Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Johann and Me

I am pretty unlucky in love. Unlucky might be a bit of an understatement. I’ve had three relationships that have left a giant path of destruction in my life.
Aristotle tells us that we cannot learn without pain. Lessons learned. I think Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also learned those same lessons.

In my last blog post, I wrote about how truths speak to my soul. Goethe speaks the same language of my soul. His writings—almost 200 years old—touch me in a way that is hard to describe. But I equate it to be the same way I reacted to seeing The David in Florence. First stepping into The Metropolitan Museum of Art felt holy to me. The most spiritual moment of my life might be when a saw the first of many orcas swim by the whale watching boat in Alaska.

Goethe was a German philosopher, writer, and polymath. He wrote poetry, studied biology, and created beautiful art. He described himself as “not anti-Christian.” He was a humanist and a pantheist, believing that the universe itself is the divine. It is really no wonder that his works feed my soul.

I love recklessly. I know that I do. I have to wonder if Goethe had the same affliction. Regardless, his writings help me see the lessons that squirm out of the rubble.

The first disaster to cut through my life was like a tornado. My ex-husband is a very decent man and an extremely good father. But we weren’t destined to be together. And the very action I took to bolster our marriage was the one act that could only doom it.

When Number One was finishing graduate school, we both started to look for work to get out of the city we both disliked. He was talking to a company in Seattle. Living in Seattle has always appealed to me. Meanwhile, I was talking to a company in the Midwest. It was a dream job for me, but it wasn’t in a particularly rich city for One to find work. When I talked to One about the possibility of moving there, he balked. So when I was offered the job, I declined. I looked like an asshole to my good friend who had recommended me for the job. Then, One didn’t get a job offer from Seattle. We both lost. I think I always held that against him.

Goethe believed in dreams. He would have chastised me for abandoning my dreams to chase the dreams of someone else. I will never do that again.

Number Two was a tsunami that destroyed everything foundational in my life and hurt every person that I loved. I never loved Two, but I liked him an awful lot and he was offering me all I ever thought I wanted. So I sold my soul to that devil. And I will never forgive myself for doing so. The price it cost me can never be measured.

It was a confusing, chaotic time. The one idea that I clung to like a drowning woman was that good things can come from this nightmare I created. Strength will be found. Bravery will be discovered. Grace will be required.
I hurt the people I love. I will never forgive myself for that. But, I do believe that great beauty has come from that tsunami. Everything is being rebuilt.

Number Three was like an earthquake. After the earth shifted from under me, toppling everything I believed to be sound, I crawled from the pile of bricks and began to rebuild. Only to be struck by aftershock after aftershock. This earthquake destroyed my most valued trust. Three stole my trust in myself.
Like any betrayal of trust, the trust I had in myself needs to be rebuild slowly and carefully. I need to move away from the fault line.

I will never again allow myself to let someone else hold my heart or my dreams. I will never again sacrifice everything I want in order to get one thing that I want. I don’t mean I won’t love. I will. I will love and trust. But I will never let my heart—my happiness—be placed in any other hands.

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