Independence Day


With a snap of latex against my wrists, I pulled on gloves with surgeon-like precision.  Today was the day. The uncertainty was gone and along with it the guilt.  With determination and a steady hand I focused and aimed while pressing down on the trigger. 

A loud pop interrupted my concentration and I released my grip and gazed at a darkening sky. A ball of light exploded, cascading trails of red, white and blue.  A smile spread across my face and my face relaxed. Color faded into the horizon and I continued my application of long swaths of bright purple over the unstained, boring, and nondescript swing.  It was July 4th—Independence Day—and I knew he wouldn’t be coming back.

 A couple of months had passed since I began this project.  I’d painted the Adirondack chair and ottoman purple to brighten the shaded area under the mammoth mulberry tree adorning a corner of our yard,  Lime green accents were added by way of a small table sitting next to the chair and a few accessories.

An appetizing palate of citrus-colored cushions were added.  Neighbors on their evening strolls, exclaimed how much they loved the burst of color found under the trees. My next piece to paint was the swing.

I was more than surprised when out of the blue my husband forbid me to paint the swing.  I’d coated everything outdoors with a rainbow array of spray paint and I changed the colors often. Our garage floor looked like an artist’s tarp with its myriad of colors from over-spray.  But the swing was just the latest thing on which to disagree, so reluctantly I left it untouched.

 Our flags should have flown at half-mast Memorial Day in recognition of our dying relationship. By the time he moved out in June, the light of our love, which had burned so brightly at the beginning, was so dim it was difficult to see. 

 In the wake of his departure many projects were set aside and I realized the untouched swing symbolized the hope that he’d return. Picking up that paint can represented my independence and ended his control over me. 

 The experience of divorce taught me that life is a story with many beginnings and endings.  As this chapter closed, I opened my eyes to the full spectrum of color unseen while immersed within the beige pages of this marriage. 

Although I’m in the “middle years” of life, I feel like a child with the largest box of crayons and a new coloring book. With each colorful opportunity God brings my way, I grow in my dependence and trust in Him.  Discovering who God created you to be outside a relationship can be an adventure.  Who knows-you might even experience some fireworks in a shade all your own.

  1. Dr. Linda B. Greer, 04 July, 2012

    Jo Rae,

    I do wish you could have written this about 3 years ago. I am happy you have your own inner independence from a broken marriage. Continue to love God first and he will give new desires and a new vision for your life. Divorce is the end of an intimate relationship, but it can also be the beginning of a better one with God.

    Linda G.

  2. RJ Dawson, 04 July, 2012

    Good post, Jo Rae. Happy 4th!

  3. jorae, 04 July, 2012

    Hi Linda,

    I actually wrote this five years ago. I just never posted it.

    Hope you’re enjoying your 4th!


    Jo Rae

  4. jorae, 04 July, 2012

    Thanks, Bob! Hope you’re having a great 4th of July as well. Keep in touch~

  5. Vonda Skelton, 04 July, 2012

    I remember when you wrote this. And I still love it! Happy 4th to you!

  6. jorae, 05 July, 2012

    Thank you, Vonda. Hope you had a wonderful 4th too!


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