My church is putting on a Broadway sampler this weekend and since no one should be put through the torture of watching me sing and dance I was asked to shoot a few photos for the slide show. The assignment was simple: husbands kissing their wives on the cheek.
I traipsed through my neighborhood, camera slung around my neck, searching for willing victims. But I was sobered as I ambled around the block gazing on the homes of my friends– nearly every other house held a single man or woman: widowed, divorced, widowed, widowed, divorced, divorced, divorced, widowed.
I did, of course, get the needed photos and drove to Office Max for CD cases and labels. Bewildered by the many choices in the CD aisle I stood staring blankly when I heard my name called. It was a running friend that I now only saw in passing as we prowled down the same dark, early morning streets. As we caught up, I asked about her husband. Her face fell, “We’re divorced. It was final 6 months ago.”
She had in fact, been standing in Office Max nearly a year ago when she found out her husband wasn’t on a business trip like he’d claimed, but was in Hawaii with his girlfriend. I now saw how tired and worn she appeared. “I thought my life was perfect. And then it all crashed down on me.”
Sadder still, he hasn’t even called his 3 teenagers in the past 6 months. They feel completely rejected and abandoned. I can scarcely imagine the weight rebuilding my life and carrying my own grief and that of my children’s through those months…..years.
I cried all the way home. Sorry for her, sorry for all my friends walking through life alone.
All of us know that our life can change in a moment: a car crash, a dr.’s diagnosis, losing a job, losing a child. And especially in the time of economic crisis I feel the anxiety in the air. I feel a bit guilty about my shiny, happy life– taking pretty pictures, playing with my kids and writing stories.
So much sadness fills the world that I often feel overwhelmed, but cute Ben found a new song for me this weekend ( I tell you, these 16 year olds are useful people) that echoes what I truly believe– despite the sorrows and heartache all around us– “I know the heart of life is good.”
I know it’s good.