From the Left



How My Husband Taught Me to Be Grateful for the Moment

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp on

When I met my husband, Felipe, he seemed to sum up my biggest life lesson with his mere existence. The circumstances surrounding his position in my path forced me to come to terms with abandonment issues I'd been avoiding for a long time.

Before Felipe, I thought that if I left myself subject to vulnerability, I would not survive the infliction from the other end. It was better to feel in control by simply not ever going there emotionally. I longed to experience that kind of deep love, but the inevitable hurt was too much to risk. I knew how to be alone, and I could rely on myself.

When Felipe showed up, we both knew our relationship wouldn't last. We were both single parents. Custody laws required him to return to Michigan and they also held me in Kentucky. His work assignment in my hometown would end in one year. The clock was set. We knew the end before we began. There was freedom in knowing the when and how it would all end.

It somehow allowed me to let go. And when I did, an unexpected sense of gratitude emerged. Felipe didn't want me to be anyone other than me, and he inspired me to be the genuine Bonnie Jean that for some reason I'd been apologizing for, for a very long time. I didn't want to be angry anymore. I understood that my bitter sarcasm had emerged from a place of incredible pain.

I was in love, and I breathed it all in while saying, "Thank you." I recognized the magic and removed myself from the heartache. I handed it over, offered it up. I chose to have faith in the love that I had found. I finally felt that all existed as intended and I experienced a deeper understanding of me. His love was an incredible gift.

With only one year to love, our time constraints left us no time to waste. "Living in the moment" was no longer cliche. I reveled in it and truly felt gratitude for the here and now. Mourning the inevitable would have only served to ruin the present. Of course, we had our mental breaks, outcries of unfairness at what might have been in another space and another time. But, temporary or not, our relationship in its infancy offered me a powerful life lesson.


Felipe did leave Kentucky, but he did not leave me. We conquered the challenge of distance through court negotiations with my daughter's father. I learned another life lesson: fighting for what's worth holding on to.

Even when we think we know how something will end, we really don't. Fifteen years later, the lesson remains clear: Don't waste time mourning what you think you already know. Be grateful for what you have and where you are, right now.


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