Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Another Milestone That Wasn't - But Then Was

Most of today I've been aware of a sort of far off unsettled feeling - It's really hard to articulate... Some folks might say they felt a little "off", like being slightly out of time with the world. But that doesn't seem to fit what I am feeling because this is more subtle than that. Others might talk about a "nagging feeling", something they can't quite put their finger on yet real enough to make itself known. This is different than that too somehow. I guess you could say it's a fairly clear thought, even if it is almost imperceptible. Unlike something that only nags but never materializes, this is more real. I can put my finger on it, but if that's it, it's totally irrelevant now - but the fact remains:

Today would have been my 25th wedding anniversary.

It's not what you think though. I know that because it's not what I would have thought even! Of all the things that someone in this circumstance might be troubled by - Shattered dreams, regrets, longing for what once was, wanting a second chance - none of them are in my thoughts today. No, I've put that stuff in the past for the most part.  But yet something in me keeps faintly, nearly imperceptibly, unsettling me. So I had to stop and really dwell on it for a moment. And then I understood. My little "far off unsettled feeling" is caused by a call to do something that I have no intention of doing. It's not expected, it's not appropriate; It should totally be a non-issue. After 23 years of anniversaries, and this only the second year since divorcing, I just discovered that somewhere deep in the recesses of who I am, there is still that "husband coding" that is trying to be heard, trying to remind me that I have to get something for our anniversary!

Wow! Really? Seriously?

Well, yeah. It's part of who I am after all. For me, being a loving husband (and caring father) is the greatest thing a man can be. I really had no idea what this meant for many, many years, but eventually after 23 years of working at marriage, I think I figured it out and started to make great progress. In any case, I do know that at least a bit of my heart was in the right place from the very beginning because, as naive and arrogant as I was, I got some important things right. One of those things was that I knew that dates were very important. - Birthdays, Anniversaries, milestones of one kind or another - and I never forgot one.

Having figured that out today though was not much of a relief. Because along with discovering the source of that unsettled feeling, I uncovered a deep sense of sadness that I was not able to shake. And taking another few minutes to understand the source of that sadness - that I missed having a partner to love - lead finally to the heart of the matter.

I'm lonely.

But that's OK. I needed to work through a lot to get to this point. I had to shake off all the stuff that was, and embrace all that is. I had to come to terms with the fact that I had been in a bad marriage and heal all the wounds that cut so deeply... and to forgive the ones who inflicted them.

I feel better knowing that I have made it to this place.

Maybe, could it be... perhaps... it's time to get on with my life?