I remember as a boy watching and counting mile markers on the interstate during long family trips. I would see how far it was to the next town and then use the mile markers to count down the distance. Mile markers on our highways are fairly permanent and dependable things in our world. Milestones became important to me early on.
On the trip we often took from my home in Atlanta to our summer beach cottage on Folly Island there were some mile markers that were very important to me. One particular one was just outside of Charleston. It was under a massive oak tree that dripped sleepily with Spanish moss. For me that mile marker signaled the beginning and on the way home the ending of my summer vacations.
As we left our vacation spot each summer I would anticipate that mile marker and once we had passed I would turn around and watch it fade into the distance knowing it was always there to welcome me on my return. A weary sadness would envelope me each time we passed my secret doorway to a more carefree and natural life. Other milestones in life would eventually distract me from my sadness. Still, however, when I am truly life-weary I think of that mile marker and it always stands there with its door open waiting for me to return and recapture the simple joy that is Folly Beach.
Yesterday Avalon drove me past such a mile stone called 26 May 2009. It was one of leaving not arriving. Yesterday I signed and handed over to her the divorce papers she wanted. I did not do this because I wanted to but rather because to oppose her would only hurt her more deeply. I honestly did not think my heart could be further broken but I awake today more broken than I have felt since my daughter Rachel died.
Friends tell me I will heal and move on. I think that both of these things are true, but not in the way they mean. As I have said over and over, I love Avalon and I am still in love with her. Christ is good to me and is retooling my heart so it becomes more his and less the image of what I think is his. There is still that previous mile stone of 14 June 1997. It is the one where I vowed to her and to God to travel with her for life. She vowed the same.
So as I see this mile stone fade into the distance, I realize that like Folly, the door will never close. No matter how much farther down the road I go there will always be this monolith created by a few signatures where the love of my life chose to take a different path. Unless she chooses to return to her vows our paths will not merge again and I will travel the rest of my romantic road alone. As I mourn the death of the dream that is my Avalon, I see other sign posts ahead. I know my beloved Christ leads me onward toward him and I will follow as closely as I can. I also know that I am enveloped in a deep abiding sadness that causes me to look over my shoulder and this milestone for nailed to it is my broken heart.
I promise dear readers to do my best to focus on the milestones ahead and give you and Christ my very best. I promise to always leave the door open for Avalon, but I will have those wiser than I stand by that door so that I do not behave foolishly. I promise to continue by his grace to give Christ my very best. I will continue on the journey and if from time to time you see a far away sadness in me, you may assume that I am just looking over my shoulder at the open door hoping that I may once again be joined on my journey.
Wishing you joy in the journey,
Aramis Thorn – fellow traveler