In a perfect world I would have run the Bear Mt. marathon today. It would have been my first trail marathon and an absolute dream come to fruition. Instead I sent out yet another resume, and packed up another room’s worth of my belongings while the rain came down. Instead of muddy shoes and a bright, shiny medal I am going on week number 6 of filing for unemployment, and am about 6 days away from putting our Albany house on the market. And since my hip injury has resurfaced, running more than 3 miles is quite a feat these days.
To say my life and oh, about 90% of my beliefs have been flipped over is entirely accurate. Adrift, terrified, thrilled, discouraged, exhausted and trapped are some of the common emotions on the other side of this flipped life. Also present are some pretty significant lessons though! In no particular order, here they are:
- You can still be friends with your ex. This is actually a pain in the ass! I find myself wishing I could HATE Jeremiah, and wondering if this split would be easier fueled by anger. But I truly want the best for him on the other side of this transition from “my husband” to “my ex” although that wasn’t always the case. Over the past few years there have been countless nights of fighting, crying or barely speaking at all. Of falling asleep under the same roof, yet feeling more alone than ever. We fought like hell to keep something alive that was dying. We didn’t publicize the fight, yet the battle was still waged bravely. Love, hate, denial, pain, and finally forgiveness have run their course. And what’s left is someone who is to me both family and a best friend, regardless of our marital status.
- Love is a choice. And I’m not just referring to romantic love. Loving life is a choice. But let’s begin with romance: I once naively believed that when you fall in love, it’s forever. And THAT soul is your soul mate. #endofstory. At 40ish I finally admit what half the world figured out a decade ago: There is no predetermined value to the number of times we may be in love in one life. Still, I am holding on to the belief in a soul mate. Which brings me to loving life…
Albeit scary, I am starting over in every sense, and THIS time I choose to be in love with LIFE! Because I can attest to what happens when you choose a life you aren’t in love with for the sake of the individual you ARE in love with. Nobody wins in this scenario. Perhaps soul mates are only uncovered when two hearts find that the life they are in love with AND the soul they are in love with enhance one another. Maybe this is just my chianti speaking, but there also might be something to that concept!
- Only God can complete me. Screw Jerry McGuire for his line about needing some other human to complete me! When I got married 15 years ago, I bought into this lie that I was incomplete without a significant other. Newsflash: That’s a load of crap! My creator knows me better than any human could, and therefore I have to be content and confident with who He made me to be. And although lonely at times, I am grateful that over the past few months I have had copious amounts of time (in between crying and job hunting) to let God define just who Sara is and is not, apart from anyone else’s influence!
- God is not a micro-manager. He cares more about who I am becoming than my adherence to some fictional path that I can’t seem to stay on! I have had more than one freak out over going down the wrong path. Should I remain in Albany? Am I delusional to pack up and move off to New Hampshire… if I can even land a job there? And does God really care either way?! A good friend recently pointed out that He does… To the extent that a Father cares about his child making choices that set them up to live life to their fullest potential, and hopes to guide them in choosing well. I believe in a Heavenly Father that cares more about who I am becoming than where I live, or what I do to earn a paycheck. And yet that also sets the standard for where I live and the career I pursue! Am I becoming a loving, kind, joyful, prayerful, thankful, patient, self-controlled, compassionate bad ass? Then I am probably on the best path for me in this season!
- Control is an illusion. I am a self-professed recovering control freak, as I have mistakenly believed that others are controlling me, and on the other hand that I could control others. False and false! In my futile attempts to avoid being controlled, or to control some situation all I accomplished was pissing away precious time and energy. God’s got everything under control… My job is simply to let go and live in the present! Which lands me on..
- Being present is priceless! We cannot change the past. And we are in no way guaranteed the future! So although my present is a mess of resumes, half-packed boxes and half-completed divorce filings, it is MY present, to be examined, and embraced with abandon!
- Comfort zones are a trap! There is no chance I would have been even remotely open to the ideas and opportunities before me if life hadn’t been flipped violently from the comfy side to the side that is uncomfortable and rocky, like a tidal wave crashing into my comfort zone and washing it away. But if that is the extreme required for me to approach life with an open heart and mind, then I welcome it!
- Planning is not always productive. Remember that control-freak I mentioned? Yeah, she adores planning. If planning were an addiction, than check me into rehab ASAP! And despite all my painstaking, fool-proof planning, my life has been flipped over, spun around and sent through the spin cycle repeatedly. I composed a flawless training plan for the Vermont City half marathon… And injury sidelined me. I crafted a life map that was bullet proof, but not water proof. And so my water-logged plan sinks to the bottom of the deep blue. Sigh! What’s a super planner to do?! Simply plan the next adventure. To plan beyond that is to put the world and my heart in a box, and undo all those efforts to be OPEN!
- It is never too late to start over! Because those dreams you thought were dead? It is possible they were just seeds buried in the earth, germinating and gaining strength to press through the soil at just the right time. I have no idea where I will be living or working a month from now, but I do know that over the past 6 weeks, old dreams that I forgot I ever entertained are resurfacing… energized by new dreams that I never dared consider, or imagined I would want. Somehow they seem so obvious now! Who knew they were hidden and waiting on the other side of a flipped life?!