Today I finished reading Before Green Gables, by Budge Wilson, a prequel to Anne of Green Gables.  I thought it would be depressing — Anne’s childhood was hard — but it showed how Anne found transcendent moments, even as a child, even with a hard life.

I thought of the Proverb, “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”

I’d like to be like Anne — thoroughly enjoying things worth enjoying, without apology.

I thought about my many travels with Steve.  We’ve been all over the world.  From the start, I “collected” castles, and just loved to roam over castles and take pictures.

I think a lot of the time, especially in the beginning, Steve thoroughly enjoyed the trips with me.

But toward the end, especially after he had already decided the marriage was over, he went through the motions, but his heart wasn’t in it at all.  (You can actually see this in the pictures over the years.)

It’s hard to take joy in something when someone you love is there in body, but not at all entering into the experience.

It’s wonderful to share a transcendent experience with someone.  My last trip to Paris with the Sisters of Royaumont was a glorious example.

But it’s also freeing to not have to worry about being with people who aren’t having a good time.  To just have responsibility for yourself, and be able to thoroughly enjoy something.  A painting of a forest in France.  A blooming branch.  A field of daffodils.  A twisted tree limb.  A brisk breeze.

My life has many joyful moments.  One nice thing about living as a single person is the chance to thoroughly enjoy God’s blessings, without apology.

Yes, it was yet more wonderful when my husband was enjoying life with me, for example, treasuring our arrival in Europe.  But now I don’t have to feel bad if he is not sharing my joy.  I’m sorry for it.  I still pray for him daily — particularly that he will find Joy and know God’s great love — but how do I express this freeing sensation?  I am realizing that I am not responsible, in any way whatsoever, for his happiness or his choices.

And I am free to choose Joy.


  1. Even as singles we need to slow down enough to notice what is around us. We are blessed with so much but unfortunately take most of it for granted. Having simple health, the ability to get out of bed and interact with our environment is much more than many have. To have an occupation to do and to also have time for leisure activities. To have someone to share a thought or smile with. All these things will bring joy and a sense of thankfulness if we will only pay attention.
    Thanks for the reminder to “find joy”!!!

  2. “Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” I do so love that proverb. One of my very favorites. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  3. Thanks for your comments! Lorinda and Auntie Sue remind me that this isn’t really an issue about being married or not.
    I guess I partly connected it with that because when my marriage fell apart, I was in Europe but had no enthusiasm for sight-seeing or travel. That awful time sucked the joy out of me.
    Being in DC on a day with truly glorious weather, seeing magnificent paintings at the National Gallery, and reading a book about Anne, all reminded me to Wake up and start looking again for joyful moments.
    And it did occur to me that there are aspects of it that are simpler as a single person.
    And that is what I get to enjoy now, anyway!

  4. You’ve come a long way. Now to enjoy solace and experiences without needing anyone to enjoy with you.

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