Facebook memories can sometimes feel like a punch in my guts. I am recently divorced, and it was as ugly and unexpected as one can imagine in the face of infidelity. The absurdity of seeing my smiling face next to my former spouse, and the pain of seeing our once-intact family split up into pieces is absolutely horrid. It is painful in ways that I didn’t know I could feel pain as an adult. Shame washes over me sometimes, seeing what once was, and what now is gone. I think thoughts like, “If I had known then that this would be our last picture together as a family, I would have been more present in the moment.” I what-if myself to death some days. It is to no good end.
Then again, Facebook memories can sometimes restore my belief in my own self. For me, when my spouse was unfaithful, I immediately questioned everything I believed. “How could I have been so wrong about this thing and been right about others? I must be wrong about everything,” is a mantra that played on a three-year loop. But then I see a beautiful picture and a memory come up, and I think, “I am ok. I haven’t been wrong all along about everything.” One such memory popped up this morning~ a cold, snowy morning in upstate NY greeted me in real life. In cyber-life however, a lovely picture of colored leaves in central NY came to the surface from a couple years ago, along with this little narrative:
Took my students out for a walk after lunch. Outside, there was a blaze of color, and a warm, gentle breeze.
Our 10 minutes came to a close. The kids were lined up. Except for one.
My colleague took the students inside while I waited patiently for a slow straggler, a boy who was really struggling today. He trudged miserably toward me, noting that the rest of the class had already entered the building. He looked up, fully expecting to be scolded for being late.
I stood patiently, and said, “c’mere. Take a deep breath right here. This is the best spot.” Truthfully, the wind was blowing just right, and was so warm, that the air smelled of sugar and maple. It was glorious.
He looked up. Inhaled. And smiled for the first time all day. “That smells beautiful,” he said. His shoulders relaxed. His forehead uncreased.
We walked in the building together in silence. As we entered, he said quietly, “Thanks.”
It was one of the best moments of my career.
As soon as I read it, I felt once again certain of my career path and my choices. Get knocked down 7 times, get up 8.