of faith.  

And because it will be one attempted in our home, which is now safe and sound, it isn't a leap out of the comfort zone any longer no matter how emotionally charged it will be. We have grown beautiful wings.


Jim in NB said...

Hi Dana Glad that you have captured the Christmas spirit this year. Amazing how the end of a long term relationship can be so trying sometimes and then like an awakening the next, with doors opening that you didn't even know existed! I found the process more circular than linear at times. And of course there are those times when it likes the pattern that comes from a kid waving a sparkler! Here's to you and yours having a wonderful Christmas!


Bonnie said...

Merry Christmas Dana!
As always you have an amazing way of putting in into words! I pray for you to continue the healing and allow the rest of us to be inspired by you.
Hugs, bonnie

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

You should sen this to The New Yorker or some other really fine magazine! It is such a complete and wonderful rendering of a journey that many many take or ARE taking--And there is such HOPE that is here in your words!
A VERY VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS, DEAR DANA! I hope it is the Best Christmas for you and yours that you have ever had! I know that sounds really stipid--But I'm going by what I read here just now. You and your dear children have come out of a terrible terrible fog, into 'the light'.

Marja said...

I wish you a merry Christmas Dana and wish you peace and happiness for 2011. Arohanui marja

The House on Big Island said...

Happy Christmas Muskie - to you and the ankle biters (oh, I know they are a lot more growed up than that!)

I guess it is a long and winding road, after all - but, I'm not the least bit surprised you're making your way along it in style.

Sure missed you at Levi's send-off. Lots of his friends were there....Skip, Nish, Toes, Stretch, Onions, Mouse, Stilts, Sunni, Esko, Bacchus, the McLennan sisters... we all got to linger a little longer there with him.

May your Christmas be filled with joy and blessings. Savour every moment with those kids - use this time to renew your faith and surround yourselves with peace and love.