I woke up late this morning to raindrops on the fire escape. The tiny beads of water line themselves up in rows of eight to twelve along each metal railing and stair. They linger until the moment you look out the window and catch a glimpse of all the fire escapes on the surrounding buildings. The chorus of raindrops glitters and gleams as high as your eye can see. Slowly, one by one, they flutter to the pavement.
I decided I needed to write today.
Besides finding stage work, one of my goals in New York is to finish my book. I think I’ve been talking about completing it for almost ten months now, but haven’t written one word past Chapter 72. I know I have to end the story of the divorce, for the sake of the book.
At the same time, and not to make any more excuses, I feel as if I’ve been living the ending. Two years after pleading with God to help me end my divorce and move to New York, I am finally here.
The details matter, of course. I just don’t want to re-live them.
A few days ago, I started to write the “real” Chapter 73. I opened up my old journal and emails, and began plugging away. The more I read through three-year old communication with X, however, the angrier I got.
Why did I stay married to that guy for so long?! I screamed at myself. Every word of his on that computer screen reeked of bullshit; mine of desperation. It’s amazing how love can blind us. Yet, when two people choose to love each other, it can paint an incredible, rich canvas of life. Everything is redeemable. Anything is possible.
* * * * *
After an audition yesterday, I met up with a lovely, talented actress/director friend who just so happens to be divorced, as well. She is happily re-married to a faithful, loving man.
“Can I ask you something personal?” she asked, her piercing teal-blue eyes staring straight into mine.
“Absolutely,” I responded, my mouth full of hot bread and warm olives. Traffic outside our corner window table started picking up. Gentle flakes of snow fell to the ground, and the busy street transformed into a palette of color: grey sky, yellow cabs, black umbrellas and bright, multi-colored scarves.
“Have you been able to fully forgive X?” Her question was direct.
I paused, about to pop another green olive into my mouth.
“I don’t know,” I sighed. I carefully placed the olive back on my plate.
I began to explain how I think I have forgiven X as much as I am humanly capable. The rest is up to God. If I stop and think about how X betrayed himself, first, then me, our marriage and everything for which we stood, I get angry. It looks like he got away with all of his shenanigans, and moved forward, almost seamlessly, into a whole new life, without consequence.
He’s actually been blessed.
The honest, human part of me wants him to suffer, perhaps just so I can feel like the fourteen years I spent in relationship with him were not a total waste.
God’s incredible love, combined with the mystery of grace, is so powerful. I cannot think about what my ex husband has and I don’t. It’s a waste of time, emotion and energy. My new life has already been set in motion, and I get to live, free. I am free to pursue my dreams. I am free to love again, and I truly believe that love will be deeper, stronger and more incredible than anything I have ever experienced.
I also realize, in telling my story — even in re-living those painful, sometimes embarrassing details, God is able to continue to heal parts of me that are broken.
I am swimming in a sea of grace.
* * * * *
As the rain continues to fall this briskly balmy Saturday afternoon in New York, I think of each individual drop as contributing to that sea of grace, of forgiveness.
One by one, each raindrop falls. Some, harder than others. Others linger on the fire escape, until just the right moment, when you’re ready to recognize the life and beauty in a single drop. Eventually, you’re soaked from head to toe.
And the most painfully beautiful part of it all is realizing everyone gets as much grace as you do.