Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ruin is the road to transformation

Last night I finally saw a movie that I’ve known I was meant to see the first time I saw a preview.

“Eat Pray Love”

I’m still surprised that I haven’t read it, being the avid reader that I am, but in a way I’m glad I went into the movie without any true idea of what was coming. I only knew that the character, Liz, was newly divorced and planning a year of travel through Italy, India and Bali to find herself.

Let’s see – I’m soon to be divorced and, I confess, absolutely in a daze about where my life is. This concept of finding balance and happiness couldn’t have come at a better time!

If you haven’t yet seen the movie, perhaps you should stop reading now. I don’t want to hold back on my thoughts and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. Just bookmark this blog post and come back later.

As for the rest of you…

I don’t know if it’s just me and my precarious situation, but this film really spoke to me. While Liz’s reasons for divorce were different from mine (she didn’t want to be married while it broke my heart to file), what came after was still the same. Feelings of despair and sadness mingled with what feels like a void instead of a future. Everything I had planned on or hoped for is out the window. There’s a giant question mark where my hopes and dreams used to be. Sure, none of us knows for sure what’s going to happen, but when you’re with someone for more than a third of your life, you develop a sense of where this is going. Without my partner in life I feel like I’ve fallen off the path without a map. This is nothing less than scary.

I envy Liz’s place in life that she could up and travel for a year to find balance. As a mom and a sole provider for my family, I don’t have such a luxury. If I want to find balance, I’m going to have to do it between 6-10pm on weekdays (somewhere between dinner, clean up, laundry, bedtime routine and possibly some fun or cuddle time with my kids), or in my spare time on the weekends.

Coincidentally, as I am typing this, Nine Inch Nails is on my iPod with “Every day is exactly the same.”

I loved so many things about the experiences in the movie – the food and friendship in Italy, and the Italian concept of finding joy in doing nothing. (I felt disappointed for her when she first moved on to India!) In India I appreciated her frustration at first in the Ashram, and how it was realistic for her to need time to find the quiet place within her that allowed her to finally…let go.

The most difficult part of the movie for me was her conversation with Richard, her friend at the Ashram, about what he had done to his own life. The very day before seeing the movie I had a poignant conversation with someone about me letting go of any feelings of responsibility I keep having for my husband’s well being. He has made the choices he has made, and just like we would tell our children, there are consequences for those actions. He’s going to have to take care of himself, just like I would expect me or any other adult to do, with whatever events that come his way. Interestingly, I was sorry for Richard and what he had been through, but I had no sympathy for him. My sympathy was for the family he had hurt, and subsequently lost.

In the end the movie left me with hope – hope that I will have love in my life again. While I’m trying to make the best out of the life I’m currently leading, I do have hope for another love that will give me the comfort and joy that I once had in sharing my life with someone. I even think I’d be better at it this time around thanks to being a bit older and wiser.

In the mean time, I’m going to keep searching for the balance I need, and keep healing. Grieving through a divorce is similar to grieving a death, and I don’t expect that process to be easy or fast. What I can do is look for joy in my life and perhaps the quietness that I long for. I realized this last weekend that I am truly craving peace, and it’s up to me to find it!


Mere said...

I will be praying for you, dear Merrie. I read that book and can't WAIT to see the movie. It looks amazing and I ADORE Julia Roberts. Keep your chin up <3

Love, Mere

Heather - Hopelessly Flawed said...

I was debating seeing this tonight so I skipped reading your review. Then I read the review on Plugged In and it was AWFUL! So I had to come back here and see what you said. lol

Still can't decide if I'm going to see it or not, but I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

Praying for you - strength, wisdom, and peace!

Anonymous said...

your a brave women

Anonymous said...

I happened to stumble upon your blog. I saw this movie at a very poignant moment of my life. For me, alot of what this movie was about hit home.

There is light on the other side. Today, I am full of hope. I feel like my life has direction, and in God's time ... I may get to experience love, again.

Love and light to you.

Anonymous said...

you have no idea how strong you are. you are beyond courageous, god is looking out for you and you will see that he has so much more in store for you in life that you could've ever imagined. merry christmas

Anonymous said...

Week three of rain on the west coast, alone and abandoned by my children for the holidays as they visit their father on the east coast, and sitting at home wondering what to do with myself besides researching meals for one and skin types on line, I light the “ambiance” (a/k/a a duraflame log) and open a bottle of red wine and settle into watch A&E or TLC shows (an on again off again and private fascination about other peoples’ lives) such as Hoarders, The Little Couple, Intervention, and when I am looking to be completely transported from the realities of the Bay Area, a marathon of Sister Wives). Sated after a few hours of mind numbing reality television, and despite being unable to get through the entire book, on a whim, I rent the movie, Eat Pray Love. The line “Ruin is the Road to Transformation” makes an immediate and lasting impression. However, having forgotten the exact wording, some days later, I “Google” the phrase and stumble upon your blog. Thank you for sharing your experience. It helps to know that there are other people out there in the world living in a similar situation. And while your pain is palpable, your remark about finding balance between 6-10 PM weeknights elicits a laugh for its truthfulness and also indicates that you are keeping a sense of humor. Humor is going to be your balance for a while because very shortly homework and sports will also be on the agenda between the hours of 6-10 PM. You are without a doubt a strong woman, and with any luck you will find love again. (Motto – “Let’s Make NEW Mistakes”) In the interim, believe in yourself and your decision. It may take some time for your children to embrace this decision, but after nearly thirteen years, my two teenagers completely understand my decision to leave their father, respect it, and are at peace with it. Who knew? So, hang in there. It doesn’t get a lot easier, but it does get a lot better.

Merrie said...

The amazing responses I've received from a few of you out there have been heart warming. Thank you for sharing your own personal experiences with me or for just sending me good wishes and prayers. I wish I could email you incredibly kind anonymous writers, but for now I'll just thank you for your kindness and sense of hope.
I can tell you that as the months have passed I have healed greatly and I feel more ready to take on the world than ever. I guess I should blog about that. :)

Unknown said...

God bless you, Merrie

I can personally identify with your pain and shock and if I were you I would cling to the quote from ELP for the hope it offers.

But here's the rub; the other woman who wants to pull my husband away from me and my daughters used the same quote to justify his leaving me! ie: out of divorce, he can find happiness with her.

My father died recently and the posts on the funeral home "guest book" told a different story. My Dad chose the other woman and it led to a life without his 8 children and 17 grandchildren. (THEIR only child died when he was 19 years old.)

The timing of my father's death was perhaps fortuitous for my situation. The "guest book" responses from family told the tragic story of the consequences and sadness of the ruins his wrong decision left in its wake; the pain and loss spanned 41 years. The words were powerful. My husband has recently made the decision to choose his family and LIFE. And I fully expect that the transformation within our marriage will be more beautiful and affirming than any illicit love could hope to bring.

One more thing, Christ is at the center of our lives and I believe it is for this reason that we are even ABLE to see truth for what it is.
I will pray for your continued strength, Merrie. I am so sorry for what you are going through.

Diane said...

I am home watching "Eat Pray Love" for the 4th time since January. I have not read the book. How I would love to go away for a year like Liz did. Separated for 2 1/2 years and today is my 27th Wedding Anniversary. I am sad.....and yet I am stronger emotionally, mentally, physically AND spiritually than I have ever been. My husband needs to be the adult in his life. Ruin is the road to transformation.....

Anonymous said...

Your post has given me a glimmer of hope and comfort when I feel like only darkness is surrounding me. Thank you.

Unknown said...

Dear Merrie,

I don’t know if this is pure coincidence or fate, but last night I watched for the first time the film, ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ starring Julia Roberts, and wrote down the words used in that film ‘ruin is the road to transformation’.

Why? Because I had cried all day due to the fact that I had just ended a relationship within which I had felt so secure and so loved that I thought it would last for ever. Those six very poignant words seemed to give me inner strength. I have to agree with you Merrie; the film gave me hope for the future; that through my unhappiness, my mistakes and failures, I can begin to build again a new life. Perhaps having experienced both love and then the losing of it, I will be able to ‘see’ the problems before they get out of hand. I know it’s a cliché, but without exception we all tend to wear our ‘rose coloured spectacles’ when first we fall in love. We don’t ‘see’ the true person; we see only what we wish to see. That of course works both ways (we are none of us totally without fault). Sometimes we are so afraid of losing the one we love, that we actually do something stupid enough to cause that very thing to happen. This is what happened in my relationship; but by my partner, not me. Again, like you Merrie, I cannot just up sticks and go travelling the world for a year; but I will follow in the footsteps of Liz in as much as ‘finding myself and being true to myself’ before I venture into another relationship. Loving one-self first must be the key. And so the ruination of my relationship will be the transformation of me.

I wish you every happiness in the future Merrie, which given the amount of time between your words in your website and now, may even be happening as I write these words.

from someone who truly understands

Montana Connect - Hiedi said...

It's a strange trip - how I found your blog post - but I was supposed to read this.

Thank you for your thoughts - I am going through the same thing of course with varied circumstances - but still - this movie touched me enough to blog about it myself.

You are a few months ahead of me on your journey....I hope it is going well.

I'm still starin at that big question mark......

Anonymous said...

I pray that you get through this and trust me life has very amazing surprises after going through difficult times.

SunDogGirl said...

I just happened across your blog. I was writing a journal and needed the exact wording of the quote "Ruin is the road to transformation."

Eat Pray Love is a wonderful movie, and a more wonderful book. BTW, she was able to travel for a year, because she lost all her money (gave it to her ex to get divorced) and immediately got an advance on this book to pay for the trip. It was a grand idea, and an example of how beautiful things are borne of the pain in our lives.

So...I hope that something beautiful has been born of the pain of your divorce, as it has of mine, and did of Liz Gilbert's. You write beautifully.

Love and light to you.

Anonymous said...

wow..that really touched my heart. You seem to be an amazing person. Just hang on will definitely find what you are looking for... till then Eat, Pray, Love !! God bless you !!

Anonymous said...

Merrie: I came across your post when I was looking for the Eat, Pray, Love quote about ruin and transformation. I read through your post and my heart breaks for you. I am in the process of a divorce and some days feel as though I can't possibly take anymore. It's strong women like you, that give all of us hope. Thank you.