A week after my now ex-wife walked out on our ten year marriage I was in somewhat of a crisis. This was associated with being marooned in The Netherlands. What to do, what to do. And because of experience I knew very dearly that sudden decisions in times like this were most often a bad idea. The company that I worked for knew of the situation and the owner took me out to discuss the matter. We talked about many things of which I will not go into detail, but one of his pieces of advice I will reveal. It’s not earth shattering on the face of it, rather humdrum in fact.
He simply told me that I would need a full turn of the calendar year to get over what I was going through.
It’s been just over a year since that conversation and so now I feel that I should report on the state of affairs from the ground level.
He was right. A full four seasons are required to begin the process of moving forward and letting it go. The mindset that I have now is clarity and peacefulness defined as compared to only a few short months ago. The black days are gone, and they were so very dark indeed. Those of you who have read my first book have some knowledge of my previous trials and tribulations. They pale into insignificance as compared to this annus horribilis.
I still have moments when fragments of my married life flash briefly into my mind. These happen on a daily basis, but they come at such unexpected times that their effect is still momentarily disrupting. But I no longer feel the burden of betrayal, and nor do I feel the awfulness of my circumstances. The absence of these alone is a significant improvement.
I am quite proud of how I have handled this year. I managed to follow my own advice and not do anything too stupid. This is a considerable achievement when your life has fallen to pieces around you as the opportunities for stupidity are many and varied. I suppose the key to this was to go to ground, to not let the outside in. I worked, I went to the gym, I kept this website going, and on weekends I made sure to be very calm indeed. I saw no women at all; in fact, I made a distinct point of not partaking of any random opportunities that happened to cross my path. It helped that the random opportunities themselves were mediocre. The big guy looking out for me I presume.
Another aspect was that I viewed my circumstances as a personal challenge. We’re often good at personal challenges that are extraneous to ourselves, such as winning a race or writing a book. But when we are entwined with the personal challenge at an emotional level, that’s when things can get very difficult indeed, and this was about as difficult as it gets in that respect. So to have passed this challenge intact I am somewhat glad. I still wish that I needn’t have gone through this but we don’t get to pick what life throws at us.
Finally, because of the divorce I went back to Church after an absence of over 35 years. The old cliche that He works in mysterious ways is rather apt I suppose, although this wasn’t that mysterious; more like a giant kick in the butt. But I heard, and I listened, and that is the important thing. This never would have happened if I would have stayed married so I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. And because of that knowledge I find myself at peace with my life, which is a remarkable turnaround from that conversation a year ago.
I write these words only to give other men hope and comfort, for that is why I have on occasion publicly spoken about this matter. And I also think that it will give my next book some extra credibility, which will make it more valuable than I had originally intended. All of these are positive outcomes for what has been a most challenging experience. For those who gave me encouragement through this process you have my sincere thanks. And for those who in the future find themselves in the same shoes, take comfort in the knowledge that it can be done.