A decade ago, the trajectory of this illness was looking like a steep dive into certain and impending doom. I began preparing myself and my children emotionally for the worst. Having returned to Pennsylvania, it became clear that the resources available for my psychological and spiritual sustenance were anemic. I did not know how I was going to do it, but at a certain point I knew I needed to return to my home in Crestone, Colorado. Crestone is where I chose to move after Katrina. It is a magical town where most of the world’s spiritual centers are represented, a place where I could heal my heart that was shattered after the diagnosis and the hurricane. David and I packed what we did not sell and move to Colorado.

I had recently surrendered to the use of a wheelchair prior to the journey to Colorado, when during the move I had a horrific accident shattering my right femur somewhere in Missouri. I managed to wait for the emergency room in Lincoln, Nebraska where my femur was reconstructed during surgery. The accident left no ambiguity about my physical limitations, in that I was unable to bear weight for many months which rendered me virtually helpless. Although this accident could have been avoided by myself or my husband, the incident created an irreversible separation in my marriage. Perhaps, if the marriage had been able to sustain what was to come, it might have been surmountable. Instead, it revealed a major fault line which would be addressed in the coming months.

When David asked for a divorce, I was not prepared for a future with unknowns to the degree that was being presented. To say that I was terrified of what my future might bring would be a gross understatement. Fortunately, I had close friends and family to rely on for emotional support. And rely on them I did.

Six years later, I can look back in amazement at the level of letting go I needed to accomplish in order to be in this place of acceptance. I can understand now why few marriages survive what is required to stay present to this rigorous curriculum. My life today in no way resembles my life just six short years ago. When I surrender more completely, my life appears monastic, holy. During these times of surrender, my present mission becomes more clear and joyful. The humanitarian life I have chosen, or has chosen me, has become more subtle and almost mysterious as I am able to transition to a deeper understanding of that expression. During the times that I refuse to accept my rigorous assignment, I fall into a dense grief regarding the past. This provides a vital practice for living in the present moment and I clearly understand the expression, “all we have is now.” The level of connection that is available to me with myself and others deepens considerably as I let go of my secular life; my life with the belief that a functional body is central and necessary.

I can understand and accept why others might have a hard time subscribing to such a rigorous journey. It is understandable that the divorce rate is so high when including a life-threatening, degenerative illness. Perhaps if I had accepted the likely trajectory and all of the expansiveness that was possible earlier, I might have held the opportunities in a more positive light. My perspective at the time was not very hopeful and I emanated that limited perspective. Had I been able to imagine the joy that was possible instead of wanting to be rescued from the hopelessness, I might have presented a more positive outlook regarding what was actually possible.

Perhaps such a rigorous and profound journey needed to be a solitary one for me in order to be fully experienced and integrated. I believe that everything happens in the right order and at the right time. As I surrendered to a greater Story of Holiness, a sense of mundane loneliness disappears. I am able to connect to the unseen world, heaven on earth, where love and connectedness is a given, where everything is possible and happening simultaneously. This is a place that is always available to me, to us, if we open to the Holy.

 

 

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