A few days ago it was my son's 11th birthday. For the first time ever, my boyfriend and I went out to dinner with my two kids, their grandma, my ex-husband and his new wife.
While I am completely happy and grateful for my new life, there was still a strange sadness that found its way into my awareness that night. As I watched my kids quietly struggle with the discomfort of us all being together, I felt that same uneasiness mirrored inside my own heart.
Words cannot express how bizarre it was to look across the table at the man that I had spent over 16 years of my life and feel how irrelevant we now were to one another. Given the distance between us, it seemed unreal how intricately our lives were once woven together.
At one point I caught my daughter confusedly looking around at this new version of her family. This extended version, which she neither asked for, nor wanted, but like all of us, was doing her best to embrace.
I’m not exactly sure why, but that night when I got home, I cried like I hadn’t in a long time. I wept old and forgotten tears until I felt a dark emptiness at the bottom of my heart.
I remembered a poem by David White called, The Well of Grief:
Those who will not slip beneath, the still surface on the well of grief
turning downward through its black water, to the place we cannot breathe
will never know the source from which we drink, the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness glimmering, the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.
I realized that sometimes our willingness to dive head first into the discomfort of our feelings is the very thing that opens the door for grace. I began to feel a glimmer of the heartbreaking wisdom that comes when I stop trying to hide from intensity. Letting go of yet another layer of the past has made more room for the overflowing of love and gratitude that I have for every aspect of my wildly reinvented and abundantly sweet life.