Window of Opportunity

I have just over an hour before I need to get ready to go to fencing.  I'm tired after walking the Dragon Baby home in the wind and the snow and I could really use a bit of time to eat and maybe read a bit more of David Bentley Hart.  But I also want to write because I know that I won't have another chance like this until Thursday at the earliest, and then only if I take this same hour or so between getting home from work and getting in the car to drive to my club.  It would be so much easier just to take my cup of tea, open my iPad, and read, rather than trying to marshal some of the thoughts swirling around in my head into some order.  But then I won't have written on my blog in nearly a week.  Should I really squander this opportunity to write just because I'm tired?

Of course, part of the problem, as always, is that I have plenty to say, I just don't know whether I should say it.  Or, perhaps more accurately, I am worried that I can't find a way of saying what I want to that will be appropriate under the circumstances.  When to speak and when to stay silent?  How do you know?  A friend of mine tells me that she decided some time ago that she was no longer going to be able to stay in her marriage of some eighteen or so years because after living through too many cycles of hope and despair she was simply exhausted, used up.  She was diagnosed with breast cancer almost two years ago, but survived, and now that she knows what it feels like to know you might die within year, "letting go" means something very specific to her that it had not meant before.  Getting her life back--her hope for life longer than a year--is a great gift, she says.  That is why she knows she must leave her marriage now.

Or words to that effect.  I've been having difficulty listening to her these past few days because I know (a little bit of) how much she suffered over those years, but I am also worried for her because she has a daughter, and now her daughter is going to grow up the child of a divorce.  And I just don't see how that is a good thing.  She will be taken care of, I am assured.  She is deeply loved.  Which I know, knowing both her parents.  But there is this small window of opportunity, right now, before everything falls into its new groove for there to be some other version of her life, some other story than the one that she is now going to grow up with, and I'm scared.  Look, it's 5:47pm, the clock is ticking away.  Soon it will be time for me to pack up my weapons and uniform and go.  Soon this moment will be lost, this one moment after which nothing will be the same.  But my friend tells me that she knows better than I do what it feels like knowing that that window of opportunity for life is closing--and what it feels like to get a reprieve.

She's right, I know.  She does have a different perspective on things than I do.  It's her marriage, after all, and her daughter.  I have no business whatsoever saying anything other than that I am happy for her now she is no longer in a situation that she finds unbearable.  But to what cost?  I could let this moment slip by, say nothing, watch her daughter grow up just fine.  And then I would have been wrong to worry as I am now, wrong to want to say something about the research I have read about the long-term effects of divorce on children, wrong to hold on even for a moment to the possibility that there might be some other way to live this moment such that it might end some other way.  It's 6:01pm, I'm running out of time. But, she tells me, this is her time, not mine; her life, not mine; her window of opportunity for happiness, not mine.  And she's right.  I know she's right.  She's got to be.   It's only me who thinks that there is something to hold onto anymore.

There, the window is closing.  Oh, look it's gone.  Time for me to go now.


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