Golden Age (YouTube) | Paper Tiger (YouTube) | Guess I’m Doin’ Fine (YouTube) | Lonesome Tears (YouTube) | Lost Cause (YouTube) | It’s All in Your Mind (YouTube) | Round the Bend (YouTube) | Sunday Sun (YouTube) | Little One (YouTube) by Beck (Sea Change)
In 2002, while Jenny and I were in Nepal, Beck came out with Sea Change, a beautiful album about the aftermath of a broken heart. Jenny and I were already engaged by then, and I remember thinking that this particular record would always remain a little distant from me — that the subject matter wasn’t something I’d ever be going through again.
I know they’re asking about the divorce. I’m never sure whether they want to hear the despair or the hope — there is hope too — or just want me to say something cursory. And it’s nearly impossible to say how I’ve been, or how I will be, because it keeps changing.
What’s happening now in my life is tremendously painful and disorienting. Things I thought I understood about myself, about Jenny, about my life, turn out to be completely wrong. Plans and certainties are crumbling away. The ground has given out beneath me, and I don’t know at all where I stand.
The hardest and most baffling thing right now is the discovery of how little Jenny and I seem to have known each other. We spent six years as a couple and lived together even longer, yet we were able to misunderstand each other almost totally as we struggled to save our marriage. And I know there were parts of me that Jenny never saw or guessed at, because it destroyed our marriage when I revealed them.
Right now, the idea of ever trusting anyone so deeply seems impossible. How could we have been so wrong? So blind? So blind to our blindness? How will I ever be sure of anyone else?
Even so, I know that I will almost certainly trust again. Life goes on — when I first started telling people about the divorce, they kept reassuring me that it wouldn’t kill me, as if this were good news — and eventually pain recedes.
My hope — I did mention that there was hope — is that I can continue in my process of recovery to become a person with integrity and without secrets. It’s the secrets that have brought me to this pass — the hidden parts in myself, and the way they resonated with the hidden parts in Jenny — and so I need to reach a point of fundamental honesty with myself. That will take a lot of work and involve facing many things I haven’t ever been willing to face, loneliness not least among them.
There are also more mundane hopes — for a new job, for a new home, for new friends and a new future. They will come in time. Sometimes these hopes buoy me up and make me feel almost good. Then there’s also a lot of anxiety about all the logistical steps I have to take. And there are moments when I’m able to turn my life over to the care of God, feeling relief in letting go and trusting the universe to take me where it will.
For the most part, though, what I feel is a deep ache, just on the edge of weeping.
Sorrow. I feel sorrow.