A Few Shades of Gray:

My husband's request for a divorce taught me life isn't as simple as I thought

My ex-husband and I did everything the “right” way. We met when we were in high school but didn’t date until he was a third year medical student. We waited to get married until he was well established in his residency and had our first child only after he was established in practice and we were financially stable. I loved my husband, I loved our children, I loved our life. In my mind, we had the perfect life and nothing would ever change our storybook existence. In my myopic view, things were black and white. Choices were either right or wrong and there was no middle ground, no areas of gray. My life was close to perfect and I was insufferably self-righteous, believing my place in Utopia was secured because of my own decisions and actions.

Pride goeth before a fall and the fall from my self-created pedestal was far and hard. My husband’s unexpected request for a divorce left me shaken to the core. An unwanted and painful epiphany emerged through the darkness- life wasn’t as simple as I thought. The good guy doesn’t always win and sometimes the “happily ever after” we assumed was our rightful destiny takes a very unexpected turn. People are fallible and even when you think you’ve done everything according to the book, things may go terribly awry.

In my previous life, the one in which I wore rose-colored glasses (designer brand, of course), I judged people that were divorced.  Why didn’t they try harder, what did they do wrong, whose fault was it, I harshly queried?  My divorce made me understand that marriage is inherently vulnerable because it involves two human beings naturally full of frailties and faults. People like to say divorce is not an option but the harsh reality is, it always is. In the blissful naivete of first marriage, we can fool ourselves by thinking divorce isn’t an option but now we know the truth; divorce is a shadowy presence that lurks in the bottom of every bad argument, every period of discontent. The possibility of divorce is a palpable entity in a second marriage. We’ve experienced it in our first marriages and we know it can be an uninvited, unexpected intruder if we don’t keep vigilance.

Now that life has humbled me a bit, I see the shadows of gray, the possibilities of life throwing you a curveball you didn’t expect. If you live long enough, you will make mistakes and you will face difficult challenges. The question is how will you grow and learn from those experiences? I like to think that the mistakes, hard times and disappointments in my life have led me to a softer place of compassion and empathy for those that find themselves in tough situations. I’ve said goodbye to my former judgmental self who only saw life in black and white, good and bad. I see all colors now and gray, with its many shades, is one of them.

Categories: Single Stepping