If you haven't checked out this video yet, take a moment to do so.
No, really. Take a moment. I'll wait.
I think this video describes perfectly the sense of unease I've been battling these past three years.
Since I was a teenager, I have always loved the quote from A S Byatt -- "This is where I have always been coming to. Since my time began. And when I go away from here, this will be the mid-point, to which everything ran, before, and from which everything will run. But now, my love, we are here, we are now, and those other times are running elsewhere."
Isn't it beautiful? The idea that one moment could so alter the path of your life? And isn't it frightening? The notion that a single event could define your purpose - could be the single climax of your story? There's something in that quote that hints of fate. It alludes to a power greater than our own, some guiding force which steers us in the direction we need to go if we are to find our mid-point.
I thought I had found my mid-point, once. A map of my life hung square in my mind, and I had marked one memory with a smooth red pin. But life...happens. Life is messy. Life makes a mockery of our carefully charted plans.
Heartache is hard for romantics. We don't like to see the gritty side of love. We don't like to acknowledge it's propensity for destruction. We spend hours blathering on about how it makes us brave, makes us strong; then love dumps us on our rumps and we fall silent. What can we say when the one thing we placed faith in fails us? Usually not much that we can stomach.
But here is the truth; here is the horrifying, awful truth that I have never wanted to discover -- OUR LIVES DO NOT HAVE A MID-POINT.
Do you hear me? Can you hear me there, worlds away? Has my voice traveled far enough to reach all you romantics, currently roiling in grief?
A failed venture, however crucial it seemed, does not condemn your story as a tragedy, because our stories do not have a mid-point. We are not destined for one moment. We are destined for every moment.
We were designed to love, and to lose. To burst with joy, and shrink in pain. We weep at both both ends of the emotional spectrum, and for good reason: we were born to feel both sides. Our tears let us know we have succeeded.
In the months after my divorce, I was adrift. My love had so shaped my life that I wasn't sure how to move forward without it. Some days I still feel stuck. But it has occurred to me recently, finally, that my life has been equally shaped now by my loss. And even more importantly, I have been shaped by my rebuilding. I have found, in my pain, more strength than I knew I possessed. I have discovered that my story is far more than one of desperate love.
The map of my life still hangs in the walls of my mind, and on it I have plotted a second memory with a shining red pin. This one marks the day I climbed from my bed, washed the tears from my cheeks, and faced the road ahead.
I am leaving behind this fear of not knowing my story's arc. I have no use for it. I am charting my story every day. And when I am done, I will have a brilliant map covered by a trail of red pins, unfurling behind me like breadcrumbs, marking my journey.