It was late and the rain was falling in droves. I was alone and disoriented. I had pulled over to the side of the road because I was too hysterical to drive. Tears streamed down my face as the sound of her voice replayed over and over in my head.
Being married was all that I knew in my life. I met my ex-wife in high school and we started dating at 16 years old. We were in love. So, we were married after graduation. Over the next decade, we saw the birth of two beautiful girls, the death of a son we would never know, and the purchase of home to fill with hope. We had been peas and carrots for the majority of our lives. But now, I was suddenly sitting in my car, in the middle of the night, on the side of the road in the pouring rain, and all I could think was, why? Why did this happen to me? How could she do this to me?
For the next 12 months, I struggled to breathe. My life was a darkness that violated every aspect of my existence. The days faded into one another as an endless anxiety raged within me. The night brought with it a companion of lifeless shadow disguised as deepening pain. I was haunted by the memory of her eyes as the last words she spoke to me left her cold lips. My visitor came to me as a reminder that I once held everything, but now I am nothing, and she set my flesh a-flame. My mind grasped aimlessly at the last bit of my identity. I was no longer a husband and my family was destroyed. I was suddenly stripped of my duty as a full-time father and I lost all sense of confidence in anything that I thought was real. I was a man without. A wandering refugee searching for a home. I was utterly broken. In my sorrow, I was stripped bare, and before my soul’s nakedness, I was found lacking. I had nowhere to run. There was no place hide. I had no choice but to stand face to face and confront the monster that I created by my past transgressions.
I remember the moment it happened. It was on a Sunday. It was the beginning of letting it all go. I was alone and deep in meditation. I had taken up various forms of self-reflection and isolationism to help me understand who I really was. Because, for much of my adult life, I willingly built my sense of who I thought I was from other people’s perceptions of me. In my mind, I needed people to grant me permission to love myself, to shape my identity, and give me the value that was my self-worth. I sought after the approval of others like an addict seeking their next fix. Their opinions were all that mattered to me. I needed to be the center of their universe for the sake of my ego. My desperate need for people’s validation was a sickness and I had no way to find the cure until I was forced to confront reality.
I never took the time to listen as the melody of my soul sang my personal truth. I had no way to comprehend that the deep emptiness I felt in my heart could only be filled by the grace that accompanied the harmony of love in my divine nature. It is sacred simplicity manifested in the purest form of love that exists in us all. I looked to the profane for acceptance. All I could feel was the weight of my shame and the bitterness of my pain since that rainy night. I was the anchor and the ocean was swallowing me whole. As I sat silently in sunlight, a sudden wave of clarity embraced me and at that moment my mind was free. I was liberated and my thoughts were unfettered. Like the dancing light that is born of the sun, I saw the truth. I remember reviewing the events that had brought me to this point in my mind. Except this time, it was different, I had seen this movie play out time after time in my head. I had become so accustom to my biased version of events that I repeatedly told myself, “it’s not your fault, what happened was all on her, she was to blame, she did this, and she was the reason why my life fell apart.”
Deception was the routine. But as I sat, I experienced utter humility, and here in this moment, was the beginning of the rest of my life. It was in the serenity of the moment that I sat there breathing slowly in and out. With each breath, I sunk further into meditation and it was there that the reality of what really transpired came to rest in the center of my mind. I relived every minute of the events that had brought me to that rainy night, but with a twist. I was forced to experience my own personal hell without my bias and justifications for the first time in my life. I alone, was left to confront the illusion that my warped pride had created.
Objectivity is the cruelest form of accountability for someone defined by self-deception. I had no choice but to watch. I saw my choices and actions from all points of view. My choices affected all those around me on a level I had not yet understood until this point. I was horrified by how blinded I was by my need to blame others for the sake of my pride. Somewhere in all of this, a deep appreciation developed as I awoke to the part I played in the demise of that relationship and to the fact that something had been missing all along. I accepted that I was the source of my suffering. and no one else. I was humbled before the gravity of truth. Seeing our individual role in situations for what they are and not as we want them to be is a lesson in higher truth.