I’ve written about the fact I am prone to stumbling, primarily due to a bad ligament. Regardless, my occasional trip is an oddly perfect metaphor for my journey. Additionally, it makes me wonder if there something about human nature that we feel compelled to rely on physical expressions to illustrate that which goes on inside our head?
This morning, dog-sitting for Frannie and Marty in Bethesda, I walked to Le Pain Quotidian in Bethesda to write and to drink tea.
On the walk, I stumbled. Uneven sidewalk. Barely uneven. It doesn’t take much. I didn’t fall. I savored the moment, knowing what could have happened. Knowing I didn’t tumble to the ground. I wasn’t embarrassed by concerned passers-by rushing over as I scramble to stand, brush myself off, reassuring everyone I’m fine.
I just took a deep breath and continued walking.
This week I’be had more than a few stumbles.
I put a friendship on hold. A friend needed more than I am willing to provide. Dealing with a new set of raw emotions was painful and a reminder of the challenges in building new relationships.
With the holidays here, came more interactions with Caroline, my ex-wife. She’s taking a mini-vacation to Florida, after Christmas, with our three daughters. In a long email she asked, if “I’m okay with that.”
Of course I am. And I’m appreciative that Caroline symbolically “cleared” it with me.
Our separation is still new. Navigating our roles of co-parents and single parents, we’re still in uncharted waters. In the course of conversations, despite our best efforts, we both were reminded of how difficult it is recalling the times we were effortlessly compatible. In short we bickered.
Caroline and I ended our conversations on a good note. We reiterated our commitment to respect and amity. Regardless, I am extremely anxious about our first Christmas, especially the plentiful and joyous traditions woven into the tapestry of our family’s identity.
Not surprisingly, I’ve been thinking about when Caroline and I split. I assumed we’d find our way back. I now believe Caroline had no desire to reunite. I also believe she misstated her feelings in order to facilitate my departure.
I knew, as a couple, we were broken. I assumed we’d figure it out. I was not ready to accept we were officially, irrevocably done. Thanks goodness Caroline was wise enough to push the separation.
Without the separation I’d never have found my voice, dormant for so long, always there but buried deep, hidden beneath a false sense of contentment as we followed the “happily ever after” script.
It took that which I feared most in my life, going off a script I never questioned, to find my true self, my true hunger to understand my meaning in this world.
I will always be grateful Caroline made me face my fears.
I appreciate that stumbling, occasionally tumbling, are inevitable. If you don’t risk falling, you’re not taking a journey.
Stay in touch. Connect.
P.S. If you feel like the quality of the clips is declining slightly, I’ll work on it.