New Poem up on Agate Magazine

Agate just published this poem I wrote about the loss of a treasured tree and the new life that enters through the void of loss. Please take the extra step to hop on out to Agate to read this piece. Agate, where I interned this past spring, is doing a terrific job bringing together the arts and science to promote ecological stability and environmental protection (and respect) in Minnesota and the greater Great Lakes area. While you’re there, check out the fantastic fungi photo by my brother, Scott Fettig!

The Decision to Divorce

Because there has been so much controversy (Yes, controversy!) over Elizabeth Gilbert’s recent decision to divorce post Eat Pray Love (I haven’t really read about the controversy–it would annoy me too much), I feel compelled to say a bit about the decision to divorce. Here goes:

  1. We all have a different level of discomfort when it comes to what we will or won’t tolerate in a living situation; everyone has a different breaking point.
  2. Your decision to stay in a marriage or partnership is yours alone; no one else gets to live your life (no one else has to walk in your shoes each day).
  3. Even if you have kids, the default assumption should not be that the kids would—in every situation—be better served by you staying in a bad marriage and, for this purpose, I’ll loosely define “bad” as anywhere on the spectrum between dissatisfying to abusive.

When you hear of a family member or friend’s decision to divorce, please know, it has undoubtedly been a long, hard process just to get to the point of decision. These individuals do not need your criticism or your heartfelt pleas to try longer (or, perhaps, try some great new counseling method or recommend a book like The Five Love Languages), what they need is your support and encouragement during the difficult days ahead. Maybe even, when they’re ready, congratulate them on their ability to take steps to make their life better, even if things have to get much harder first; let them know you think they are courageous warriors.

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Transformation Through Loss

The process of transformation (my own and others) fascinates me. Never is one more in the business of transformation than when faced with loss or life-altering change (they typically come hand-in-hand). Not unlike death, divorce blows both loss and change straight into the center of one’s life. There’s no place to find cover during the storm; one can only surrender to the experience and patiently await the day when she, finally, realizes she’s found her way to the other side.

Loss takes time; it will not be hurried.

It is how people move along in life, in spite of loss, that amazes me.

As some point, the day comes when wild flowers (perhaps nourished through tears) bloom on the grave of all that has been lost; and, suddenly, we emerge from our cocoons to see how the soft tipped-brush of loss has colored our life with a fragile and delicate beauty.

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