This, Too, Shall Pass

24 03 2011

NOTHING
STAYS THE SAME

Happy changes: Thirty years or so ago, my husband became a minister. The two of us, along with our three children, struck out across Texas to see (move to) Colorado, Nevada, and Northern California, respectively, as we served in various churches in those states. I knew then I had found my purpose and joy in life – being with my  husband and children, seeing different places, designing, writing, teaching Bible studies , performing music for churches and conventions, and just loving and helping people whenever I could.

 Terrifying changes:  I experienced a mental breakdown as I sensed an ever-widening gap between my husband and me. I mean, full-blown. Complete with Psych
hospitals, medications, psychosis, burnout, self-injury, counseling, etc. It was a life-changing event, to say the least, and I continue to deal with some of these behavioral and mood issues.

Then suddenly (with only three months warning), after fifteen years in, my husband left the ministry. I had struggled with Major Depressive Disorder for as long as I  could remember, but at such a time of acute pressure as those weeks were, I began to be engulfed by it. I would leave behind a grandchild, a position in the church, respect of the people of the area, the dear friends we had made (in this locale that we had been calling home for ten years now), the job I held at the local school where I worked part-time…

In essence – everything I had devoted the 30 years of my adult life to – family closeness, ministry work, an almost-decent salary (finally), enjoyable work  conditions, and status – were gone. As I grieved the losses, we returned to my modest house in Texas.

 Two Years Later, My five-year-old granddaughter was discovered to have leukemia, which began a grueling three years of treatment for her and my daughter’s
entire family.

Unimagined changes: I found out an intolrable action of his, along with some major irreconcilable value differences, that emerged about my husband that made it impossible for me to remain married to him. On our 27th Anniversary, we separated and later divorced. My two oldest (and seemingly least maladaptive grown kids) – the “good” kids – stopped communicating with me at all, nor will they allow me access (or even news, calls, or pictures) of my grandchildren. My “troubled child” has, on the other hand, repaid me in kind for times I interceded for him and stood in his defense, loving him unconditionally. He was right there for me through my shock, denial, anger, grief, etc., from each turn of events as they seemed to mount. I basically stayed in bed and cried for a couple of years.

In an effort to show some sign of forward progress in my life, and not knowing what else to do, I enrolled in online courses at Northeast Texas Community College.
I planned to study psychology and perhaps become a mental health worker. I assumed my mental and physical health would improve. However, as in earlier school years, the accolades came through English/Journalism classes and those instructors instead.

Ive been surprised to receive three serious marriage proposals. I am FIFTY-  (old!) – and set in my ways, y’all! I can’t see ever vowing to unite, submit,
become one with anyone again. I found it utterly impossible to do. You don’t even know your spouse sometimes, even after 27 years of being married. So NO!

Fun Changes: At last I am realizing that it is in the art of writing itself that I find an ease, talent, release, and enjoyment. I am following that career path. Several
open doors have recently presented themselves to me as possible writing career opportunities.

I now rent out a room of my house, which is a trip in itself. My first roommate (for 2 years), Dewey, was a blast. He could somehow get me out of my room, and even into a vehicle to go somewhere! (But he wasn’t  so fun when he took money, ran up bills, and disappeared.)

My recent roommate is a hoot, too! I thought his kind were extinct, or at least a dying breed. But Chris is conscientious, honest, helpful, fun and considerate. And fun. And did I say fun? So I can tolerate the differences in our personal philosophies. Even though our viewpoints are at odds, we agree to disagree and usually
do not try to control or convert one another. We are who we are and it is what it is.

I learned that when people advised me to “make  a new life” for myself, what they really meant was: “Make a new life that is the same as your old one so we will not be disappointed in you.” My goal is to simply be a person I like.

So I continue writing, laughing, loving, learning about myself, studying, and searching. Whatever else is in store for me; one thing is certain: change is inevitable.

 

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