This I Believe

Emily - Plymouth, Minnesota
Entered on June 7, 2007

I believed that the trophy of my existence was that I was married. A handsome, well-liked man made me his wife, publicly declaring that I was valuable to him. He gave me a ring that shouted a message to the world – I matter to somebody.

Yet a mere year into our marriage, he wrote an e-mail telling me he wanted a divorce.

He had a change of heart. His future plans no longer included me.

I daily grieved the loss of my best friend. Yet another part of me was humiliated: I felt I was going to be exposed. My husband leaving me was the ultimate evidence to the world that I was a defective person, something I had been trying so hard to cover up with a good career, a pretty physique, and even my faith.

I didn’t want people to know who I was without my ring. Alone, I didn’t feel I could convince the world I was deserving of love, respect, peace, and happiness. Somebody had to say it for me.

It has been a slow and frightening experience to find my life without him. Day by day I rediscover myself. I’m never quite sure of what I will find.

One day, during an afternoon at the pool with a brunette Kindergartener, she reached out a hand for my help. The instant I reached out to her she threw her arms around my neck and clung to me, giggling. Her giggle left me feeling inebriated.

When I was six years old, how could I have been that much different from this little girl? Everything about her was so innocently invested into the very moment she was living. She did not need to justify herself.

As I held that little girl in the pool, I realized I was just like her. She is the most precious, beautiful girl on this earth because she is.

I started keeping a gratitude journal, listing five things a day that I am thankful for (no repeats). After several weeks of keeping the journal, I surprised myself with what I was writing down. Once I stopped pouring my heart out for someone else, I was baffled by what it started to tell me.

Bluegrass music. For Pete’s sake, I thought, I never realized I like bluegrass music. Wearing new socks on hardwood floors. Reading books to young children. Cold lemonade. Mailing letters to friends for no particular reason.

I have a really unique mix of interests. God has a creative outlet in the world, and it is through me.

Now I believe self-worth is a diamond I find in my heart, not a diamond a man slides on my finger.