Spent this past week changing my name on everything; social security card, drivers license, credit cards, the electric company, phone, Face Book, Amazon Prime, etc. Never thought I would start again as a new identity. Its odd how letting go of a last name can make you a little crazy. It has made me look back at all of the different sur-names I have had and who I was while donning each one. How many times have I completely dismantled my life and started over? The first time came after I graduated from High School with no prospects for the future and found myself pregnant. Goodbye mom and dad, hello marriage and living on a Navy base. The next big shift came as my then husband took our three sons and moved to Colorado with his new girlfriend. Although I didn’t do the jumping off here, I certainly was complicit in the events leading up to this marital train wreck. Goodbye suburbia, hello, minimum wage. (My boys did come back after about three or four months living with their dad, however. Hello single parenting, HUD housing and cleaning houses for a living.)
Another marriage and another divorce got my kids raised. Don’t ask them how that was. A couple of years after dismantling that last life and now childless, I set out for Racine, Wisconsin a little wiser and a little more honest with myself, to live with, and ultimately marry my third husband. The next big jump was moving to North Carolina with him and working for a Canadian treatment center that was just moving to the states to take advantage of the opportunities here. That was a leap of faith for sure, but it did pay off in that my husband and I were able to carve out a good life for ourselves for about fifteen years. I liked being Mary Lynn Szymandera. There was a lot of healing and growth during those years.
The next cliff jump resulted in breaking down our lives in NC and moving lock, stock and barrel; which included two dogs, two cats and five horses, to Texas, where my husband’s daughter and her family had their home. You see, my husband was ill and I needed to take him to his daughter and granddaughters. I continued my career in Texas though and worked another three years before my husband died and then another year and a half after that. The career was beginning to get too heavy to carry and I broke down that life and, leaving the horses behind, returned to Michigan to care for my aging parents.
Another beginning, this time as a widow, living in a small community but finally “home”. I knew I was meant to be with someone though and it wasn’t long before I met Tom. Beginning again with a new name as a not so young bride has felt a bit strange. No sign of the old life remains except for a couple of dogs and a cat some friends from several of the past lifetimes and my wonderful family. Another leap of faith. Don’t know what the next twenty or thirty years will look like but my best friend and I will travel them together as long as we can. At 68 and 71, we may not make it to thirty, but I’m betting on 20 at least before it breaks down and I have to start all over again.
The whole journey has been a “becoming”. Becoming mature, becoming more humble, becoming a child of God, becoming a teacher, becoming a whole person, becoming honest, becoming a lover of Christ, becoming Mary Lynn Shindorf. It’s been a heck of a ride! The courage I needed to roll with all of the changes of my life was God’s gift to me. All of the opportunities, serendipitous events and amazing people who have helped me along the way were some of His many blessings. This newest adventure feels like another precious and sacred gift because I am starting out, right from the start, healed and forgiven. I wait for marching orders because I know that Christ will use “this” me for something too. I just don’t know what it is yet and I am letting Him be in charge. He always has been anyway!