The End. I stared at the bold type print I was holding. Thoughts flooding me, challenging me on my very own hopes and desires. I had just finished reading my fifth romance novel of the summer. Much to my surprise I was beginning to be hooked. This one was a western romance, taking place in Deadwood, South Dakota during the gold rush boom, back in 1876. A town I had visited almost 9 years ago with my sons, on what was to be a family journey out west. A trip whose plans began while I was still very much married. A family trip that I had at onetime envisioned would draw me and my now ex-husband closer together. A vacation, that instead, and in many ways, marked the beginning of my, life as a single mother.
Deadwood, S.D. a tourist town now that draws crowds by the thousand each summer. A place that I simply fell in love with many years ago and hope to revisit again someday. A colorful town boasting with the flavor of the west. I sat back still holding my book. Wanting to savor the feelings its paragraphs had stirred in me. Puling myself back in thought to a time in this world that brought the strong characters of this romantic story to life. Imagining the headstrong men and women of this place living and loving. Creating a life in a rough and tumble western town, just at the beginnings of its birth.
With my eyes closed I tried to envision main street coming alive. Cowboys as they casually rode into town tipping their stetsons out of courtesy as they passed by females. The town women nodding in response as polite etiquette. Couples happily strolling along arm in arm. I smiled to myself, yes like it or not I was hooked on these romance stories, dreaming and fantasizing as I read each one. As a realist this is a very hard thing for me to admit and accept. I was becoming a full bloomed romantic. Starry eyed at the idea of finding my self lost in the silly romantic notions of being swept away by love.
I closed the book and studied its cover. No beautiful saloon girl or handsome rugged cowboy donned the front cover. No lump of gold or stage coach pictured, to give way of the journey that laid ahead in its over 400 hundred typed pages. The title simply put, "Forgiving" was scrolled out in large deep rose colored letters. I was dawdling in after thought. Love in its many vast ways had etched it way in my mind leaving me dreaming.
I sat thinking, what next. Do I engage in yet another novel. Loose myself to yet another untamed heart of a character, doomed to embark on a journey exploding with deep emotion. Surely I needed to lay to rest for one day these sordid love affairs I have been so drawn into reading about lately. A walk seemed a perfect answer to help me ease away from my new addiction. Not to mention a delight for my beautiful dog Bela to part take in. I chuckled as I attached her new flashing night time leash to her collar. Thinking about my writing class experience last fall, when my instructor told me to stop fighting the fact that I was a romantic. "Surrender and stop hiding" she told me during class one day, " and those stories locked inside will flow". I was a bit bothered hearing those words at first. Unconditional Love as a mother I new about, with no end to the words that illustrates my motherly passions. But love between a couple- ooh that's a tough one. I openly admit I still struggle with putting on paper. With a past full of dating disappointments and short lived romances what could I possibly write. Feeling somewhat -in all honesty-that a captive heart for me would seem rather miraculous at this point, but not entirely impossible-after all I am a newly proclaimed romantic. I will somberly admit to those of you who might read this and clearly spell out "I have known love", but there is a profound connection to the heart I deeply desire. As a parent of two terminally ill sons my journey will be met with great sorrow few will ever understand or be equipped to endure. Leaving me deeply guarded with my heartfelt emotions.
So here I was now completely absorbed into reading about the desires of the heart. But, still struggling with the ability to write anything that remotely mentions falling in love. With a child free night to myself, and no plans I was at home alone with my romance books. I looked down at the book again where I had laid it to rest. Its simple cover holding me captive momentarily. The single word title triggering something in me to examine a little of my own soul. Could it be that some of my past actually made me feel connected to the characters I recently read about. I was beginning to understand why I found them so appealing. Much more to my surprise I noticed something else. These characters not only ardently desired love, but also were in great need of something more, healing. It can be very enlightening and amazing when you can make a connection so deeply. Healing. Yes as much I tried to hide it I was still in need of some healing. Even after all these years I still was in need of a little mending, which is not so easy to admit, because, that might just make me be a bit vulnerable. Secondly, because I have become so engrossed in moving on and finding the courage to face my sorrow to come, I have not paid much attention to what the past had been lacking for me in the first place. So here it was simply laid down before me "Forgiving". In order to continue with healing I had to forgive. But forgiving just who was the question? No sooner had I read the word again and it hit me, like a burst of sunlight. The one person I struggled with the most was in fact me. It is me that stands like an un-open window between my past and the present. I would need to forgive myself to continue to heal.
I have a very strong feeling I will connect with someone who will in fact be touched by what I am writing about and will totally understand the depths of the healing I refer too.