Life Is a Mosaic

Susan - Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Entered on June 12, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

Life Is a Mosaic

The day I found the evidence of my then-husband’s adultery, he told me he was broken. As I asked him to leave, he warned me that, at my age, any future men in my life were also sure to be broken. From that day on, I heard that word ad nauseum: “broken.” I met other divorced people who described themselves that way. Strangers and acquaintances said, “You don’t want your kids to come from a broken home.” However, the basis of our marriage—trust—had already been shattered, so I filed for divorce.

The children and I remained in our house that had been partially remodeled by my husband and me. We had replaced some old carpeting with Saltillo tile shortly after moving in. Because they are made of clay, the tiles break easily, and we ended up with many chips, chunks and slabs of tile. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away. I imagined the people who had labored over those tiles. Coyote paw prints or the indentations of little bird feet were on many of the squares. The shards were beautifully colored, in an array of yellows, oranges and reddish browns. I gathered up all the pieces and laid them out on the kitchen table. As I squinted, I could see them taking shape. A bear stood majestically amid the mess. Maybe my backyard’s mountain view influenced my vision, but I got to work. Seven years later, that bear in the entryway has come to remind me of my own strength each time I enter my front door feeling spent.

My heart has not been broken. It certainly was damaged. For a time, it felt like it was being held together by cheap adhesive tape and discarded chewing gum, but it continued to work. As it heals, I believe it has the opportunity to work even better than it did before.

I am trying to demonstrate to my children that when life’s plans fall apart, you pick them up and put them back together. They won’t necessarily fit the way they used to, but sometimes, the result can be even more beautiful than the original.