Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentines

When I was moving this year, I found an old Valentine’s card from my ex-husband. The card had the inscription: The best is yet to be. We divorced two years later. He broke my heart, and I didn’t think life had much to offer… I was just marking time, wanting and waiting to die.

In the cycle of life, after all endings come new beginnings. Not immediately, however. There is a middle ground—I call it the wasteland, that desert where you wander in your howling grief, being stripped down to the bare bones of you, sustained only by daily manna from God.

Barbara, Jackie, Maya, Elda, Charlotte and Wynell were my manna. They were unrelenting in their care; they fed and comforted me when I could not.

I stayed in that wasteland until I could let go of my old way of being and walk out, a “new” person. I did not jump into a new relationship after my divorce (Thank you, God!). I don’t think it was because I had good sense; I believe it was because I trusted God to lead me rather than my pushing or rushing to a new beginning. It has been a long road, but as I always believed in my heart, when I got to the other side, I knew it would be worth the hard lessons and time alone to find out exactly who I am at my core.

There is a new man in my life. We met twenty years after my divorce, and we have been together for almost three years. For Valentine’s Day, I received such a surprise when I arrived home… the sweetest bouquet of pink tulips sat right inside the front door, a bouquet of long stemmed red roses greeted me in the kitchen—along with a box of chocolate truffles—and a bouquet of red roses awaited me in the bedroom. Ron did not do this because he felt he had to compete with a memory or impress me with grandeur. He did it because he knew I didn’t expect it, and he delights in surprising me.

On Valentine’s night we went out to a local restaurant to listen to a band we know. Misslette reminded the audience that God loved us first, so if anyone was alone, to remember that none of us is alone or unloved. Truer words have never been spoken.

The last song Misslette performed was Etta James’s “At Last,” and Ron danced with me. The next morning I thought about the line in Robert Browning’s poem. The entire first stanza of the poem—not just one line—describes my life today.

GROW old along with me!

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:

Our times are in his hand

Who saith, ``A whole I planned,

Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!''

 

Where are you in the turning points of your life today—at an ending, beginning or betwixt (in the wasteland)?