Prisons and Prisms
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Curves.
Some people change your life in extreme and wonderful ways, and they never know it. Sometimes Â theyâ€™re in your life only for a short while, Â sometimes Â only a moment, and sometimes theyâ€™re there unexpectedly and gone just as unexpectedly. And they never know. Theyâ€™re gone from our lives before they ever know what they started in motion.
On Monday night, near midnight, Shannon and I sat on the floor in the kitchen and rubbed Grendelâ€™s tummy and talked quietly about the future and where weâ€™re heading. She spoke of how important it is to her to earn her own Â money Â for Â a Â car, Â to Â do Â the Â research, Â to Â make Â a grown-up decision that she believes is best for her. Â She talked about knowing now what it is that she wants to do with her life and how exciting that is.
I talked about my after-hours meetings this week and the help Iâ€™m Â getting in implementing Â my plans. I talked about what it is that I want to do with the rest of my life and Â how Â exciting Â that Â feelsâ€”and Â how Â nervous Â I Â am about whether I can pull off this transition thatâ€™s coming. It occurred Â to me then how damaged I must have been by the time I divorced because I really had absolutely no belief in myself anymore at that point and how hard it is for me to accept that Iâ€™d so completely lost who I was, just to satisfy someone else, whether that was my parents, my husband, my colleagues, my friends, or just society in general. I was a rebel whoâ€™d allowed myself to be tamed and caged, and the best I could do was rage inside.
â€œIâ€™m glad,â€ Â Shannon Â said, Â â€œthat Â it Â happened.â€ Â She went on to explain that she was glad not for the pain but that with the divorce, Iâ€™d begun the process of reclaiming myself and that Iâ€™m now on such a different path than I ever would have been if Iâ€™d stayed put.
She pointed out that this wonderful transition that Iâ€™m working Â toward Â would never have happened if I hadnâ€™t broken free, and if a Â particular person after my divorce had not introduced me to so many possibilities. One per- son was a catalystâ€”unknowinglyâ€”to Â introducing me to new Â ways Â of Â thinking, Â to Â new Â groups Â of Â people Â who could teach me things I never knew existed, to new people that they knew Â who could show me paths I didnâ€™t know were there.
Shannon remembers a time when I waffled on the divorce proceedings Â because my ex put on his party manners and things got better for a few weeks before going south for good. I was terribly torn at the time because I was hopeful that we could work things out. If Â nothing else, it was probably my kids telling me to stay firm in what I wanted and not to give in, or else I donâ€™t think I could have done it. Had they not been so clear in seeing how Â unhappy Â I was with Â their Â father Â and with Â having made myself over for him, I would have talked Â myself into staying with him…again. Iâ€™m embarrassed now to realize how damaged I was then that a 14-year-old and an 11-year-old would be so resolute and I as the grown-upÂ was such Â a Â puddle Â of Â emotion Â and Â devastation Â that Â I
could barely function.
â€œArenâ€™t you glad now,â€ Shannon asked, â€œthat you did go Â ahead Â with Â the Â divorce? Â Even Â with Â how Â painful Â it was?â€ She points out that, to her, Iâ€™m a new person now, mostly positive, very open, going after things I never felt I could before. A whole new life.
She notes, too, that the catalyst for so much change in my life in the past two years was someone I never would have gotten to know if Iâ€™d Â been married. And that the most influential new people in my life over the past couple of years would not have been welcome in our house if Iâ€™d Â stayed married. That all that good stuff thatâ€™s come into my life would Â not have been there had I not gone through the pain. Itâ€™s almost as if everything came down to a pinpoint of one person Â and then angled Â back Â out broadly with new light and bright Â colors Â of possibility. Like a prism from the Dark Side of the Moonâ€™s cover. All light focusing down to one person who introduced me to new things and to new people who introduced me to new things to Â take Â me Â to Â this Â new Â future, Â all without Â ever knowing what theyâ€™d done for me.
Itâ€™s ironic that this catalyst who started the chain reaction of good things to come, this person, is no longer in my Â life. Â Itâ€™s Â ironic, Â too, Â that Â many Â of Â the Â people Â who came into my life in the past Â couple of years as teachersâ€”usually Â without Â knowing Â they Â were Â teaching Â me thingsâ€”have gone their way as well.
And none of them know the impact they had.