Our lives are steered by uncertainties, many of which are disruptive or even daunting; but if we persevere and remain generous of heart, we may be granted a moment of supreme lucidity—a moment in which all that has happened to us suddenly comes into focus as a necessary course of events, even as we find ourselves on the threshold of a bold new life that we had been meant to lead all along.Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow pg.
441-442 (edited slightly to make it work as a stand alone quote)
To whatever extent the more defining moments that Cari and I have shared participate in Towles’ idea of “moments of supreme lucidity,” I feel a profound sense of gratefulness (like the kind that’s so deep that it feels something similar to sadness) that these moments have not served to drive us apart, but rather to bring us much closer together than we ever otherwise would have been had we never gotten to have such moments together. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say we’ve had moments in which “all that has happened to us suddenly comes into focus as a necessary course of events, even as we find ourselves on the threshold of a bold new life that we had been meant to lead all along.”
Today (June 07, 2023) is anniversary numero ocho for Cari and me (that is to say, we’ve been married for nine years). Among other events which I have planned for today, I’ve got a lunch at Grindhouse Killer Burgers (restaurant name in italics because it’s as good as poetry) in Atlanta with one of the few who have the privilege of bearing the very honorable distinction of being followed on Twitter by none other than N.N. Taleb himself. So I’m very excited for that (Cari and I are going to go on a date tonight, don’t worry).
For whatever reason, it’s been feeling especially significant to me these past couple of weeks (or however long) that (being that it’s been 9 years since our wedding) today’s date is also no more than only a week or two shy of being the 8th anniversary since my in-laws predicted to our (then) pastor and his wife that Cari and I would be divorced after not too long a time. It gives me a great deal of victorious satisfaction, however, to report that Cari and I are not divorced from each other, but (quite the reverse) we have learned to love, depend on, appreciate, and admire each other through the very trying process of being effectively disowned (granted, my in-laws would never describe the situation in such an ungracious fashion) by her family (part of the fallout of which being that we lost a business (this doesn’t convey the very traumatic nature of what we went through just from losing the business alone)), and, as a result, Cari did not divorce me, but her parents. This really is one of my favorite plot twists, I have to admit, not just because of how Cari and I have been vindicated through it, but because of the much much better inheritance we’re now able to leave to our children, and to posterity afterwards.
Now normally when someone hears that Cari, the kids, and I are estranged from Cari’s family, he/she/etc. nearly invariably will express some variation on “oh I’m so sorry to hear that,” to which I reply with something along the lines of “oh no, we couldn’t be more grateful!” The tragedy is that Cari’s mom never wanted Cari for Cari: the real Cari, if you will. Seeing the masks drop (as it were); going through a process of disillusionment regarding what she thought was an idyllic childhood and a one true faith; and coming to understand herself, and the nature of what children actually need and deserve from their parents is definitely not a tragedy, but it is rather something very much to be celebrated, irrespective of what abuse she might receive from those who ought rather to honor her than to scorn, and dismiss her, inviting her to believe she’s crazy and is making everything up, being the contemptuous, despicable people that they are.
No, no. I want it to be known that this is something Cari is to be commended, praised, and admired for: not something of which she should feel ashamed, not something she should be made to feel guilty for. There are those who ought to be made to feel a great deal of shame and guilt for how they treated and have continued to treat Cari for a now very protracted and sustained time, but they (unfortunately) never will be(they’re God’s elect, after all). Honestly it disgusts me to think that they’re allowed to go through this world thinking so unjustifiably highly of themselves, but I know it’s better to just try and forget that they exist, and to rather focus on the unearned gift of life that we have in our lives, and in the lives of our children, and to enjoy all of it, each moment, to the fullest. That’s the only way to actually win; to elect not to play their game at all.
But right, I don’t know if we can actually name a specific date when Cari divorced her mother (by the way, see Peg Streep’s Daughter Detox on this very important topic (why daughter’s specifically and not both son and daughter detox?, you ask? I can’t speak for Peg, but I think maybe the explanation is related to the notion that it’s been women who are the shock absorbers of society (as Gabor Mate put it in his magnum opus The Myth of Normal) and that this weight and burden is transferred down through the generations primarily by mother to daughter by way of emotional and verbal oppression, i.e. abuse) but, in addition to being Cari’s and my wedding anniversary, funnily enough, it’s also been three years since I last saw Cari’s mother, and I wanted to, together with Cari (because ask her, she’s on board with everything I’m saying in here, and is so with even more emotion behind it all maybe than I have since she lived it) celebrate that fact.
So, here’s to you, Cari. Here’s to liberation, and to us two scared little runaways who stumbled upon a much much more abundant life than we ever could have thought possible. “Struggle’s over; now with herself.”