Faith through the fog
I was living in San Antonio when my four-year marriage crumbled, and in turn, I did too. Those four years were some of the saddest, loneliest, and most difficult times I had gone through. In the beginning, our marriage, was full of love and great times. Eventually, once the honeymoon stage ended, a life of routine and endless sleepless nights proceeded. The marriage began to deteriorate quickly.
Few want to admit that they are headed into deep waters in their relationship, and I was no different. Still, I ignored all the red flags and pushed away any feelings of disappointment. Though I was married, I was living a life as a single woman since my husband was a restaurant manager and working unusual hours. We were, as they say, two ships passing in the night. There was a horrible feeling at the pit of my stomach that this was not going to work. I fell into a depression that was all apparent to everyone else but me.
At 31, I was losing weight drastically and weighed as much as I did in high school. The worry had taken a toll and I was falling deeper into solitude with little support around me. When I discovered that my husband was secretly looking to change careers in the midst of purchasing our first home, I knew something was dreadfully wrong. We were drowning in bills and I felt like I was drowning along with it.
One evening, crying, and feeling the most frightened I had ever been, I phoned my sister-in-law. I could barely utter the words that had been circling in my head for the past year. “I want a divorce”, I whispered through my tears. In that moment I felt release, but I also felt as though I had just placed a ton of bricks on my shoulders all at once. The desolation of a marriage is not something anyone looks forward to. Moreover, having been raised a Catholic, I was deeply frightened at the thought I had to let my parents know what was really happening in my world. The very thought of it made my stomach turn.
“You shouldn’t be alone. I’m coming this weekend to be with you”, my sister-in-law said to me in that phone call. I was so grateful (and still am) to hear those words. I had been keeping this secret of my marriage falling apart to myself. When she stayed with me that weekend, I learned just how much I had lost myself throughout this ordeal. We laughed, we cried, and it felt like I had been visited by all the reminders of home. It was exactly what I needed.
During this turmoil, I had also lost my best friend of twenty years. It was heartbreaking. To this day, I believe the fallout between my friend and I tore me up more than my marriage falling apart. Once we went our separate ways, our circle of friends disintegrated. I felt completely lost. Though I had friends at work, I was often alone to my thoughts and desperation. Thankfully, I had a cousin and a dear friend in nearby Austin. When I needed to escape for an evening or a weekend, they were there for me. Always reminding me that I was not alone. I escaped whenever I could.
I did not know how I was going to move on. My husband had left me a pile of debt and since I was working retail, I was barely making ends meet. Paying off the debt was like climbing Mount Everest. Still, I was determined to stay in San Antonio instead of returning home and feeling defeated.
One day I found myself driving into my church and walked into the chapel. I kneeled and cleared my mind of negative thoughts. I tried to clear myself of the fear and anguish I had been carrying with me for the past year. Then, there in the silence, a thought appeared like a whisper. “The more you get to know yourself, the more you will get to know God.” Over and over, this thought repeated itself as if it were speaking from inside of me. I remember that exquisite moment. It was then that I decided to leave all my fear, all my disappointment and all my broken dreams there in that chapel. Let go and let God.
My grandfather died that year. When I attended his funeral, I was taken back by the sight of the headstone. I had never seen our family name inscribed into stone. That had a profound effect on me as I realized how short life truly is. We are here for a short time and a life of misery I did not want for myself. “If you are not happy in life, then only YOU have the power to change it. No one can change it for you.” These words repeated themselves in my mind and I knew it was time to act and do what I had been dreading.
Upon returning to San Antonio, I filed for divorce and proceeded to arrange for my own apartment. I began to look for a new job and make changes that would help me climb out of the hole I had put myself in. With one step in front of the other, I made my way out of the dark and into a light that paved a way to all the things I wanted for myself.
That time in my life seemed like I was navigating through a thick fog. I had no idea where I was going to end up. I still had so many goals and dreams and it was about time I started in trying to achieve them. I wanted to be a makeup artist, a trainer and an executive and work with big brands like Dior. I had so many things on my career bucket list. One day when I started to breathe a little easier, I said a short prayer, " God, I am ready.” Two months later, not only did I meet my future husband, but I found my self moving to Austin, Texas for a new job.
In 2008, I became one of ten national account executives for one of my favorite cosmetic companies – Tarte. I traveled throughout the country as a brand trainer and worked with so many incredibly talented people. In 2010, I re-married to a wonderful man who was and is as ambitious as I am. Our courtship was a fairytale and in 2011, we became parents to our beautiful son.
When I look back at that time of my life, I often think of the people that helped me through it. I think of the times when all I needed was a friend to take me dancing to help me forget the depth of my sadness. I think of my closest confidant that was there to listen and lend a shoulder. I am grateful for family and all the love and support they poured into me. And above all, I am grateful that I had the faith in me and God to know that things were going to get better.
Today, life is more beautiful than I ever thought possible. I accomplished the things I wanted to in my retail career after all. My life is far from perfect, but whenever I start to doubt myself, I remember, “The more your get to know yourself, the more you get to know God.” And that is exactly what I do. I press on and let go of the fear and anxieties of life and let God take care of the rest.