From Why to Thank You


In this post, I said I was moving from “Why?” to “Thank you.” as I get further away from the end of my marriage.  It is a process I learned years ago. It comes from this Maya Angelou quote:

My Mission in Life is Not to Merely Survive,

but to Thrive; and to

Do So with Some Passion, Some Compassion,

Some Humor, and Some Style.

I just can’t sit around and wallow because it takes too much time from the remaining years I have left to thrive.

Another quote I have been able to use to make this shift from “why” to “thank you” is from Maya too:

 When Someone Shows You Who They Are, Believe Them the First Time.

I don’t know that I have believed people the first time. Whether I am tolerant, in denial or just slow I usually need people to show me who they are more than once before I believe them. This is even for the people who show me how great they are. I usually need to see it more than once before I believe it. “Are you for real?!”

As for the internal changes I needed to make to actually have the concept work, it was not instantaneous. It’s like daylight. It’s not just DAY all of a sudden. It’s dark. Then the sun peaks over the horizon and gradually more and more light comes through.

But at some point, there was one thought that came through:

Thank you for showing me who you are.

This is not about my Ex. Okay, it is a little. But it’s not all negative. The things that have been said and done during this time. I have learned more about who he is now. This has been both disappointing and encouraging. We’re- none of us- all one thing, are we?

It’s about the friends and family who have called, helped.  The strangers who have demonstrated humanity at its very best on the day I needed it most.

Thank you for showing me who you are.

And the friends and family that are absent, silent.

Thank you for showing me who you are.

It works for God.

Thank you for showing me who you are.

This even works on myself. When I have the choice of a response, I strive to pick the choice that most closely resembles who I believe myself to be.

Years ago after a particular episode of stupidity, I once complained to a friend, “I don’t know why I do stuff like that. It is not who I am.” This was a friend who had witnessed a few such episodes.

And he said, “Yes. Why do you do that?”

That was 2000. It was a moment of a profound shift in how I led my life. I want my choices to align with who I believe myself to be.

I want to show you who I am.

I still have occasional episodes of stupidity, because my imperfection is part of who I am.

I am BIG on honesty. Dishonesty drives me nuts. I have told all my kids: I’d rather hear a bad truth than a good lie.

So, yes, when I faced the fact that my marriage could not continue, I initially was just surviving.  Crying out “why”. But as I worked harder to get to thriving, I was able to say “thank you”.

For the honesty. For the clarity. For the truth.

I am not some Pollyanna suggesting I am grateful this happened, but I can find gratitude in truth. The truth of a relationship.  The truth of the mother I am. And even the wife I am. The woman I am. The truth of the life I want to lead.

Thank you for showing me who you are. Thank you for showing me who I am.