Tonight is Christmas Eve and I have a new dress. I love it. The dress is black with interspersed vibrant colors with white. The dress is a Desigual. I bought it at Karma, a boutique downtown in the city I live in. The purchase was a Christmas present for myself. A symbol of a new beginning. In red on the back are the words we love. Words I choose to live by. I feel beautiful in the dress.
What I didn’t anticipate that as the evening drew nearer is that I would become very emotional to the point of sobbing. My children will be going to what used to be my mother-in-laws for Christmas Eve with their dad. I am not sad about this. In fact, I very much want my children to go. I want them to go and to have a good time. To laugh and commune with their grandparents, dad, aunt and uncle. I want them to have this connection and to make new memories with them. No, I am crying for an entirely different reason. I am crying because in the process of getting presents ready, writing out cards, packaging up some baked goods for them to share, it hits me that I will not be a part of this evenings festivities and I realize how accustom I have become to this and how this hurts me.
I don’t feel lonely. I have plenty of places to go. I have been invited to share meals with wonderful people in my life. No, I am crying because it is sinking in that in divorcing my husband, I also somehow became divorced from his family. I feel very much like a castaway. I have spent more time with his family in our lives together than I did my own. Almost every holiday was spent with them in some way and my girls and I spent immeasurable time with his mother who at one point I looked at as my friend. We talked to each other everyday and that has ended. For that I grieve and have a space that at the moment is empty and cannot be filled. I know that allegiance is to blood. I cannot change this, however, it does not keep me from wishing that we could have maneuvered through this with grace and somehow remained friends.
So in the twilight of this Christmas Eve I cannot say that I am not saddened. I feel this in every part of my being. When I write out their Christmas cards all that keeps going through my head over and over is that I never thought I would be divorced. I never saw this as part of my future. In some pretentious way I guess I thought I was immune to such a thing, that I would do anything to not be divorced. And yet, that is where I find myself. And I weep. I weep as I go through the gift that my now ex-husband has brought for me.
Prior to this, tonight would have been a happy occasion. My favorite part of the evening would have been the candlelight service that I made my family go to long after they wanted to go to bed. That is the only thing I ever insisted on. I would have went whether they did or not. I always needed to go to this service in order to feel the peace of Christmas. I love the candlelight as it dances against the darkness of the night, the music that pierces the silence brings me to that moment of Christ’s birth and I am filled with awe and wonder.
However, with the change in my marital status, I am finding things that I used to do are not providing the same feeling of fulfillment that they once did. So when faced with going to the same service this Christmas Eve, I did not welcome it. The church that I attended with my husband and family no longer holds a place of comfort for me. This saddens me as well. As I sit in the quiet created by my children leaving, I will embrace a new beginning. I will go to a candlelight service at a new church who has welcomed me as part of their family. It is a small church filled with people who have enormously big hearts. I am ever grateful to them for their unconditional love and embrace. I do not know if it will be my new home for my spiritual journeying, all I know right at this moment in time is that it is what I need and for that I am blessed.
As I sit here, I am faced with a decision. Do I go to any of the places I have been invited or do I quietly spend some time by myself contemplating where I am and where I want to be going? I do have a new dress that makes me feel very chic but I think my new dress and I will spend some quiet time at home before going to candlelight service at 11:00. I do not feel up to socializing and putting on a happy face. I need to be alone, to feel this emptiness, to feel this separation from his family, to feel my sorrow, to grieve this ending. I know that there will be many more endings to grieve as I walk this new path, choosing how to be with it in those moments.
My new dress and I wish you a magical Christmas. One that you will find filled with wonder, awe and yes, maybe even new beginnings. Find that quiet moment that takes your breath away, unearth it and immerse yourself in being with it. This is your time of truly living, of being alive. Do not be afraid of what you uncover, everything is a treasure, sometimes you just have to change your perspective of what treasure is. May your blessings be as vast as the stars. From me and my new dress. God Bless.