The dog park is a daily outing with my sweet pup, Vito. He makes friends easily and recently frolicked with a gorgeous blue merle Great Dane. I watched them lope across the field with tails and tongues wagging when I noticed Vito’s new playmate only had one back leg.
I spoke with the dog’s owner, and she explained that he had a cast on his leg when they got him as a puppy. By the time they were able to adopt him and have the cast removed the bone had fused straight.
Even so, he got around just fine for several years; swinging the leg around like a “chopstick,” and, while it didn’t have it’s intended use, served to balance him.
One day he was playing with their other dog, and the stiff leg simply snapped and crumbling beneath him. Rather than put the dog down, they chose to have the entire leg removed. She said within days he was better than ever.
The remaining back leg had been strengthened from years of supporting all of the weight, and his body flew like the wind once the excess baggage was moved, using his tail like an airborne rudder.
Indeed a remarkable story...and, a few days later I realized, that in many ways, I am like that 3‑legged dog.
My husband and I have been separated for two years. Seven months ago we were finally to the point of reconciling when I discovered that within a week of our reconciliation he was back in contact with “her.” We all know her…less than half my age, blonde, British, no doubt sweet as can be...
Needless to say, it was a devastating blow. Yet, believe it or not, I did not divorce him. I could easily have built a case for leaving him even long before this incident. But, the truth was, despite the humiliation and betrayal I loved my husband, I was committed to the vows I had made and I still hoped that our marriage would be restored. It seemed impossible…but, I believe in miracles.
Flash forward to the present; like that inspiring Great Dane with his lame appendage...despite the uncertainty and instability of the ongoing separation, I have become happier, stronger and better balanced than any other time in my life.
Then this past Sunday morning arrived, and I received a reply to an email I had sent my husband. As I read, I felt the proverbial leg snap and crumble below me. And, in an instant, I knew, without a doubt, what to do. In that moment, I was certain that I would file for divorce. And, I knew – not intellectually – but in my gut, that ending my marriage was the only choice.
This is certainly a very sad outcome. I married for life, and took my vows seriously. So I am amazed and deeply grateful that I was freed from this covenant in such a profound way.
I believe it is because, for the first time in my life, I was able to let things unfold at a natural pace. I didn’t make decisions because I was angry, or to make the pain go away, or because a therapist thought I should, or to teach someone a lesson, as I have done in the past. Instead, I dug deep into every area of my life that could give me support and wisdom. And, I got my miracle.
I don’t have to wonder what would have been, or could have been. I don’t have to regret my contribution to our difficulties, nor take on his blame, for I have been able to make proper, heartfelt amends, and most importantly, I live differently.
I have been transformed in a way that would not have been possible without the difficult marriage and separation I’ve walked through. And, like that dog who for years found stability, balance and an opportunity to strengthen as a result of a weakness...and then, only days after the break, was better than before. I suspect this lightness I’m feeling will take me to new heights of happiness, joy and community.
How are you at letting things unfold? How have your difficulties become the cornerstone of miraculous change in your life? What is your experience with forcing solutions? How might you do things differently and give yourself a chance to have the joy of a 3‑legged dog?
I look forward to hearing your stories.
And, as always, I’m in your corner….
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