Category Archives: New beginnings

Ack, X and K

Two days after my court hearing, I boarded a plane to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

My main purpose for heading to the Midwest was to reconcile with my long-lost, dear friend, K.  I hadn’t seen her in seven years, and we had only recently reconnected.

K and I had a beautiful history.  At the time I met her, she was in a dating relationship with X’s best friend, whom I shall refer to as “Ack”.  The couple hailed from a small town in Minnesota, and fell in love the summer before their senior year in high school.  After graduation, Ack moved to California to attend Bible College.  K stayed in Minnesota, attended college for two years, and then took a job as a nanny in Massachusetts.

I met K one weekend when she was in town visiting, and we were instantly friends.  We kept up our friendship via handwritten letters (email was a bit of a foreign concept back in those days).  Eventually, K took the plunge and moved to Southern California to be closer to Ack.  She and another girlfriend of hers from Minnesota became my roommates during my senior year at Biola University.

It was 1999.

The other Minnesotan roommate married X’s other best friend in June, I married X in October, and K married Ack nine months later.  We all settled in South Pasadena, just blocks from each other, and our friendship blossomed.

It was perfect.

The six of us were inseparable; unstoppable.  We were newlyweds, best friends, and adventurers.  We were young and had lofty dreams, but we were committed to our marriages.   We planned to take over the world and raise our kids together.  We enjoyed dinner parties, intellectual conversation and Bible studies.  The boys traveled to the Middle East together, for they shared a passion for the culture, and the girls stayed at home, waiting expectantly for their husbands to return.

Eventually, the other couple followed their calling into mission work, where they and their three children still flourish to this day.  Ack and X continued to travel together and found a single male friend to add to their danger/thrill-seeking lifestyle.

In the fall of 2003, K got pregnant.

It was unexpected news, but we were beyond excited.  There was going to be a baby in the mix!

So, the boys took off on a trip to Lebanon.  I accompanied K to her 14-week ultrasound appointment.  It would be the second time she would see and hear her baby’s heartbeat.  I had never seen an actual ultrasound before, and I was ecstatic.

K lay down on the table, and the friendly technician slathered the cold gel across her taut abdomen.  We chatted excitedly as we waited for the image of the baby to appear.  We also bemoaned that fact that both our husbands were gallivanting around Beirut.  It was time for them to settle down.

The technician continued to probe K’s belly for the image of the baby, until – there!  I saw it!  A teeny, tiny, miniature human being.  Totally formed.  Amazing!  I started screeching with excitement.

K lifted her head off the thinly veiled hospital pillow to catch a glimpse of her child.

She looked at the technician, and then at the screen, and said, matter-of-factly, “There’s no heartbeat.”

Silent tears flowed down the sides of her perfect, porcelain cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” the technician said, gently, and turned off the screen.

The rest of the appointment was full of shock and sadness.  Later that evening, K somehow managed to get a hold of her husband.

Ack told her he would come home, even though he and X hadn’t completed their itinerary.   We all later learned that a majority of these overseas trips consisted of partying, dancing, picking up women, kidnapping/dangerous situations with terrorists (yes, true), and God only knows what else.

He made it a few days later, just hours after she had a surgical procedure to remove the dead baby from her body.  Ack promised K he wouldn’t leave her like that, ever again.

Yet, two weeks later, he had already planned another trip.   Ack, X and their single friend traveled to Somalia to chase pirates in the summer of 2004.

K had had it.

And so, through a series of tragic, painful and devastating circumstances/events, K left.

We were all shocked.  Our team of unstoppable six went down to a confused, broken five.  What is worse, we all judged and hated K for leaving the way she did; for destroying her marriage.

I was the most judgmental of all.

I wrote K a massive email and vomited my feelings.  I chastised her and implored her to stay in her marriage.  I tried to wrap it up by telling her that I loved her, and would always be her friend, but it seemed hopeless.

She thanked me for my honesty, and disappeared.

So, the team of feeble five (including single male friend) upheld Ack and helped him through his divorce.  We felt sorry for him, and didn’t really know how to comfort him.  Not one of us 20-something Christian kids could imagine what it would be like to lose our spouse like that.

K was an evil monster who had destroyed Ack’s soul.  Ack clothed himself in all black, and we excused his subsequent destructive behavior.

Eventually, Ack moved in with X and me for a few months, and I took care of them both.  I did Ack’s laundry.  I sorted his mail.  I warded off collection agents who called our house, looking for him. I did my best to comfort him.  I committed to hate K for him.

Ack swore to make women fall for him, just so he could break their hearts.   And that he did.

In the summer of 2009, when I knew something was terribly wrong with my own marriage, I reached out to Ack. He was, after all, a Christian, and my husband’s best friend. 

Do you have any insight on what’s going on with X?  I wrote, trying to conceal my desperation.

I am too much of a girl (emotional, crazy) to figure him out right now. I would appreciate anything you know or have observed; no offense taken at all.

Ack responded. 

He thought we were both selfish, and didn’t understand how our marriage worked.  He believed that we genuinely didn’t have common goals anymore, and hadn’t worked very hard to make each other important or even interesting to one another.  He believed that X was over my whole deal in New York, and I had stopped being interested in X’s life a long time ago.  There was distance, X was selfish, I was selfish, and things didn’t look good from his perspective.  But, ultimately, he didn’t know what was going on.

But he did know.  He knew about the affair, the whole time.  And, one month later, I discovered the truth through Ack and X’s Skype conversation.  They talked candidly about my husband’s love for “UKR”, as if it were the most common, known fact in the world.

Over the past three years, the truth about my ex-husband and the people with whom he surrounded (and still surrounds) himself has slowly, painfully come to light.  The betrayal that I felt in my broken marriage almost seems to have been doubled.  I am shocked and saddened at the massive, seemingly guiltless capability to lie, manipulate, deceive and destroy.

I have joked to close friends that if I ever see one of those boys again, I will cause a large scene.  I will obnoxiously approach him and screech,  “What’s up, DICK?!”

Then I think, What would Jesus actually — not Christianese-commercially —  do?

The answer is, He probably wouldn’t call someone a dick.

Sigh.  I struggle, to this day, with forgiving that cast of characters.

Yet.

When the mask of self-righteousness has been torn from us and we stand stripped of all our accustomed defenses, we are candidates for God’s generous grace.   -Erwin W. Lutzer (1941- )

K reached out to me when she learned of my separation.  We began to re-form our bond in the exact manner as it had begun: through written word.  I was overjoyed to rekindle a friendship that I thought had been destroyed.  When the opportunity presented itself, it only seemed fitting to jump on a plane, even just to hug my friend.

I spent several days with K in her warm, cozy home in northern Minnesota, and cherished every moment.   She has since re-married a wonderful, joyful, patient and loving man who simply adores her.

K and I laughed and cried together as the ugly scales of past hurts rapidly shed away.  The fragrant, yet crisp spring air was full of forgiveness and grace.

New healing had begun.

Less Like Scars

It’s been a year.

Today is important for me.  It’s a milestone. It’s a big deal.  I am proud of myself.  I have quite often wondered where I would be a year after my divorce was final.  I wonder where I will be after two.  Five.  Ten.  Twenty.

My divorce (and subsequent criminal record) does not define who I am.  It is a part of my life – a part of my past.  My choice to open up and share my story in such a public manner might be a totally stupid one, but I have seen how God has used it/me to help others.  It’s so exciting! Somehow, my bold vulnerability has spoken; resonated.  I’m beyond grateful for that.

Today, my fingers are poised above the keyboard, wondering whether or not I should bring the present into the picture.  I told myself that I wouldn’t write about future relationships.  Any man endeavouring to date me might be completely turned off by the fact that I have this blog in the first place.  It’s intimidating.  It’s dangerous territory.

Chalk me up there with Adele and Taylor Swift in the “don’t fuck me over or I’ll write about you” department.  Ha.

But it’s me.  It’s my life.  It’s my heart.  I can’t hide it – I don’t want to.  I want to grow, I want to learn, I want to continue to change, and become the person that God dreams me to be.

He dreams much bigger things for me than I do for myself.

So, here I am: one year after my divorce was made final, two years after I left my husband, and three years after the shit went down in the first place.

And I think not of my ex-husband at all.

My heart has been distracted by a very recent, painful break-up.  It was a short relationship – just three months.  And, for the most part, it was wonderful.  I was so happy I didn’t even know what to do with myself.  I was also scared out of my mind, but, with the encouragement and support of my therapist and my friends, I settled into it.  I didn’t run away.  He pursued, and I responded, eagerly.

I finally learned what it felt like to be treated right.

He liked me for me.  He didn’t care that I was divorced.  He laughed at my sense of humor.  He appreciated my talent.  We shared similar interests and beliefs. We clicked.  We had chemistry and compatibility.  He opened the car door for me.  He bought me flowers.  He introduced me to his friends and some of his family members.  We spent as much time together as we could, in those first two months.  He took me on a couple of trips to some fantastic places.  He respected me.

I felt safe.

Finally.

It was easy to fall in love with him.  I never told him, though. I didn’t think it was appropriate.  I wanted to do this new relationship the right way.  I wanted to settle in for the long haul, and take things slow.

But then, things started to crumble a bit.  I made some stupid comments in front of important people in his life.  I felt terrible.  He forgave me, but I started to worry that my bad behavior would become a weekly issue.  I saw less and less of him.  He wasn’t able to communicate with me as often.  He was busy with his job, business trips, and other responsibilities and interests.  I felt him pulling away.

I didn’t feel like a priority anymore.  It hurt so badly I couldn’t breathe.

So I broke up with him.

He was hurt, confused and angry.  I tried to make things “right” by over explaining myself, my reasons and my emotions, but ended up making things even worse.

I de-friended him on Facebook, and then re-friended him. (Yes, I am twelve.)  He never accepted.

He told me that I gave up too easily.  I told him he didn’t fight for the things that he really wanted.

We haven’t spoken since, and I’ll never see or hear from him again.

It hurts.  Breaking up is hard to do.

But I have learned.

On this day – this one-year divorce-versary, I realized something.  A few things, actually.

The “issues” that I had in my first (albeit very brief) post-divorce relationship were not things that couldn’t have been worked out under “normal” circumstances.  Yet, I am not normal.  I am a divorcee.  Little things that might have not been a big deal to another person were stupendously huge hot buttons for me.

These things may take time, and extra patience.  Sometimes I feel like I, myself, have neither.  I don’t know what man in his right mind on this earth would want to take me on.  I don’t say that to be cute, or garner sympathy.  I have been hurt, yes.  I am afraid of being more hurt, sure.

But I am willing to get hurt.  It’s worth it.  I’d rather die with my heart broken twenty times over than live with it seized, overprotected or ice cold.

Love is always worth it.

Nothing will hurt as deeply as my divorce.  Yet, it is behind me, and it will become more and more of a distant memory.  My scars are, indeed, fading into beautiful character.

It’s been a hard year
But I’m climbing out of the rubble
These lessons are hard
Healing changes are subtle
But every day it’s 

Less like tearing, more like building 
Less like captive, more like willing 
Less like breakdown, more like surrender 
Less like haunting, more like remember 

And I feel You here 
And You’re picking up the pieces 
Forever faithful 
It seemed out of my hands, a bad situation 
But You are able 
And in Your hands the pain and hurt 
Look less like scars and more like 
Character

I’m still cleaning up my freshly broken, hurting heart.  It, too, will take time to heal.  Whether or not this man was the right one for me, or I for him, I’m so grateful to have opened up, to have trusted, to have laughed and learned; to have loved again.

Holy Matrimony

As soon as I hiked down from the mountain, I received a text from Kathy.

“Congratulations!”

My house was sold.  I was even able to pick up a check that reflected my half of the profit.  It felt surreal.  I deposited “the blood money” into my savings account that day.  It was done.

Two days later was my “Universary” .  I just so happened to be house/dog sitting for my neighbors. Oddly enough, it was good to be back in the neighborhood.  It was good to hug my dog, Wimbley (whom my amazing neighbors adopted).  It was hard to see my house, sitting next door,  but I knew it was for the best.

I sat atop my neighbors’ deck and wrote.

October 30, 2010

Here I am, at Lisa and Laura’s.  It is a beautiful day; calm and peaceful.  I treated myself to a facial this morning at Burke Williams and am now enjoying the beautiful, late afternoon.  Clean.  Free.  I don’t own [my house] anymore, and it feels REALLY good.

NO looking back.  I have my chair turned away from the property.  Oh, how far You have brought me, Lord!  Thank You!  Today is not sad.  It is a celebration of You and me, and our journey.  You are with me…You are here now, causing the breeze to gently caress the trees; shining the light; loving me.  Oh, how much You love and care for me!  I am so blessed!

After I finished writing, I flipped open my 14-year old Bible.

I rifled through the front pages: a certificate of “Holy Matrimony”, a list of births and deaths; a family tree. I have always wondered why it was necessary to list these things in a Bible, and laughed to myself.  Of the four marriages that I had written down, only two of them remained.

50%.  50% of marriages end in divorce.  What a shitty, shitty statistic.  My Bible even told me so.

I flipped back to the front page, where I had lovingly filled in the details of my wedding day.

THIS CERTIFIES THAT

Leslie Leigh Spencer and [my husband’s full name]

were united in HOLY MATRIMONY (Wow, they really wrote that word out, big and fancy.  HOLY MATRIMONY!!)
on October 30, 1999…

I studied the print for a moment.  Everything about that day was just a faint memory.  It had no place in my life anymore, nor did it hold a place in my Bible. I took the page and calmly ripped it out.  I then tore out the rest of the pages of “memories”.

I wanted my Bible to just be a Bible.

I placed the pages atop a pile of ashes in Lisa and Laura’s chiminea, grabbed a lighter, and lit each corner on fire.  I watched in peace as the pages burned.  I returned to the blue leather to find an appropriate verse to accompany the “ceremony”:

“…a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”  ~Isaiah 61:3

A few weeks passed.  My show closed after a 10-week run, and Joy and I took a trip to Sonoma.  I really needed to get away, and it felt good to get out of Los Angeles and enjoy my best friend and good wine.

One night we decided that I should join an online dating service.

“It’s time, Leslie,” Joy encouraged.  “You need to get yourself out there.  You need some dating experience!”

It was true.  I just didn’t really know how to go about it.  I had gotten married before online dating really existed, so it was all strange, new territory.  Furthermore, I hated having to advertise myself as if I were some sort of show horse.

Joy sat with me and helped me fill out the seemingly never-ending questionnaire.  I wanted to represent myself well, and it was good to have the person who knew me best at my side.  She didn’t let me off the hook, not once.  We laughed, drank wine and marveled at the experience.  As much as I would later dread online dating in general, I was excited to be moving forward with grace and such loving support.

It felt right.  I wasn’t exactly divorced yet, but it was just a matter of time.  All the paperwork had been turned in, and we had a court date in a month.  Surely the divorce would be final then.

And then, a week later, I discovered that my husband was engaged to be married.

New Life

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails the fields produce no food,
Though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”

~Habakkuk 3:17-19

Monday, October 11, 2010

God, these past few days have been so hard.  From finishing divorce paperwork to dealing with the house issues – the easement, moving, termites, etc. — oh, Father, I simply can’t do any of this.  I can’t do it alone.  I am spent.  Exhausted.  I don’t know how to anymore. 

Life.

I feel so beaten down.  Oh, God, I know You love me.  You love me.  You love me.  You love me. 

Help, help, help. help, help.

WHAT AM I DOING?
WHERE AM I GOING?
WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?!
I PRAY FOR JUSTICE.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh, Lord, I have been praying for justice, and what to do about house stuff and when… You continue to orchestrate perfectly…all that’s left is the couch and some belongings.  I hope tomorrow it is all done; gone.  

JUSTICE.  YOUR WILL.  FREEDOM!

Oh, Father, I pray that You would illuminate the way.  You are continuing to lead me out of this marriage, this house, maybe even out of Los Angeles?  I do not know.  I am afraid.  I feel displaced.  Uncertain.

Oh, Lord, You are so good.  You are too good.  I don’t understand, but You bring beauty from all my pain. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

My 11th wedding anniversary would have been in one week.  It makes me sad.  If all goes “well” – YOUR plan, Lord – then escrow will close next week; next Friday?  And then Saturday will come.  I think it’s hitting me now.  I wanted so much to celebrate year 11, year 12, 15, 20, 40…but I never will.  Ever.  Not with him.  Ever.

It’s so sad, Lord.  My heart hurts.  I still mourn the loss of my marriage.

I hope this all will end soon, and that the pain and hurt will look less like scars and more like character.

Oh, Lord, the pain is so present.  I try to cover it up but it doesn’t go away.  You are the only true comfort.  I cannot depend upon anyone but You.

This has all been so traumatic.  I continue to love and trust You and put my HOPE in YOU.  Hope for my future that You have already so lovingly planned for me! 

Oh, Lord, I ask for favor and blessing.  Do You want me to stay in LA?  NYC?  I ask for financial blessing.   I ask that you would bless me with a faithful, godly, HUNKY, ATTRACTIVE, amazing, talented, confident, big-penised husband!!!  (ha ha!) And babies!

Wednesday, October 27. 2010

Father, I had hoped that escrow would close today.  It did not, and now it may take even LONGER.  LORD, I need help.  I am a disaster.  Satan is doing everything he can —  flailing around like a fool, trying to throw a wrench in Your plan.  God, I TRUST YOU.  You have carried me through ALL of this.  And I trust You to carry me through, to the end.

I am exhausted.  My eyes are still swollen from sobbing last night.  Sobbing and sobbing…my body and spirit are so weak.

As hard as it is, God, I pray for my husband, and his friends.  They know You and they have hurt so many people.  I do not know what happened to them or what will happen to them.  It is difficult for me to pray for any of them.  But I do.  I don’t even know what to pray.

I am drowning.  I want to hide.  Please, no more hurt.  Please help me, Jesus.  I need You.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Good morning, Lord!

I had a wonderful night’s rest.  Had a good conversation with Curt last night…went to bed early…

Escrow closes today.  T O D A Y.  The funding went through yesterday – Kathy worked so hard!  I may even have the money today.  Not that I care about the money; it is the price I receive for my marriage.

I still struggle with the pain of the betrayal.  I know healing will take a long time, but I feel that I can finally start to heal, and will be able to get on my feet and do something for myself.  Now I get to focus on what YOU and I are doing – not that I wasn’t before? I don’t know.

And, of course, the pain of October 30th – my wedding anniversary – will be there.   Is there.

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  ~Romans 5:5

I do not understand why all of this happened.  I held on as long as I could to everything — my husband, especially.  God, I see how beautifully and perfectly You orchestrated the gentle shift in ownership of my home, in exactly six months.  Amazing.

I believe that the divorce will be final in Your perfect timing, as well.  I pray that the paperwork will be complete; that nothing will have to be returned.  I don’t want to have to see my husband for a LONG, LONG time.  Too painful.  TOO painful.

He was my husband and I loved him so much…dreams slipped away like sand through my fist.  Life as I knew it is OVER.  Let this new life begin. 

I’m atop the mountain right now.  I hiked up here, all by myself.  I’m above the Hollywood sign, and it is so beautiful. I can see oil rigs in the ocean.  I can see for miles.  It is so very quiet.

Just You and me, God.

I don’t have to know anything now.  Today is huge.  Today is the biggest in letting go.  You carried me through it all. 

Oh, LORD!  The relief and freedom I feel!  I can go anywhere; do anything.  My life then is but a memory.  I will not linger in the past.  I will try hard not to blame my husband for such pain and hardship.  The work is done. 

New life.  New life.   NEW LIFE!!

New Me in New York

I went to New York last week.

Every time I fly in, I cry.  I don’t know how to explain it.  I just do.  I have always cried upon landing.  The minute I see the skyline, I burst into tears.

I think it’s because it feels like I am finally home.

The last time I flew into the City was in 2009.  I was flying back from Amsterdam, where I had just completed an almost two-week tour with the Brian Setzer Orchestra.  We toured Canada and parts of Europe.  I had gotten special permission to take a hiatus from my off-Broadway show.  My contract would end in just five weeks, and I was completely at a loss as to what I should do.

On the long flight back, the man sitting next to me had a mild heart attack.  He was sitting with his family and needed to lie down after the fact, so they asked me if I would mind giving up my seat.  The plane was full, so I was placed me in the jump seat for a few hours.  Finally, I was re-seated: in the very back.  It smelled like shit.  But, because I had been so nice and accommodating, I was given an extra glass of wine and a tiny porcelain Dutch house with the airline’s logo on the bottom.  I studied it for a moment, slammed my glass of wine, and started furiously writing.

July 19, 2009

On the plane back to New York…tour is over.  I had to change seats because they guy next to me just about died — wonder what they gave him as a “prize”?

Last night’s gig was amazing.  I was invited to fly in a private jet to Pori from Helsinki.  We drank Dom Perignon…what a treat!

Yet I couldn’t truly enjoy it.

My marriage is falling apart.  [My husband] is nicely trying to explain that his feelings for me have changed – that it broke him when I left (the first two months), and now he doesn’t need me like he used to.

He’s going on the road until mid-October and then not sure what, but it looks like six more months in Hawaii for whatever.  He wants me to stay in New York.  I don’t want to.  I regret everything; how could I not?  He says “our decision changed everything,” and “our relationship is different”.  All I know from that is doom and gloom.

I thought You wanted me in New York, God.  I thought I was supposed to be there.  I was wrong. 

I am numb.  I feel sick.  I single-handedly unraveled my marriage…  WHY?  Why didn’t I listen to the people who said DON’T GO?

And [husband] says I could have heart the sadness in his voice but obviously I was so self-centered and didn’t pay enough attention.  And now it is too late.

I don’t know when I’m going to see him again.

Part of me is angry that he gave up on me so easily.  I have sat at home for six years waiting for him to come back.  I have endured his selfishness and when it was finally my turn, it bit me in the ass.  I cried to him that I was so sorry but he deosn’t understand why I am so sad.  He says this opportunity (for him) would have never been a thought had I not left.  So, whoopee, I left, and a world of opportunity opened up for him and closed on me.

What is awful is that I am alone, broke and facing unemployment.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M GOING TO DO.  It is agonizing.  Crippling.  Heart-breaking.

Thoughts run through my head:

~He met someone else
~Maybe we should separate
~I will go back to LA until tour and then move to NY in January 2010.
~Where is God in all of this?  I thought we were special.  I thought we would prove to the world that our love was different; we were different, and that was good.
~What the heck is going to happen to my career?
~Will I be alone?
~Will I ever have children?
~Who am I, why am I here?  What am I supposed to do?
Going home solves nothing.  Perhaps it will provide some sort of solace for me after my 32nd birthday/contract ends.

~Where will he be on our 10th wedding anniversary?  Where will I be?
~Am I getting divorced?
~Why do I think such final, cryptic, awful thoughts?

I haven’t really slept in two days…how much longer is this suffering going to last?  I don’t have the strength to deal with this.  Last night, I Skyped [Husband] from my hotel room in Helsinki. I told him that I had no career or husband.  He said I have both but I can’t see it.  Maybe I am too pessimistic.  I am so grateful for my opportunities but maybe I’ve been granted too much freedom.

Maybe I am destined to have loved only him, but for a short period of time.

I can’t imagine loving anyone else.  I never want to get married ever again.  It’s too painful.  Maybe I’ll end up a bitchy old spinster in NYC with a sperm-bank baby when I am 40.  Gross.

I failed, God.  I failed, failed, failed.  I made my career too much of a priority and I missed the window of opportunity of grace and selflessness.

I don’t know what You are doing, God.  I don’t know how I can continue like this.  I shouldn’t have put everything into my marriage OR career.  And here I am, totally financially broke, totally broken.  Do with me what You will.  I want so much to turn away from You in my pain and brokenness but YOU ARE ALL I HAVE.

You, God, are all I have.

You are all I have.

You are the only one who knows me intimately and deeply and You are the only one here now.  There is no husband.  There is only You. You are my God.  And You give and You take away.

I don’t know what else to do but turn in absolute desperation to You.  I thought I knew what I was doing but it is so abundantly clear.

I don’t know what You have for me.
I don’t know what you have for my husband.
I don’t know if You still will have us together.  I don’t 
even know when I’m going to see my husband again.

I have to let him go.

It hurts.  It’s not fair.

I AM ANGRY.  I DON’T HAVE CLOSURE.  I DON’T HAVE ANSWERS. 

I HAVE NOTHING.

Five weeks later, I would fly out of New York, back to Los Angeles.  I sobbed and sobbed upon leaving, because I didn’t know when I’d be back again.  I would return, just a few short months later (via tour bus), but my world was upside down.  It was hard to be back in New York during that time.  I was working so hard to save my doomed marriage.

Fast forward to December 19, 2011.  For the first time in two years, I finally returned home.

I gazed out the small airplane window as we landed, yearning to see that skyline I love so much.  It just so happened that I was seated on the wrong side of the plane, so all I saw was Long Island City and Queens.  Still, it was enough to send me into my typical, blubbering blurb of salty tears.

Tears of joy.

I gathered my luggage, wrapped my scarf around my neck and fought my way towards a NYC taxi.  I wanted to clap and squeal when I slid into the backseat of the cab; I wanted to hug my cab driver and pat the turban around his head.  I wanted to kiss the pavement, but I maintained my composure.

It just felt so good – so right – to be back.

My schedule was full for my brief trip to the City.  The next day, after breakfast in Union Square with a talented friend, I strolled up Broadway.  I popped into my favorite dish store, Fishs Eddy, to do some Christmas shopping.  I had about an hour to kill before my next reunion with a dear friend, so I continued to happily wander around.

As I found myself nearing the Flatiron District, I stopped, and gazed up at the Empire State Building.   Something didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

And then I remembered.

The last time I was in the neighborhood was with my (ex) husband.  It was March of 2009, just a few weeks after I had moved to the City.  It would be the only time my husband would visit me in the short seven months I lived there.

I don’t remember many details, or why we were in the area, but I do remember exactly where we sat.  We took a picture, with the Empire State Building looming in the background.  We both have forced smiles on our faces.  My husband spent the majority of our time together that weekend, texting his lover.

All of this came flooding back to me as I stared up at the Empire State Building.  Out of the blue, I started to cry.  The old, familiar grief welled up inside of me and I had to let it out.  I pulled up the same chair I had sat upon with my husband, nearly three years ago, sat down, and allowed myself to sob, quietly.

That moment surprised me.  Grief will sneak up on you at the most unexpected moments.  At the same time, I felt a sense of renewal and strength.

Closure.

As I wiped my tears away, I silently reclaimed New York for me again.  Then, I slowly realized that it had always been mine.  I was supposed to be there in 2009, no matter what. I hadn’t failed at anything.  As I reflected upon the New Me in New York, I marveled at how easily I fit back in.  It actually felt like I hadn’t ever left.  Nothing about the City had changed in two years, except for one thing.

I am the one who has changed.

In a few short days, 2012 will be upon us.  I have no idea what is in store for me in this New Year, but I am hopeful and expectant.  Funny how my questions have remained the same over the past few years.  I still wonder what the heck is going to happen with my career.  I still yearn to live in New York.  I still wonder if I’ll ever have children.

For now, I know this:  There is no rush to arrive.  We never, truly “arrive”.  More importantly, we never miss any window of opportunity for grace.   I’ll always be embarking upon a journey, and I hope to keep changing and growing into the woman that God wants me to be.

SOLD!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I’m so drained.

I can’t keep doing this – [my husband] makes me insanely angry; crazy.  I am tired of doing everything for him.  I want to claw his face off.  I want to punch him until he feels the hurt and anger and rejection that I do.  I want him to feel; I want him to be responsible.  But it’s entirely impossible.

There’s nothing I want more in the world than to be done with this divorce.  Oh, please, God, have mercy.  I want to move on with my life and not be stuck in limbo.

I just can’t do this any more.  God, I leave it in Your hands.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

“Those who know Your name will trust in You, for You, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek You.” ~Psalm 9:10

“Show me Your ways, O LORD, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”  ~Psalm 25:4-5

JESUS, I TRUST YOU.  You will never forsake me; You are always taking care of me.  I know You have a plan for me and my life.  I cannot see it and I am scared, but I must let go; let You take control. 

The house is going on the market and it hurts me so badly.  “As is”.  A divorce sale.  And for what?  For what?  What a waste.

I have to stop crying.

God, I don’t know where You want me.  I sit here, amongst the unknown and my heart screams out.  I TRUST YOU!  I TRUST YOU because I know You will not let me down; I KNOW You have plans for me.

I am still grieving, still wondering what to do; where to go.  It’s starting, Lord.  And I am trusting that You want me to sell the house.

I have to let go.

I’m giving my future to You.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lord.

My tenant offered on the house.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.  Counter?  Just walk away?

Was up until 3:00 a.m., crying and crying.  My eyes are swollen.  My body screaming.  [Husband] responded at 2:00 a.m. to my email, where I asked him to meet with me to discuss the remainder of the divorce and sign the papers.  He said he had “meetings” but would work around my schedule. 

I told him to cancel his (stupid ass, fucking horse shit) meetings and do what is right.

I can barely move.  I am so exhausted…It’s You and me, God.  Who better to have?  Close in 30 days.  No property tax.  No more mortgage payments.  Nothing.

GOD, I NEED HELP.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I have one more day to decide if I accept my tenant’s offer on my house.  I have some peace, but I am not sure if I am just being hasty in my decision-making?

I HAVE NOTHING.  Losing everything.  All.  Husband, house, family.  I’m even down to my last unemployment check.

This is from You.  I am trusting it.  Your timing.  Would I like more money?  Of course.  But I am trusting, trusting.  Oh, Father. You give and take away, and You are so good to me.  You are loving me through this.  How can I thank You enough?  How?!  Everything is Yours.  And I do believe You orchestrated this.

I pray for peace.  I don’t understand, and I don’t know what is next, but I believe You are leading me.  Out of the mire, and into the new life You have planned.

Friday, September 17. 2010

Proverbs 16:9 – “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”

Psalm 37:5-7 – “Commit your way to the LORD, trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him.” 

Today I will sign the offer on my home.

Tonight I will open a show.

Lord, You are so good to me.  I have peace.  And I know You give peace in all circumstances.  You have carried me through this time, and the end of this chapter is near.  I cannot plan anything.  I have seen Your mighty hand in everything so far; how can I not trust You?

I am heartbroken to give up my home but I know it is Your will.  A NEW start.

I pray for [my husband].  Please help end this pain.  I do not know what will become of him; it’s too painful to even know where he is.  I pray for healing.  Healing is in Your hands.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

My tenant bought the house!  Sold!  Escrow opens Monday.  Huge.  This is huge.  And, I have to admit, a relief.  You are so good.  You knew all along.  The timing is Yours, and I feel peace.  Your hand guiding me.  I am so curious as to where You will lead me.

Oh, God, I love You.  I am losing everything but gaining YOU.  Freedom.  There is such unbelievable freedom in You.

I pray that [my husband] would show up on Monday to sign the divorce papers, and that we would be able to communicate.  I still grieve him and his choices…but it needs to be over.

 

Life Begins Anew at Journey’s End

The next few months were busy ones.

I was cast in two shows, back to back, and welcomed the opportunity (and distraction!).  It was so good to get back into doing what I love, and I felt that I could approach my art with a more real, honest perspective.  I spent a lot of time with my cast members and friends, and started to become alive again  — this time in a new, raw and beautiful way.

I met again with the lawyer at the beginning of July to try to sort out the next round of paperwork.  I emailed my husband to ask for his address overseas, so that I could get him properly served with “step two”.  To my surprise, he responded right away, and then added that he thought about me every day, and wished our lives had never gotten off track.

It made me incredibly angry.  I didn’t believe a single word of his sentiment.  Furthermore, my life hadn’t “gotten off track”, so to speak.   And, if it had, it was all due to him and his stupid choices.

Fucker.

The only other communication I had been receiving from him was regarding our house.  He kept asking me to put it on the market, to “just see if we’d get any nibbles”.  What the fuck?  The housing market had crashed; people were upside down on their mortgages, or short-selling their properties.  The only reason to sell a house was to get out from under the crushing responsibility of a mortgage payment.  We had a fantastic tenant, paying the mortgage for us, and we could feasibly gain equity all the while.

I had a suspicion that his parents were behind it all.  One email suggested I “buy him out”.  In another email, he explained that his sister’s husband had offered to spend the summer fixing up the house so we could put it on the market.  Never mind all the work that I, myself, had just put into it.

I was exhausted.  I couldn’t wrap my mind around putting my house up for sale at the moment.  My blood boiled at the thought of my husband gallivanting around Australia without a responsibility in the world, and acting like the victim in our divorce.

I ignored every request.  He wanted money, and wanted it fast.

Fucker.

Using residual anger as fuel, I proceeded with filing more paperwork.  I started getting used to the familiarity of the big, scary courthouse.  I’d drive downtown, get off at Hill Street, and chuckle to myself  that I had “the Hill Street Blues”.   I even developed a favorite parking spot – right next to the park where they filmed a scene in the movie, 500 Days of Summer.  I tried to look on the bright side:  I never would have discovered that little gem of a spot had I not gotten divorced.

One blazing July day, I carefully dressed in my “court clothes”:  a crisp, black, button-down dress with classic black pumps.  This time, I would face the courthouse alone.

Yesterday was a huge day for me, and I think I’m still feeling the effects of it.  Got the paperwork done, copied, delivered to Andrea at 2:30, took the Proof of Service to the courthouse, filed, then ordered a copy of his response.  That was hard to see: his handwriting and shaky mistakes.  It’s tragic.  And my heart hurts.  Hurts so much for him, for us; for what we had, even when it wasn’t all that great.  And I still mourn him.  He’s been gone for nine weeks again.  Still rejecting me.  That hurts, too.  Maybe more so?

And people say, “Oh, he’s crazy to have let you go,” and I know it’s true.  I think I truly can forgive him for cheating because he fell apart.  Fell vulnerable.  Or, in his words, “(fell) off the tracks.”

So, after filing in court, I went across the street for lunch.  Alone.  I sat at the bar and made conversation with the bartender.  He noticed my thick divorce file, and asked me about it.  I just shrugged, and delivered a half-sly smile.

“Getting it done,” I said.

“I guess you have to do what you have to do,” was his sympathetic response.  “But it’s lucky for the rest of the world that a woman like you is now single!”  

I told him I had been asked out twice at the courthouse.  It was true.  He laughed.

“See?”

Then it got quiet.  He wiped the counter down and averted his eyes from mine.  I knew we were both thinking that divorce court was not exactly the place to find a date.

I thanked him, paid my bill, walked to my car, slid into the seat, closed the door, and broke down.  I sobbed and sobbed.  God, it’s horrible, that place.  That courthouse.  Awful.  I don’t want to keep going there.  It’s so cold.

I still do wish my husband would choose me.  But it’s too late.

I don’t want my heart to break again.

Yet I know I wasn’t alone at that courthouse, God.  You were with me.  And sadly, it DOES get easier to be there.  It’s still painful.  I first filed three months ago.  Soon it will be a year since I discovered the affair.  Soon it will be Christmas.  Soon it will be a year since I have filed for divorce.  Then two, three.  Ten.  Twenty.

Where will I be?  Where do I go?  New York?  Do I sell my house?  My car?  And go?  And leave my family and friends?  Do I stay here?  Do I start over completely?  Lose everything?  Where am I going to live?  Where do You want me?

I want to get to the place where I fully forgive my husband.  I can see, even now, what a blessing it is for him to be out of my life.  When I explained to my therapist that I did not believe that he thinks of me everyday, she observed that was a source of deep hurt for me.  And, yes, it is.  He hurt me, very much.  It definitely hurts to not be chosen.

Ultimately, I wanted love to win.  Love should overpower narcissism and selfishness.  Love should conquer all. 

And still — as the lyrics of this beautiful new musical I am helping originate, say —

“Life begins anew at journey’s end.”

Goodbye, House

I had two weeks to move out.

Within ten days, I sold the majority of our belongings, and stored only those items I figured I would need for my future: the digital upright piano, music, kitchen items, a table, and a couch. My plan was to live with Curt and Kathy for at least six months, and then move back into my house once my tenant’s lease was up.

I was beyond determined to keep my house, but for the time being, I had to let it go.

So many people helped me.  My college (now close) friend Jessica, came over on Easter Sunday and helped me sort through and throw away a bunch of clothes. My sisters came over frequently and let me put them to work scrubbing floors, cleaning out the hot tub and sorting through more clothes and jewelry.

Andrea helped me exorcise The Man House.  In a ridiculous ceremony filled mostly with laughter, a couple of beers and — shall I say —  “unladylike” gestures, we re-named the space “The Vagina Mansion”.

My dad called and/or came over every day to help with whatever I needed.  He is such a good man.

Church and theatre friends responded to my pleas for help by buying, transporting or storing furniture.

My neighbor, Lisa, spent hours helping me pack and organize the garage.

My college roommate left her husband and three children 200 miles north to spend the last weekend in my house with me.  We cleaned, scrubbed, organized and giggled, just like old times.

One of the sisters of my husband’s “cast of characters” came that weekend, as well, and cleaned out my refrigerator, amongst many other daunting tasks.  We worked alongside one another and marveled at the strength of women.

The house was filled with love and support, even though it was being emptied of the remnants of my ten-year marriage.

During the days, I felt beyond blessed.  Nights were harder.

God, I need to be honest: I am so sad.  I am sad that my husband left me.  He won’t even communicate with me.  I know that his problems run deep and that his absence really doesn’t have anything to do with me. It’s all HIM.  But it is still very hurtful; painful to have been abandoned.  Cast aside.  Rejected. Strangely, I don’t have ill will toward him. I wish I meant enough to him for him to turn his life around.  But, again, I can’t turn this on myself.  I guess not having ANY answers is what is so frustrating.

LORD GOD, I wanted to be married.  I wanted a husband and a home and a family.  And now I am single, homeless and unemployed.

God, I don’t understand.  Fill me. Fill my emptiness.  YOU are here.  You.

In the midst the moving frenzy, I was trying to figure out a way to get my husband served.  I had started the process of divorce by filing, but he needed to legally “receive the message” and then file a response, in order for the divorce to move forward.

The problem was that I had no idea where he could possibly be, or if I’d ever see him again.

I became increasingly anxious.  I just wanted him out of my life, but had to do it properly.

Since I had decided to forgo using a lawyer, I researched the serving process as best I could.  I narrowed it down to two options: (a) hire a process server in Australia to hunt him down, or (b) serve via publication in an Australian newspaper.  Neither seemed very promising until Option A fell into my lap.

My dear college friend, Melissa, had a one-legged ex-boyfriend (yes, true) who was now married and living in Australia.  He just so happened to have worked as a process server at one point in his life (pre or post-motorcycle accident, I am not sure).  Melissa got in touch with him.  After hearing my story, he offered to take a day off work to drive to Sydney to track down and serve my husband the divorce papers, free of charge.

It seemed like an amazing plan, so I immediately him sent the papers via FedEx.  It would take a little while, but my anxiety was relieved.  Thank God for one-legged ex-boyfriends/international process servers who are skilled in covertly hunting down douchebags.

Then, unexpectedly, I received an email from my husband.  He didn’t know where I was, what I was up to, how I was feeling or what my plans were.  He also wanted to know if his check had arrived.

My heart was filled with anxiety once again.  I was no longer committed to picking up the pieces of our obliterated marriage, yet I was hurt and infuriated by my husband’s continued selfishness.

I carefully worded my response.

It’s been a long time since we have communicated.  I honestly would prefer to talk to you in person, not over email anymore.

The last check that came through was at the end of February.  Nothing since.

Do you have a mailing address in Australia?

He didn’t really have an address down under, but said I could send emergency mail to the magazine’s office.  He then told me of his plan: he would be returning to Los Angeles in a few weeks, and then return to Sydney.  Of course, we didn’t have to decide anything over email, but he was not happy with the way we ended, at all.  He went back and read through our emails from the start of his trip and was disappointed.  He explained that he was excited at the possibility of what we could have created, but that it had been shattered into a million pieces.

I shook and sobbed as I read the last part of the email.  I did not understand how he could still continue to freely blame me for the ending of our marriage, especially from thousands of miles away.  He never once lifted a moving box or wept over a picture in a frame. He didn’t even know I had filed for divorce, and he certainly didn’t seem to care.  Furthermore, I had just sent the papers to Australia; would he be home before he had a chance to get served?   I became angry at myself for not having filed for divorce the very second I had learned of his affair.

The very thought of his laziness and cowardice sent pulsating waves of rage, hate and malice through my blood.

But I did not have time to mourn or be angry.  I had to keep going.  I had to move out.

April 17, 2010

Everything is clean, done.  I am moved out.  I am sitting here on my deck for the last time in this chapter of my life. 

Amy drove with me over to Curt and Kathy’s before heading back home.  I have all my stuff there.  It’s hard.  God, I am sad and my heart is heavy.  The life I built here is gone.  And still my home remains, but nothing inside.  Oh, Lord, it breaks my heart.  So much work and time and I know You have a plan for me but I am still holding on.  God, I need your help in letting go.

Isaiah 41:10 ~ So do not fear, for I am with you: do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I went back inside after penning my prayer, and headed through the open hallway towards the back bedroom. There was a heaviness about the room as I entered.  Oh, that room where so much love and pain had been shared.  I took a picture of the sunlight as it struggled to stream in through the window and warm the freshly painted wall.

I wandered down the short hallway and snapped a picture of the bathroom, then the guest bedroom.  Then, I headed out to the main part of the 900 sq. foot house.

I sat down in the middle of my living room.  The original hardwood floors were still shiny and wet from having just been mopped.  I listened to the birds as they joyfully sang outside.  A gentle breeze floated through the open bay window. The sunlight poured in with ease and illuminated the deep, warm color of the floor. The house seemed so small in its emptiness, yet it seemed to creak, groan and yearn for newness and hope.

I sat, silent, only for a little while.  Goodbyes are never easy, but I would be back.  I took a deep breath, smiled, and patted the floor.

“Goodbye, House,” I whispered.

Little did I know that day, I would never set foot in my house again.

Stamp.

April 2, 2010 ~  Good Friday

I Corinthians 4:16-18 ~ Therefore, we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Father.

It is a beautiful morning.  Quiet and crisp.  The birds are singing. Wimbley is with me, atop this deck.  He’s on the lookout.  This week has been the biggest of my life: leasing the house and letting go of my husband.

Lord, I do not know what you have for me, but I’m willing to go.  I am focusing on You.  May my heart be seen by You.  I love my husband, I do.  Yet I love myself and I know he is not right for me like this.  This is not the husband that loved me, or You.

Oh, these times I have cherished in my own backyard.  Moments with You – all moments with You.  On my knees, on my face; sobbing, hurting, pleading, wondering – and now (I sit) before You and feel peace.

I lift my husband up to You.  God, he needs you desperately, as I do.  Jesus, as You said on the cross so long ago – “into Your hands I commit my spirit,” and – “It is finished”.

I am so tired.  I know more work is ahead of me.  But may I remember this Peace – Lord, I am anxious but I trust You.  I trust that this is the right thing to do.

Ten years, five months and three days.

I trust You.  Lead me!

April 3, 2010

This is the first day of my new life!

I filed for divorce yesterday.   Tried to file at the Pasadena courthouse but was told that I had to go downtown.  Shaking.  Andrea accompanied me and we passed by the Disney Concert Hall; tall, beautiful buildings downtown.  Entered the courthouse and went up the escalator.  Brief feeling of good memories with him on the escalator.  How we used to kiss and hug whilst riding on one.  Wave of sadness.  Up to the 4th floor.  Line looked long but it didn’t take but two minutes.  This is what people do, everyday.  They get divorced.  They stand in line to get divorced.

Wrote check for my court fee.

“Memo…memo…thanks for 10 years?  Thanks for cheating on me?  Abandoning me?  I still love you?”

No…memo was, “GOOD FRIDAY”.

White out, caked and crumbly.  Must fill out “Central District” instead of “Northeast”.  Shaking.  Andrea helps fill in “111 N. Hill Street”.  Court address.

Sounds that will haunt me forever: the sound of stamping.

STAMP.

Frantically fixing court address on all copies.

STAMP.

The clerk’s calm voice: “This is complete”.

STAMP.

Writing faster.  Head spinning.  Weak knees.

STAMP.

“This is complete.”

I hand him the last paper.

STAMP.

“You’re all done, Leslie.”  Clerk is calm, almost sympathetic.

My head hits the counter and I start to sob.  Andrea grabs my folder and helps me out the door.  We are both crying.  I can’t breathe; I can’t find the door.  I can barely walk.  I am wearing a black dress and black Stuart Weitzman heels.  (Husband would love the detail.)

I calm down as I get outside – see the Concert Hall before me.

I text all my friends as we walk to the car.  “10:32 a.m.  I filed for divorce.”

And we “celebrate”, but it is a mixture of drunkenness (sadness), excitement for the future, and exhaustion.

Went home, took a nap.  Joy came up from Orange County to stay with me…we drove to Long Beach so I could sing at church.

It is, after all, Good Friday, the day that You died for me. The day that I attribute the death of all sin, and the death of my marriage — only now it is committed into Your hands.  Only You can resurrect and redeem. Maybe not the marriage or my husband, but me.  You can redeem ME.

Good Friday service I could barely hold my head up to sing, but You gave me strength.

How high, how wide!
No matter where I am,
Healing is in Your hands.
How deep!  How strong!
Now by your grace, I stand –
Healing is in Your hands.

Oh, God, in You I am, indeed, complete.

A Brand New Storm

We immediately headed back into counseling.  It would be our last session together.

Ever.

We made yet another deal.  The time frame was actually my husband’s idea.  He would give himself one month — not nine! — to “make it or break it”.  My end of the bargain was to give him as much support as he needed, without putting pressure on him.  We all shook hands and marked our calendars.  March 16th was the “deadline”.

One month was better than nine.  I felt a huge sense of relief, yet still frustrated.  It didn’t seem fair. My marriage counselor pulled me aside.

“Leslie, I know this is SACRIFICIAL, but I do believe it will be like that paradox of the Prodigal Son/ Waiting Father parable.  If you love him, set him free.  Then he will have the freedom to really return to you out of love, not law!”

More than anything, I wanted my husband to return to me out of love, so I agreed.   We also agreed to pray for and encourage one another.  In addition, we would utilize the daily devotional book that our counselor had recommended.

To this day, I read it, even though the title makes me giggle.  “Jesus Calling!  Hello?!”

Andrea and I were committed to a bachelorette party that weekend in Palm Springs.  It was a much-needed getaway.  We would be staying in a lovely home with a sparkling pool, drinking champagne cocktails, watching girly movies, painting our nails and celebrating the end of our dear friend’s singlehood.  Furthermore, I couldn’t wait to drive the golf cart.

Andrea picked me up Friday afternoon in “The Potato”.  My husband helped me carry my luggage to the car.

“Hey, will you email me ‘Jesus Calling’ while I’m away?” I asked him, as he loaded my tiny suitcase onto the smooth, leather seat in the back. I fumbled in my purse for my sunglasses.

“I will,” he said.  He shut the door.  I found my glasses, but held them in my hand.  We stood, awkwardly, for a moment.

“Have a safe trip to Australia,” I offered. His flight was leaving that Sunday — just a few hours before Andrea, the Potato and I would return to Los Angeles.

“I love you, Leslie.”

I searched his face.  Perhaps I was searching his soul.
“I love you, too.”

He gave me a hug.  I got in the car, and we drove away.

As I was relaxing on day two of the bachelorette weekend with my girlfriends, my husband wrote me.  He had typed out the “Jesus Calling” devotional.  In addition, he said that he missed me, and wanted a new start.  He thought we could be better than we ever were.

I want to believe you, I responded.  Just please keep in touch.

He said he would keep in touch, and this time would be different.  He was praying for God’s will, and also praying that he would do a good job.  He hoped that his career would excite me again.  He wanted big things for both of us.  He imagined flying from Australia to New York, catching a cab and meeting me in my dressing room just before I took the Broadway stage.

I just want to start with being loved and trusting you, was my response.

I understand your personality.  I also think reality needs to be dealt with gracefully.  Our dreams won’t be accomplished if we cannot handle the small, daily things in our lives.  My dreams have never changed.  My reality has.

Some of my dreams include being with you, traveling together, taking even just a weekend – no phones or computers – to remember who we are together. Get to know each other again. We are still living such separate lives and it makes me sad. 

My husband left the country on February 21, 2010.  He called me on his way to the airport to say goodbye.  We told each other — again – that we loved each other.  March 16th was just around the corner, and I was grateful to have an end in sight.

I’ll never forget the way the sky looked that day, as Andrea drove us back from Palm Springs.  It was astounding.  The clouds were thick and billowy, yet the sun’s brilliant light had no trouble shining through the darkness.  The mountains were still lightly dusted with snow; the air was clean, balmy and fragrant.   I was filled with an overwhelming sense of peace.
It was the calm before the storm, but this was a brand new storm: one that would fuel me with strength and clarity.
Little did I know, as I captured random photos of the picturesque horizon, it would take my husband nine weeks and five days to return.  And, in that time, both of our lives would be forever changed.