And so I was not shocked when the morning that my husband of 21 years told me that he was unhappy and wanted to end our marriage. He had friend zoned me three days before. As we were lying in bed one night, he told me that even if we were not together anymore he would always take care of me and make sure I was ok. I lay there trying to decipher what the f**k that meant. Three days later I got the message loud and clear on a Saturday morning around 8 am. I was scheduled to give a talk on resilience only a few hours later and I thought to myself, “God, what a cruel joke! My life has been literally smashed to pieces and you want me to go and talk to people about resilience. Really? You are tripping! You know that, right? You’re tripping!” What I realized, however, that the only way to find resilience was to embed my voice in resilience. That talk I gave to leaders later that day laid the foundation for my walk in my recovery and in my healing. I listened to my own words. My own voice was the source of my strength. The voice that God had given me to lead others to their purpose was now leading me.
I wrote in my journal every day to purge the thoughts out of my exploding head. A few months later, I looked back over those entries and saw a story. I wrote an essay and shared it with a friend, Dr. Tamara Pizzoli, who wisely saw the book between the lines. I went back to my muse for the rest of the story. After my divorce, I had to escape Huntsville, Alabama. I always hated Huntsville. It was my personal sunken place. It was especially dreadful as the historical location of where my marriage came to die. So I did a reverse Scarlett O’Hara and escaped to Atlanta. I wrote the first 6 chapters of Deciding on Joy in my beautiful cozy apartment in Atlanta.
But during my third Roman Holiday, I wrote the rest of Deciding on Joy on a magical terrace at the home of Dr. Pizzoli. In between wine, lemon pasta, and gelato, I let the magic of Rome lift the words of Deciding on Joy from my burdened soul and onto the pages. I released my butterfly and I flew free.