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Losing my Voice--part 3

Almost a year ago to the day I wrote the post, "Losing my Voice", about the beginning of a faith. Then I wrote a second post (Losing my Voice, part 2) about what losing my voice would mean for me as a MOTHER...ugh. This post will be about what happened eventually to my faith. This is another HEAVY post. There is no way for it not to be.

I used to tell my (now-ex) husband that I was so unhappy and did not think I could continue doing “this” for 30 more years. He would reply, “But you can do it for 30 more minutes. You made a promise to me and you made a promise to God. We keep our promises.” That sounded, truthfully, still sounds, so right to me. I want to be a person who keeps my word. A person of quality, of integrity. “We keep our promises” was definitely the moral high road. I wanted that. To take the high road. But I felt like I couldn't bear it. I felt trapped and optionless.


Remember that breakfast one November—

Cold black grapes smelling faintly

Of the cork they were packed in,

Hard rolls with hot, white flesh,

And thick, honey sweetened chocolate?

And the parties at night; the gin and the tangos?

The torn hair nets, the lost cuff links?

Where have they all gone to,

The beautiful girls, the abandoned hours?

They said we were lost, mad and immoral,

And interfered with the plans of the management.

And today, millions and millions, shut alive

In the coffins of circumstance,

Beat on the buried lids,

Huddle in the cellars of ruins, and quarrel

Over their own fragmented flesh.

Kenneth Rexroth (emphasis mine)

The thought of disappointing, FIRST, my children and SECOND, God, felt like tearing off my own arms, “…shut alive in the coffins of circumstance…” But I had stopped eating, stopped having any hope that life would be different, prayed daily to die. I kept thinking, “Surely my children would rather have an alive mother than a dead one. Surely that, too, is something God would want.”

So I prayed. Every single day. That I would BE different, think differently, be able at the end of the day to be enthusiastic and loving. Be able to honor GOD with my life. Every day. And all that happened was that I kept questioning with increasing intensity and desperation.

The actual end happened simply and suddenly. I was walking across City Hall Park in my hometown on my way to purchase a bottle of wine as a gift. It was a lovely afternoon. And a man, dressed in Hasidic garb, walked past me heading the other direction. That was it. No eye contact. No greeting. Nothing. But when I saw him and realized that his dress was a part of his form of belief, of worship, and realized that what I believed said he was fundamentally wrong, something inside me just snapped. I thought, "How dare you? How dare you claim to know the whole truth about something even you claim is unknowable?" And I knew I had to alter my absolutism.

I spent the next few months in a kind of frenzied contemplation. What would...could I do? I no longer believed what I had not just espoused but encouraged and taught to many others. The end of my faith meant also the end of my marriage, as it was based on an intractable, mutual faith. How did I leave and let down the world I had established?

Even now it mixes me up. Everything was so intertwined. I knew I had to think. I knew in order to think I had to have time alone. So, I simply started sleeping at a house my mother owned around the corner from my own house. Ultimately, I moved into that house, then purchased it, and over time established a different life. It was agonizing and writing it, even now, undoes me. But I am also deeply grateful.

These many years later, after thousands and thousands of hours of contemplation, I have come to a place of wonder. Is it possible that all those prayers--that I could BE different, ACT differently, BE the person I was created to be--were actually answered? In some way that I would never, ever have imagined? After the tragedy of it all, and still feeling deeply the wound of it, I live in a place of deep authenticity and meaning. I love the person who emerged from that desperation. I love the genuine notion that, if there is a God, he is not disappointed but deeply in love with least as much as I am with my own children...which is deeply, indeed.

I would not have written the story this way. I would have waved a wand and created the Lyn who was compliant and obedient and towed the line. Oh, how very grateful I am that I am not in charge. That whoever, or whatever, might guide our lifetimes granted me the immense courage it took to become myself.

Once again, may I pay it forward.

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