Some things–divorce in this case–stop us in our tracks. But there are so many more things that can lead us back to life.
There comes a time when we need to give voice to our bare honest truth of the moment–not for the sake of the common motivations: money, fame, security, a sense of meaning or influence, and so on. We must speak or write or paint or sing or travel or climb a mountain or cry out to save our own lives. To resuscitate our spirit or soul. Maybe both. Certainly both. For it is this that helps us find our way forward.
This is the point I am at now. For the past nine months, I have been going through a God-awful divorce. After many years of an unhappy and conflict-ridden marriage, this has not been without its relief. Nor has it come as a surprise. But I have felt–and, in large part still feel–flattened, spent, wrung out all the same.
I sometimes wonder what my children must think of me now–not for getting divorced but for not writing.
Writing has been one of the greatest sources of meaning and satisfaction in my life. It was what animated me, sparked my thoughts, got me excited, drove me to get up early in the morning and work and work and work. It was, ever since I was a young woman, the way I sought to both expand and deepen my experience of life. To try to make sense of it and see the step ahead.
Now it feels like something I vaguely recall from a distant shore. And yet. And yet. And yet! I can see that shore now. I can almost smell it. I know I am coming, once again, closer to touching it. And as I do, I will get down on my knees and kiss the soil.
For this is what writing can do. Bring us back to life when we’ve been knocked down. Bring us forward to embrace the next chapter. And perhaps above all, bring us together.
I have learned so much over the past nine months of anguish and insight, months and years of having my heart break and expand and grow more supple, more resilient, as a result. I have learned this, most recently, not from my own writing but from others’.
There are simply truths we can find in writing that we are less likely to find in all those day-to-day situations in which we are, or at least, I am so much more likely to drag my ego along with me: to defend, to justify, to fit in, to tell a story that makes me sound more OK than I might feel.
But in writing, whether my own or the hundreds of books that have shaped me, I have come face-to-face with these deeper truths–and they have lit the way along a good path in the darkest of nights. And for this, and for every dear friend who has managed this same brilliant feat through conversation, I am deeply, eternally grateful.
This is my bare honest truth of the moment. May it help me, and you, move forward.