This picture of me was taken in June 2017, one month after my divorce was finalized. I had been living in Raleigh just a few months and had decided to explore the area that day. In search of a park where I could capture some photos, I ended up here, where the photo was taken.
On a whim, as I often do, I asked the friend who was with me to take a few random pics of me while I shot with my camera. I don’t remember why I stopped to sit on the fence nor why this photo was taken.
Oddly, I was on the fence in my life… stuck somewhere between what had been, and what was transpiring at the time. A walk through the park was a beautiful escape. A temporary fix for a broken heart in need of much healing.
In so many ways I was lost, separated from all I had known. Separated from so many people that I loved, and still trying to wrap my brain around being an unmarried woman.
I’m generally pretty brave and will do whatever I need to do in life, business, love, and all other areas of my existence. But the woman sitting on that fence was frightened. Starting over. Who was she now? How would she ever regain her footing? Thirty years of being “Mrs” is a long time, and now she’s not.
Who should she trust with her heart and secrets? Who’s gonna help with things she’d grown accustomed to sharing in a family (group) setting? Who does she call when she realizes she’s gonna be out late? Who does she alert when a flight is delayed? Who’s the emergency contact name that she adds to medical intake forms when they ask? The list of questions was endless. The feeling of uncertainty, intense!
You see, the progression of life is obvious for the most part. So, the empty nest was expected. Children grow up and start their own lives. We anticipate this as parents. It was the empty bed, that was the surprise. I had NOT planned on that. Not now, and not like this. Now what?? (Sigh)
I was received in Raleigh with lots of love and support to the degree I could receive it in my broken state, and am beyond grateful for that. As I went back and forth from Raleigh to NJ finalizing the details of more than 30 years of my life; 15 in my home and almost 20 in our church. Sadly, neither place felt like home. No place felt like home. I was all the way in where I was, and those I left behind were moving on with their lives.
It’s no surprise to me that people were curious about why I was there and why I had left my life behind, but I just didn’t have the strength to answer those questions. So retreating to secret and sacred spaces became the all too familiar norm I had grown accustomed to. Except, now it was in another region of the country…
I remember the feeling of being misplaced and being uncertain about my next moves. I remember the feeling of loneliness that welcomed me home each day and the constant pain. I remember the feeling of wonder and the longing for my old life back, as I grappled and struggled with knowing I needed to, no, had to, move forward.
Thankfully, since that day much has transpired. I’ve settled into my new. I pump my own gas like a pro now (only NJ folks understand that). I did the work necessary to get my emotions and heart healed. And though it is still healing, I am so much better than the woman sitting on the fence.
I’ve joined the ranks of the amazing single women who work to take care of themselves. They drag their own trash out, fix things around the house, and go it alone with dignity and pride – Trusting in the power of an Almighty God who takes care of His own.
We find strength in community, and measure our value on intrinsic worth, and not relationship status. All the while, not denying the truth of looking forward to having an amazing connection with the right person, at the right time, and for all the right reasons. I personally look forward to loving again. I find no fault with love and marriage.
Now, I am flourishing. I am whole. I am complete. Focused. Driven to serve God like never before, in light of the discovery of just how much I need Him. During that season, I was able to learn more about myself, my propensities and tendencies. I see more clearly the blind spots and weak areas. The parts of me that I cannot ignore if I am to be honest.
In contrast, I see my strengths and celebrate my victories. Though I must admit, the depth of understanding is found in the lowly place of defeat. Not many will know such might because they’d much rather be perceived as flawless. SELAH
I am hopeful. Faith-filled. Ready to work in the areas of my passions more vigorously than ever, until I see the full manifestation of the divine design for my life.
I’m no longer on the fence. I’m no longer stuck between what was and what is. I am forward focused.
Are you on any fence today? If so, here are some steps for getting off:
- Find someone to process things with. Enter a therapeutic relationship; individual or group.
- Take a look at the space around you. Then create the space that becomes a haven and peace filled dwelling. It doesn’t take money, just a bit of creativity.
- Close the door to the past. Whatever that means for you. It starts with letting go of who and whatever keeps you stuck.
We often speak of not being able to go back and change the past. But we must understand you also cannot recreate the past. Times and people change. The variables that caused a circumstance can never be again. Who you were then, you are not now.
Get off the fence and move forward.