After listening to a deep inner call, I was compelled to leave my husband of 14 years, and 3 young children, I hung out in denial for years as a means of coping with the path I’d chosen. Hindsight shows me that I took on a disproportionate share of the damage from the fallout, sentencing myself to fifteen years of guilt and shame.
As began my ascent out of denial, I slowly and carefully worked at fitting the pieces of my life back together. I often found myself singing the words of Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park.”
Spring was never waiting for us girl/ It ran one step ahead …/MacArthur Park is melting in the dark/All the sweet, green icing flowing down/Someone left the cake out in the rain/And I don’t think that I can take it/‘cause it took so long to bake /And I’ll never have that recipe again/Oh, no!
For me the lyrics come to mind as one part of my life ends and I’m left standing in the rain, melting in the dark. I don’t think I can take it and fear I may never be able to bake a new me without that recipe.
As I absorbed myself in identifying, examining, and reconstruction the choice I made, I began to build a new recipe. I delved into making sense out of the abandonment issues running through my family and add the first few ingredients for my new recipe:
one tablespoon of purpose/half a cup of confidence/ a dash of grit.
I become more comfortable in my life and move into a spiritual practice.
I tenderly remove the muslin cloth from my new recipe and sprinkle it with various flavors of learning. I carefully replace the cover and return it to the pantry of my heart to let it dulcify as I proceed on the pursuit of my new identity.
Next came re-parenting myself:
My unconventional recipe is beginning to overflow. I transfer all the ingredients into a larger bowl. I add a pinch of forgiveness and tentatively knead the cake mixture before covering it up again, letting it sit for awhile longer. I still have to taste and select the other important ingredients necessary for parenting.
After revisiting old family patterns:
My recipe needs something else. I say a prayer as I blend in the last few ingredients. I reach for a bottle labeled “LOVE,” and add a cup to leaven my soul, and then a splash of “Joy” to enliven my Spirit. I give it all a stir and try again, sticking my finger in to scoop out a sample. Yummy. I lick my lips, we’re getting there. I pour it into a deep, magical dish and place it in a womb-like space to gestate, mindful of protecting it from the rain. I sense I will know when this cake recipe is complete.
Oh Yes! My new recipe worked—my cake is now fully baked. I remove the cake from its warm, protected space, let it cool and then serve myself a large, comforting helping of forgiveness. Success! Delicious Truth: there is nothing ‘wrong’ with me.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I…I took the one less traveled by,and that has made all the difference. –Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken