This morning I woke up with this thought:
I am single.
It was shocking. I am no longer married. I am not part of a couple. I am a middle aged woman who lives alone. I don’t like it. The big Red stinky dog may take offense to that, but it is a fact. This is not an ad for Christian Mingle in any way, shape, or form. But it is a new realization. One that makes my skin crawl to be honest.
When I talk about Rebecca and Molly I am not sure whether to refer to them as “our” daughters or “my” daughters. Is Red “my” dog or “our” dog? Is this “my” house or “our” house; the house “we” built together? “We” wanted to travel to Italy, “we” wanted to build a patio, renovate the basement, host dinners for friends and spend time with family. These were all “our” desires. How do I feel about them now? Plain and simple: I don’t know.
When you spend 30 years with someone, you cannot make decisions unilaterally. Mike and I were sensitive to how our choices would impact the other, regardless of how big or small it was. It was a foundation of respect for one another. We learned over time not to assume what the other wanted, needed, or thought. We learned how to communicate better but we had not perfected it. Who does? We did our best encouraging one another’s strengths and tried not to take shortcomings personally. Again, in our humanness, we did not achieve perfection. We spoke truth to one another and we checked one another when needed. When I said something that was not necessary (and Rebecca, Keith, and Molly, you know full well what I am talking about! Think Grand Canyon…), Mike would shake his head and smile (most of the time) and say, “Trishhhhh….”. And sure enough, I would replay the tape in my head and most of the time, be embarrassed by what came out of my mouth. And I did the same for him. Now Red just stares at me with those deep brown eyes and gives me a lick. Comforting, but not all that helpful. To go from that kind of largeness of thinking; considering others, to living alone is an adjustment.
Going from “WE” to “me” is a struggle. “WE” is in caps because to me, it feels stronger, more stable. Mike and I made a good team and I believed, with God’s help, we could conquer anything. We had several opportunities to prove that. “me” is in lower case because I feel small. That’s it. I know that is not true, that it is only a feeling. I know that because I have done things the last year, with God’s strength, that I never thought I could.
Maybe this is what the second year will teach me. How to think differently and identify what is important to me. It will take some time for me to figure all of this out. After all, it took 30 years of working at it for us in the opposite direction! I hold onto this promise from Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans I have for you (Patty),” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you (Patty) a future and a hope.
I cling to that promise as I enter this new season of life. It is still “do the next thing” and “be patient” but I know a lot will happen this year and with this kind of promise, I can rest knowing I do have a future and hope.