Last year this time, I decided to write a book, a memoir.  I wanted to find my voice, to clarify my thoughts and find new directions in life.

“Why can’t you love Joe and hold onto God at the same time?”  Good-hearted Christian friends asked when I told them I had let go of my faith in Christ like my husband Joe had done after a few years’ of research and meditation.  The question usually came after a deadly silence or sniffling or open weeping as if I had just announced that I had cancer.

The truth is I can’t.  When it comes to something as important as God, I am either all in or I am out.

“The Bible is true in so many ways.  Why do you have to focus your attention on the first chapter of the first book?” 

Really, why can’t I accept Evolution and Creation at the same time like so many other Christians? 

“What is the purpose of your life?  What do you live for now?”

I-I don’t know.  I guess I’ll have to figure out.

So many questions, no clear answers and it agonized me.  I knew there were many reasons that led me to the decision of breaking away from a powerful and merciful God who had been the cornerstone of my life for over two decades. 

Can I make it in this world on my own without the continuous guidance of the Biblical moral compass?  Will the passion for life that was once burning so fiercely in me be rekindled?  Can Joe and I fall in love again and rebuild our home and keep it whole?  Can I really write a book?  How can I tell a story when I don’t even know the answers to so many questions?

So I embarked on a lonely journey not knowing where it would take me.  I found myself brought back to relive my painful childhood.  The floodgate opened when I wrote the story about Grandma, the little woman who brought me up and provided me a home while during the whole time she didn’t have a place that she could call her own. Raw, unprocessed emotion gushed out and pushed me on its turbulent waves.  I was exhausted by the time the story was done.  But it brought healing and a profound sense of gratitude for my dear grandma.

I was forced to come face to face with my own mother who shoved me to the ground and whacked me repeatedly with a wooden toy rifle the size of a real one until it broke.  Mother was consumed with anger with her face distorted, her hair standing up and her pupils dilated.  She looked like a monster to a nine year old.  Writing about mother was hard and many times I told myself that I couldn’t go there.  But it turned out therapeutical.  Today I have a new-found understanding of my mother’s own pain and a deep appreciation for her sacrifice.

Writing about Joe, my falling in love with him at the age of sixteen, our winding journey to build a life together and his patient and unconditional love towards me over the years brought tears to my eyes.  I realized just how much I had always loved him and how both of us would have been destroyed if we ended up not sharing our lives together.  I fell in love all over again, this time fully aware of the challenges ahead and all his flaws that I had been blinded to.  

Joe has been one of the faithful readers of LET GO.  He never ceased to challenge me to rise above the superficial, to dig deeper and look further.  I wrote and rewrote many of the stories based on his input.

Writing LET GO has brought me closer to my children.  Sharing my stories with Jane and Michelle opened their eyes to the real woman behind the mother they knew.  Every time I asked my daughters if I could include them in my book, they were always so gracious.
“Mom, it’s your book.  I’m okay with me whatever you write.”  Jane sounded incredibly generous and encouraging.

The book enabled Jane and me to discuss relationship issues since she has been involved with a wonderful young man.  During one of our dialogues, I apologized to her for not helping her self-esteem because I often times was too critical and tended to look at things from my point of view.

“Oh, mom.  It’s okay.  It’s all good now.”  Jane wrote back in her text message.

Writing has saved me by getting me in touch with my true self – my deepest needs and longings, liberated me by making me realize that maybe just maybe I can drive on my own without the GPS, humbled me by showing me how far I’ve come along and freed me by allowing me to make deeper connections with the people in my life. 

So at this time of the year, I am grateful for my struggles and triumphs, for all the people in my life who’ve turned me into the person today, for old friendship in spite of the religious divergence and for new friends who have opened my eyes to a reservoir of talents, energy and resilience.  Most of all I am thankful for my family!