Yes, 2016 is over. For many, this was a tough year. For some, it was a fabulous year. For me, it was both a tough and fabulous year.
As I sat reflecting on this past year, it occurred to me to also look back at the last decade. When I did, my perspective on life changed dramatically. I think it is important to look backwards once in a while. Yes, we hear what happened in the past is history and the future isn’t a given — all we have is the present. I get it. I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling in the past, but there is something you can do with your life’s history — LEARN FROM IT!
Ten years ago, I woke on January 1st filled with sadness and worry. My husband of 29 years had recently told me he didn’t want me. He said he wanted to explore new options and that it was time to split up. “Maybe in 5 years I’ll decide you really were the one and we can get back together, ” he offered as a consolation prize. I felt as if a dagger had been plunged into my heart. I can still feel the devastation. We had been together for a long time and had faced many challenges together: businesses, children, nursing both his parents through long illnesses, and more. I was hurt and cried for over a week. Then, abruptly, he changed his mind. “I’ve decided not to go through with the divorce because it will cost me too much money,” he said one night. Hmmm… now how pitiful is this to admit?
I was actually excited there was a chance of staying together. Yippee! We will go to counseling and get this fixed! Wahoo! I glossed over the words, “cost me too much money,” not to mention the original, “Maybe in five years, we will get back together,” which was his way of saying, “I want to have sex with other women and play the field. I figure after five years I might be tired, so I’ll come back to you for you to take care of me. I know I’m such an amazing person, you will have put your life on hold as you wait for my return, and be happy to have me back.” Never did the word, “love,” come into play, ever.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I could truly see the issue. Our councilor asked this question, “Debby, what is the most important thing to you?” My answer – “Family.” He was asked the same question, his answer – “Money.” Money? Money? Whatttt? With that statement, everything came crashing down on me.
I had made a promise, took a vow the day we were married, that I would work, and work and work to keep our marriage together. Even though we had gone through many hard times over the years, never once did I think we would not stay together. I loved him, and we could fix any problem that came our way. I made excuses for him; covered up his inabilities and looked the other way when he did things I did not feel right about. But this was a game changer. He admitted in front of another human being, that neither his faithful wife, nor his two wonderful children were as valuable to him as money. Money was king to him. What do you do when you discover your husband of almost 30 years placed what you could do for him or how much money you could make for him, ahead of you, the person?
The morning of January 1st, ten years ago, I can see why I was filled with sadness and worry. Sadness of a life I thought we were building together would never be. I was in mourning. I worried about my future and how I would make it on my own.
It took another year for me to understand I had been in an emotionally abusive relationship and gathered enough courage to leave. I spent the first part of that year hoping to bring the love back into our marriage. I spent the last half trying to figure out how to love myself enough to get out.
Nine years ago, I asked for a divorce. That decision brought more darkness, as it wasn’t me he fought against loosing, it was his possessions. I asked the Universe to help me find a very loving attorney, as I wanted a loving divorce. My spouse chose someone straight from Satan’s Rolodex. Friends were frightened for me, but I didn’t let allow it to take me down. I created a daily mantra, “You want a piece of me Satan? Well, bring it on! I’m not afraid of you. I’ve got the power of God beside me and you will not prevail.” Every morning and evening, I would look in the mirror and recite those words.
Never underestimate the power of facing challenges head on, for in the end, I never had to face the spawn of Satan. We settled out of court.
Looking back, I see all the darkness suffered was followed by light and discernment. For every tragedy experienced, the end results brought more joy than I could ever imagine. All the tears I shed were replaced with smiles and laughter. Hope endures!
Another dark incident was the suicide of a dear friend. He had been depressed for years and was about to take action and turn his life around. He had a chance to change his life, and made plans to walk the Appalachian Trail with friends. Selfishly, I did not want him to go. He was like a brother to me. I wanted him around but knew this was best for him. On February 21, of 2008, the plan was for me to pick him up and bring him to the airport. He would fly to North Carolina, meet with our friends and begin the hike of a lifetime. It did not happen. That day he decided to do something else with his life. He ended it. He placed a plastic bag over his head and stopped breathing. When I arrived at his home to pick him up, the police stopped me. Thank God I was delayed by snow in my driveway or it would have been me who had found him.
That was a dark time. And there were many dark times to come. But one year to the day of my friends demise, I first heard the voice of the man who would become my second husband. The following day, Rick and I would meet. Four days later we would know we were going to stay together forever. How’s that for God’s timing? HE has a way of bringing us through the darkness into the light. The past ten years have taught me well.
I’ve read about people through Facebook or heard face to face encounters of their sadness: about the election, of marriages ending, of children not speaking to them, of having little hope for the future. And while my heart does go out to them, I have learned the dark times have to come in our lives so we can see the light more clearly.
2016 has seen mega changes in my life, from living in a van to letting go of people I have loved. It’s been a year filled with sad moments but wonderful opportunities too.
So how can we re-frame the way we think to be more positive despite whatever dark times show up? Ponder these questions:
- Darkness illuminates the light of Grace, how can I become a beacon bright enough for others to follow?
- If my history is not my destiny – how can I use the past to navigate my future?
- If everything happens for a reason, what is the Universe trying to teach me?
- How can I take what I’ve learned so far in this life and help the world become a better place?
Ten years ago, I could have never imagined where my life would take me, the places I would see, and the people I have met. Ten years ago if you told me I would be traveling the country in a camper van, I would not have believed you.
The devastating situation of ten years ago, proved to be the best thing that happened because if forced me to make some hard choices which resulted in a much happier life. I have a man, my husband Rick who loves me, a career that keeps me on my toes, and I am speaking more and more of the power of the Universe. God has never left my side, even when I couldn’t feel HIS presence. He was the one who, when I didn’t have the strength to go on, held me up and showed me the way.
Remember the phrase, “This too shall pass.” No truer words have ever been said. But let’s add to it. “This too shall pass, the darkness will be followed by light. Please Universe, let my light shine so brightly, others may see it and be inspired.” Won’t you join me by shinning your light of hope, positivity and possibilities to all that need it?
It’s our time dear ones. It’s our time.