Out of adversity comes brilliance. Often as I move forward with a plan I discover a wrinkle, an obstacle or a fear that has the potential to crush my dreams. Or move me toward a better life. My divorce was a major wrinkle in my well planned life, the first that made me decide that I could turn a crisis into a triumph.
As a single mother I faced one wrinkle after another, but each one made me stronger.
When my kids would go to their dad’s I would feel a sense of loss, like they were leaving for the first time, every time. Tears would flow down my cheeks, completely unwelcome but there just the same. One day I decided that staying home alone and lonely was no way to live. It was not going to stop them from being gone and it was not going to make their absence any easier. So I left the house and drove to the beach 15 minutes away. After parking I started to walk…and walk…and walk. I walked until sunset, alone with my thoughts, listening to the waves. And I learned that I did not have to be lonely because I was alone.
After several months of walking the beach, the sunset began to come earlier and earlier. After the time change the sun would go down far too early for me to head home. At first I felt raging panic. If I couldn’t walk the beach, what could I do? Staying home was not an alternative (yet). I thought about my options and someone I had met gave me an idea. He would often go out alone, meeting people wherever he went. Did I dare try the same thing? Swallowing my fear one night after sunset I pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant by the beach. I walked inside and sat down at the bar. The first night I kept my face buried in my phone, reading, pretending I wasn’t terrified. But I came back again and again, eventually putting my phone away so I could listen to the live music, occasionally having a conversation with someone sitting nearby. And I learned that I could go out alone, without fear and shame.
One day the knob on my bedroom door broke. It just wouldn’t turn and I was trapped. There was no way out and my cell phone was not in my room. I had no tools to disassemble the useless mechanism and the windows were too small to climb through. Fortunately my young girls were on the other side of the door and they ran to the neighbor to help. He immediately came over and got me out. And I learned to accept help, understanding for the first time that allowing others to help is not weakness.
That evening I went to the hardware store and purchased a new knob. Entirely unsure if I was capable of installing this myself, I set out to do just that. I read the instructions and before long I had a functioning handle on my door. And I learned that I am capable of fixing things on my own.
The last 6 years have been full of trials such as these. Each time I have a choice. I can let these feelings and situations bring me down, or I can learn from them and continue on my path to a fantastic life. There will always be challenges. Today I am able to iron out the wrinkles as they come up, learn the lesson it was there to teach me and move forward a better person.
Photo by MUILLU on Unsplash