On our drive to dinner on Wednesday night the strangest weather was happening in front of us. Lightning split the sky and thunder boomed. The rain poured, the wiper blades were flying. And I was wearing my sunglasses and squinting through the blinding sun. And off in the distance was a rainbow.
I lost another man. A long time ago, as he told me details of his separation and pending divorce, I put my hand on his, looked him in the eye, and said “my friend, she’s going to wake up. She’s going to realize she’s a fool. And she’s going to *beg* you to take her back. When she does, you need to be ready with how you’re going to answer, because I promise you she will.”
6 weeks after I gave him my observations, 1 day before his divorce was to be finalized, she came to her senses: crawled into his bed weeping and begging him to take her back.
On one of our first dates, as he stared into the abyss of his divorce and the uncertainty in front of him I smiled and said “You’d be amazed. Things have a funny way of coming full circle.” That was the night we figured out I have the same birthday as his (ex?) wife.
And of course, things did come full circle for him.
So. That was that. I let go, backed away, I left.
So I have lost three men in 10 months.
I struggle with loss. I feel gratitude for having known him. And gratitude for memories of wonderful moments. And I feel sorrow in knowing there won’t be anymore walks amongst the fireflies. No more laughter by a glowing fire under the stars.
Yet I know in my bones that no matter how I feel about it, it simply is what it is.
So it is, so it was, so it shall be.
And as we drove through the blinding sunshine pouring rain thunderstorm I listened to the cheerful chatter of my babies and felt joy in my heart.
And I felt fear–for my future. Fear for theirs.
Confusion loss sorrow joy peace gratitude integrity pride excitement anxiety anger humility forgiveness swirling around in the unsettled vortex.
And here it was in front of me: clouds and sun and storm and rainbow. Darkness, light, fury, power, renewal, peace. All at once. All in me. All around me.
To abide in this place of deep uncertainty with no answers. To sit in the rain while facing the blinding sun. This is what we all do, really.
A messy sticky ball of life.
I am reminded of Pema Chodron’s words in her book The Places That Scare You:
Becoming intimate with the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere only makes our hearts more tender. When we are brave enough to stay in the middle, compassion arises spontaneously. By not knowing, not hoping to know, and not acting like we know what’s happening, we begin to access our inner strength….
…When we stand at the crossroads not knowing which way to go, we abide in prajna-paramita. The crossroads is an important place in the training of a warrior. …The fact is that we spend a lot of time in the middle. This juicy spot is a fruitful place to be. Resting here completely–steadfastedly experiencing the clarity of the present moment–is called enlightenment. (pg 122.)
So I am sitting very much at a crossroads. Mourning what has passed, squinting at what is to come, afraid but in awe of the uncertainty, sad but hopeful, all of these things.
Rain, sun, thunder, lightning, rainbows.
It’s like that.
The sky and my heart were in a crossroads.
The beauty and power of that sky made my jaw drop. So maybe that’s true of these crossroads we all endure in life. Maybe they are as beautiful as a sunny thunderstorm. I am going to try to sit peacefully in my crossroads. Not go left, nor right. Up nor down. Just sit. Right here. And live it.