Line in the Sand

I’m slowly becoming aware of a very specific line in the sand. If sand is my life. Which it isn’t because I’m not a beach person, no matter how much, in theory, I’d like to be.

I no longer think about my (I really want to say m-word, which more than suggests I have a long way to go in this department) marriage, I no longer think about my marriage on a daily basis.  I don’t know when it happened. There was no pivotal moment, no ringing of the bell curve sounding my sloping back down toward more even ground.

It feels like I’m getting about the business of living more than I’m thinking about my life.  Work is good, although I have to fight against the petty stuff coming out more than I remember doing in the past.  But after 18 years at the same place I think it’s pretty great to have just come back from a conference where I still feel my heart swell with pride at working among people who matter.  People who fight the injustices of poverty and inequity on the vastly unequal ground known as education.

But enough about the world, let’s get back to me.

I find myself returning often to that line in the sand.  There are actually many lines.  Markers by which days and weeks, months and years are measured.  When I try to remember how long I’ve known a person, my mind attempts to fix them to a spot on a timeline.  High school?  College?  Where was I living?  Was I married?  That’s the biggy that I still trip over.

Or I would if it was just a small bump in the road but it’s this “thing” – real and yet not real – an entity unto itself that can’t be ignored.  It can, however, be set aside.  And that is my big fat breakthrough.  The same AH HA! moment which seems like it came in an instant, in reality, took these two and a half years to come into focus.  Like a time-lapse camera focused on a blade of grass and allowed to capture days and days worth of growth.  When sped up and played back, that blade of grass just shoots straight up out of the ground.  Watching it, it’s easy to lose track of the snail-like pace at which it actually struggled up through the earth and grew up and toward the sun.

Becoming aware of the line in the sand was one thing.  Navigating the line that delineates my life into BC and AC – Before Chris and After Chris – is quite another.  A little bit like crossing fast moving water.  The minute I stick my toe in, I feel the tug of the Past pulling me away from the Now.  So I pull back. Because I have learned that the current will surely drag me in, down, under, away.  Into a slurry of emotion and memories until I can’t breathe and all I know is that my hopes and dreams have been drowned in this sea of sadness that has once again swallowed me whole.  But at least I never catastrophize or exaggerate. Still. That’s the way it feels sometimes.

I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m on the other side of this line for good but I’ve made it across enough times that even when the current does take me by surprise, I know that I’ll survive.  I will not drown.

Aha indeed.


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