The earliest hint of fall brings back a flood of memories to me, and I am sure it always will. It was early fall when my first husband let me know, by text, that he would not be returning to New York, to our 7 year marriage, to our very established life together. He had quit his job and left the country 30 days prior, with the intention of returning. But he never did. I never saw him again.
So there I was, with a rug ripped out from under me. The quietness in my home was profound. It felt like it was just me and the walls. I slept in an empty bed (which felt so strange that I left a pile of clean clothes next to me. It actually helped.) As I walked through my home or brushed my teeth or went to work, it felt as if another person was doing it. I mean, how could this be ME? How could my life be this different now? Everything just felt so foreign.
But…there was something miraculous happening. I will never, ever forget it. And the feeling in the air now just reminds me of it. (It was exactly this time of year.) Not only were the colors of my beloved Brooklyn changing a little and the air turning crisp and clear, but I was realizing that I was alive. My “family” was gone, my life as I knew it was gone. But I was still here. I could feel my heart. I still wanted to live and have a meaningful life. I felt I could still have a purpose in this life. I felt if I held onto that goal, that I’d be a better wife and mother someday. But even if that day never came, I knew that I would be OK. Because I was OK then!
I credit that triumphant time with one thing – – the pursuit of virtues.
I pursued virtues with all my might- like my life depended on it.
This gave me life. This gave me purpose. It was a very, very deliberate thing that I finally had learned I could do. And so – I pursued forgiveness (which was actually extremely difficult at times). I pursued love for this person – in and out of moments when it was way too easy to feel hate and anger. I pursued patience while taking on the full time job that it is to find an attorney, box up his belongings, go over financial statements, etc. Oh man, I pursued forgiveness again and again and again! I pursued hope that I could have a wonderful life still. I pursued love for those around me by deliberately serving others with all my heart and taking my service endeavors and church callings very seriously. I pursued my self-worth and worked to dismiss all the thoughts related to fear, inadequacy or rejection as I faced my new life as a single woman.
I was not perfect at these things. Oh man, there were some moments that I failed at this miserably. But overall, the pursuit was there. I could feel it. Strangers could feel it. I was trying to align myself with the Divine, with his virtues. And that made all the difference in the world.
I realized that pursuing virtues was really all that mattered in this life. My unfortunate circumstances couldn’t stop me from doing that. (In fact, those hard experiences actually only gave me MORE opportunities to do it.) Every little triumph I had during that time while trying to pursue virtues was so empowering and fulfilling, even joyful – I cannot even describe. It was like I was stripped of everything I wanted, but it didn’t matter. I could still feel the glory of what this life is all about. I could still feel joy. And feeling that so clearly – as clear as the air during those fall months- was one of the greatest miracles of my life.
Little did I know, a wonderful guy named Danny was experiencing much of the same thing, but in Boston. His wife decided to move out of their home the very same week my husband left the country. And he was experiencing many of the same miracles as he, too, sought to align with the Divine- to pursue virtues, even in the face of the unimaginable.
And then, a year later – when the first hint of Fall was upon the East Coast – I experienced yet again one of the most beautiful transitions of my entire life. I met Danny (ahhhh!) It was then when we exchanged these emails, site unseen. We could easily tell we were living for the same thing. We felt united. And the love and joy we had cultivated in our lives during that year prior just multiplied as we then shared it with each other.
OK, now I’m overcome with emotion. This life is way too beautiful sometimes. I really can hardly take it in. Especially when I hear from so many of you and hear your beautiful stories and heartfelt words.
Much love to you all,
(If you’d like to see an example of how we pursue virtues in our marriage now – this past post explains it pretty well… How to Have a Happy Marriage While Traveling)
P.S. The photos are from a new favorite book of mine…The Native Trees of Canada by Leanne Shapton. It’s a wonderful keepsake book just full of these beautiful paintings. The parents of the two children we baby-sat bought us this book as a thank you (they had traveled to Canada :). We just adore it. The children loved looking at it, too.
Follow A BLOG ABOUT LOVE on:
Facebook (We so appreciate all the “likes”! thank you.)
ABAL Book Club (We’ll announce the next book soon.)
Babble Voices & The Equals Record