I have always had an uneasy feeling that I didn't really belong here. I had a fuzzy memory of coming from a place where loving kindness was the norm. Did I do something bad to be sent to this place, to work on some karma?
By the time my fourth marriage failed, (yes, four ... very slow learner) I was frankly getting very "homesick" for the place I had come from. Each relationship was more difficult, progressing from a thump on the head to a cosmic whack with a two-by-four. There was clearly something I wasn't "getting" and had no idea how to "get" it. I was tired, I was depressed, and I prayed to be allowed to take an "incomplete" for this life's lesson and just come home.
At that time I still had one child at home, a teen anxious to be independent. I made an agreement with the higher power to stick around until his eighteenth birthday and see him safely launched if I could please, please, please come home.
Within days of that youngest child's eighteenth birthday, right on schedule, I had a heart attack. Was this my ticket home? Apparently not, because I'm still here. So what happened?
The unseen hand was quietly, busily working to make some adjustments in my life journey. I had taken a long, long break from engaging in any kind of relationship out of fear of repeating that bewildering pattern a fifth time. I was determined there would be no more relationships in this lifetime. (Well, it hadn't occurred to me that a female business partner was also a relationship, but that's another story.) I took the time to get to know myself as a unique individual, not as a half of a relationship. As I got to know Linda, I discovered that I kind of liked Linda.
What was the difference between the person I was getting to know and the person who married that series of mismatched souls? Linda the wife was struggling (and failing) to be whoever I felt they wanted and needed me to be. I was so certain that if I could love enough and change enough it could work. It wasn't Linda.
In the process of making the most of the years I had left, I found opportunities for healing, for teaching, for singing, and for forming close friendships. In the many carpooling trips to music rehearsals with my friend Joe, we became close companions. Though we both denied any interest in a capital "R" relationship, after over two years of friendship we finally noticed that he was not only a friend but a man and I was a woman and we might explore other levels of love. We are friends, needing nothing from each other to complete ourselves, loving each other just as we are. I had become fully Linda and Joe loves the authentic me.
So when the exit door that I had scheduled opened, I had a heart attack. But I also had successful quintuple bypass surgery and have now had another 20 years so far to continue living, learning, and loving.
As Ghandi said, "Live as though you were to die tomorrow. Learn as though you were to live forever." I am grateful for the unexpected years I have had to continue learning and serving. I am no longer homesick for the other side, but I know that whenever I do leave it will be to return to a loving home. As long as I stay, I can also experience life in this body, on this plane, as a loving home. It's a win/win. I am grateful.