We walked into the familiar room, the same as the weeks before. It was quiet and comfortable. The seats had a way of forming to us as if we had left our mark on them. Before us sat the one who was supposed to have the answers, but met us always with questions.
“We want to know how to end our marriage in a way that causes the least amount of damage to our son.” I calmly shared our agenda.
With both pointer fingers pressed to his mouth in the shape of an “A”, Mike swiveled in his chair to look out the window.
We’d spent months across from Mike. We attended sessions individually, and together. We read books, wrote journals, shared our most difficult truths, and it wouldn’t be enough.
That day, it wasn’t enough.
The pain and the heartache and the shattered dreams gripped tightly, clinging to the past in a way that wouldn’t allow us to see a future.
The words spewed in anger. The truth that shattered our core. The burden we carried day in and day out. It was all too much.
That day, it was too much.
We wanted out. We wanted to walk away amicably. We tried. We did the work. It didn’t work. We just needed help supporting our son as we navigated life as two separate homes.
Mike turned back toward us, lowered his fingers, and asked, “What is one thing, you’re not currently doing, that if you were doing would improve your marriage?”
I imagine my face was skewed and distorted the way a parent looks at a child after taking an actual bite of a mud pie.
He asked again, slow and deliberate. “What is one thing, you’re not currently doing, that if you were doing would improve your marriage?”
And then I surprised myself. I had an answer. There was no conscious thought. There was no discussion or deliberation. It was clear.
I had my one thing.
From hopeless to possibility. From lack to enough.
It was what I needed to see enough hope, to look for answers within myself, to keep working toward healing our marriage. It was only one thing, but it was enough.
We have the anchor of the universe, each one of us, that grounds us in a profound knowing deep within our subconscious.
Mike’s question started a journey with one simple thing. It was my one thing. There was nothing he told me in that moment, it came from inside of me.
Mike simply knew to keep asking questions until we found our answers. The answers that led us to our next steps. For us, that meant healing one thing at a time.
Life consists of pure magic and heartache that grips you in your core. This day was a mixture of both.
While healing our marriage took many more months in that room, and years of consistent work, it started with our one thing.
I can’t know what you’re going through. But, I do know that we take turns carrying a backpack of burdens that are both heavy and tucked away deep within our hearts. While some involve our marriage, others involve our children, our parents or ones we love most. It could be love, or loss, or finances, or health. It could be physical or emotional, private or public, and each one is valid. You are valid as is every feeling you have around every situation you are going through.
And, healing begins with your one thing.
Find a therapist, a trusted friend, a doctor, and find yourself. Find the space to breathe slowly and with intention. Then, ask yourself, what is my one thing?
What is the one thing, I’m not currently doing, that if I did would make a difference in my situation?
Let the answer come. Let the possibility rise knowing that what comes up may be simple and not at all easy. Let yourself consider what you know to be true, even if you don’t want it to be. When we’re in the hardest moments of our lives, the work to heal is seldom what we want to do. Otherwise, we would have already been doing it.
We don’t need to have all of the answers. We just need the first answer. And, as one reveals itself to you, so will the next.
We want to see the whole picture, we want to know the ending will be happy before we even turn the page.
Am I willing to live in this moment, working on just one thing, trusting that the next will appear in time? Or am I wanting to know the ending so much so that it prevents me from taking one step at a time?
You have the anchor of the universe within you. One step, one day, one thing at a time.
We’re in it together.
**Jason and I have experienced tremendous healing working on one thing at a time. Ten years after this time with Mike, we have expanded our family with another son and opened our home to children in foster care. This story has more magic and mess than I ever could have dreamed. And, we built this life one thing at a time.