“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
So much has happened over the last few months. For those of you who didn’t already know, my marriage of 16 years ended on September 6th. I am newly single. I am living alone for the first time in my life. I am trying to find a full-time job. I am adjusting to everything I have known for most of my adult life being changed all at once. I know that I am NOT the first person to go through this and I unfortunately won’t be the last either. I am also not the first person to get rejected at interview after interview…although it feels like that right about now. There are so many things that could have caused me to just give up, but I won’t let that happen. Why? Because I am Firebird!
This last weekend I had the rare opportunity to visit with an old friend of my brother’s who I haven’t seen in years. That in itself is not rare, but it just so happened that the reason for the visit was because he wrote and directed a movie that is now in theaters and we were all there to support him. The movie is called Unconditional and our friend Brent McCorkle not only wrote and directed it, but he also wrote some of the music for the movie as well. Going to see this movie was a first for me. Not only was it the first movie that I had seen where I actually knew someone involved in a movie’s making, but it was the very first time I had gone to a movie by myself…all alone…solo. I treated myself to some popcorn and a drink and went in and sat down. There were several previews prior to the start of the movie and I found myself a bit overcome with emotion. I knew that based on the previews for Unconditional that I expected it might require some tissues (and it did), but I didn’t expect the reality of my situation to bring me to tears prior to the movie starting. I did my best to compose myself and the movie soon began.
I was fascinated watching the movie that I actually knew the writer/director. I tried to think about what he must think when watching a screening of one of his films, and I soon found myself listening for the reactions of the other moviegoers. Were they laughing at the right spots? Did they seem as engaged as I was? At one point I even realized all I could hear over the sound of my own sniffles were the sniffles of those around me. The movie was very touching and is a great example of why it is so important not to judge a book by its cover. It is one I plan to buy for sure and may even go back and see it again.
Part of the way through the movie I came upon a shocking moment. Let me first take you back with me to a day some years ago when I was looking up at a stormy sky in the middle of the afternoon. I remember thinking how ominous the sky looked and thought how dark and dreary everything was at the time. The clouds cast a shadow on all I could see and there wasn’t any sign of the weather letting up anytime soon. It was then that a thought popped into my head which could only come to someone who has flown in a plane. If you’ve ever taken off in a rainstorm you know just how turbulent things can become as you ascend through the clouds. What amazed me was that once you broke through the storm, there was nothing but blue skies above you. This is something I have thought about for many years. So now, there I am sitting watching a movie and I hear this exact lesson being told back to me by one of the main characters in a story about an oriole named Firebird who had to learn this lesson for himself. It moved me to tears…again. I realized at that moment that my life had been shrouded in storm clouds. It was now up to me to remember that regardless of how turbulent my life may seem there are always blue skies above me. It was as if I was being reminded of that fact through this wonderfully amazing movie I was watching. It was almost poetic that I was watching the movie alone as it is alone that I again must realize this truth.
So, here I sit in my apartment contemplating the path my life is going to take. As the quote earlier referenced, this is not the life I had planned. I’m in uncharted territory right now. I’m making things up as I go along. I’m realizing over and over that you never realize how strong you CAN be until you HAVE to be. I know it’s just a matter of time before my life will have some normalcy, so I’m trying to be patient and let it play out the way it’s supposed to go. There are so many people dealing with so many more difficult things in their lives than I am, so I’m focusing on the things I am thankful for in mine. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for my family and their health. I am so very fortunate to have the family and friends I do as their support has been unending. I know that not everyone who goes through a divorce comes out of it thinking of blue skies. Maybe I’m a rare breed. Maybe I am Firebird. Sure I have my moments when all I want to do is cry, but I also know that without the rain we will never truly appreciate the sunshine.