Meredith’s Musings: She Gave Up Her Husband for Lent
article by Meredith McKinnie
On Ash Wednesday, I accompanied my best friend of ten plus years to see a divorce attorney. I was nervous for her. Having been through a divorce myself seven years ago, I know the pain, the sense of failure, the scariness of the ending and the anticipation of a new beginning. Granted, it was the best choice I ever made. I’m more myself than I’ve ever been, and yes, I know that sounds cliché, and perhaps with time I would have gotten here anyway, but the divorce was the gunshot, the start to a race of finding myself, and I’m forever grateful for making that leap of faith. I want that for her, that self-assurance, that eventual peace, that ability to trust herself and her gut.
This friend of mine, this warrior, is one of the strongest women I’ve ever known, but it’s a quiet confidence, one easily overlooked. She can be quiet in social situations, though once she opens up, definitely opinionated. She’s beautiful, and not that in-your-face beautiful, but the natural, genuine soul, pretty face/maintained a waist, give you the shirt off her back, doesn’t know she’s beautiful, beautiful. She approached me in the summer before ninth grade year, when we were both trying out for the dance team, and though rhythm wasn’t her strong suit, it was the thing to do, so we did, and we bonded, both over a shared hatred of our manic dance coach and an appreciation for the bench during softball season sharing sunflower seeds. She was good people, and I felt it instantly. I didn’t scare her; she laughed with me, not at me. And her acceptance, honesty and goodness made me want to be better…she became a kindred spirit.
Fast forward sixteen years, and she still is. She’s the same go-to, listen to me rant, calm me or revive me friend that she was then. We talk almost daily, though our lives are much different. She has children, works 8-5, married, enjoys simpler things in life, but splurges on a Michael Kors bag type. I have a two year relationship, no children, freedom in the evenings to frequent the pub, and it’s still all about me, but somehow, we’ve always managed to stay connected. Life didn’t get in our way, at least not for long.
But over the last few years, I’ve noticed an unhappiness, a longing for something more. She was able to put on a happy face, go through the motions of life like a champ, handle her responsibilities and the blows of an unfaithful, tiring and frankly, immature husband. She did it with a smile and a diligence, an attempt to just get through the day, and this began to sadden me. I want more for her; I want happiness for her. And most importantly, I want her to know she deserves it. Somewhere in the midst of the bad marriage madness, I think she lost herself, couldn’t put a finger on the pulse of who she was anymore, and lost all desire to stand up for herself. But a little over a year ago, that all changed.
The switch flipped. This time was different. She had had enough. He crossed the same line he always crossed, but he had run out of lines. She kicked him out, and she meant it. When she first told me she was “over it,” I stood up after hanging up and did a battle cry. Not because she was hurting, not because I want him to suffer, but because my best friend had regained her strength and found her voice. She was no longer going to tolerate the mess. She was taking that first step, the first step toward change. I would love to say I know happiness is right around the corner for her, but sometimes the path twists and turns. But somewhere along the path, she’ll breathe again, easier and deeper, and find her way forward. She’s a warrior and won’t hesitate to muscle through anyone blocking her way. I’m already witnessing a restored confidence; she laughs again, like from the gut; she smiles more than she sighs; she’s connected to her goals and going after what she wants. She can identify it, and she’s grabbing it. And she’s moving quicker than I ever expected. She’s a warrior, and she has inspired me in ways I never imagined. I feel I’m going to be the one leaning on her soon, as strength tends to radiate, and lets us normally considered strong ones curl up and rest for a moment. In an effort of being there and keeping her positive, I’ve been sending her blog posts of people in similar situations, but this lady deserves her own. She no longer needs guidance, but is becoming the example..and damn, is she beginning to shine. Well done, Lea, well done….