Thoughts by Richard Bleil
As so many of my posts seem to start, she is beautiful, intelligent and sweet, and, as I learned, incredibly brave. Rachel was dating a former student of mine, one with, unfortunately, commitment issues. I won’t go into this, as I understand the roots of this issue, but it wasn’t fair to her. She was rather old-fashioned, and the next step for her was one that he just couldn’t take. It’s unfortunate as they are both great people, and eventually it came to a head resulting in their breakup.
She was shattered by this. She had spent some years on this relationship, and when she realized that he could not give her what she had been hoping for, the relationship came to a crashing end. I don’t know the details, of course, but this was the best I could put together on the information available. It was heartbreaking for me, as they were a really cute couple.
So many of us have faced an earth-shattering loss at some point in our lives, and we all handle it differently. Some better than others. I personally don’t handle these situations well. When my wife left me for a chemical addicted alcoholic uneducated and unemployed registered pedophile (in other words, she traded up) it shattered my existence. Clearly, even today I have not come to grips with what had happened and struggle with being alone.
Rachel is a personal hero of mine. I was torn asunder, and handled it by becoming a raging workaholic, something that’s very unhealthy both emotionally and physically. She did something that amazes me. She took one of those offers to become a teacher abroad.
Yes, today she is living in South Korea teaching English. On occasion, she posts photos from her trips around the country, and of her neighborhood. Filled with gardens, temples and unbelievably beautiful architecture (made more beautiful when the photo includes her standing by it), South Korea is filled with culture, history and beauty. I’m often jealous to see where she is living.
Mostly, though, I’m so proud of her, and very humbled, for how she turned her tragedy into an amazing adventure and lifestyle change. I don’t know how many people would have the courage to leave their homeland for another, even in the best of times and especially a culture so different than ours as South Korea.
It takes a special talent to keep a calm frame of mind in times of stress such as this, and courage to make the decision to turn the tragedy into a win with such a powerful change of lifestyle, but she did. Her experiences have no doubt had a significant impact on her, a new world view and made her wise possible only with exposure to such a new culture.
It feels rude to say so, but I’m glad they split up. Don’t get me wrong, I like the young man she was with. I’ve always regarded him very highly, but as occurs in so many relationships, this man was apparently really holding her down. I’m sure that she would be happy if he had changed his ways and actually found the courage he needed to marry her, but her life would have been much more routine if this had happened. Instead, she has had an extraordinary life since their relationship ended and gained a huge fan in me for what she has done.
If there is a moral to this story it must be the traditional “silver lining” one. When things go wrong in our lives, it’s so easy to feel singled out and cry that familiar phrase “why me?”, but the answer actually is, why not? Some people like to say when a door closes a window opens, or every cloud has a silver lining, but honestly? Things don’t always happen for a reason, but sometimes changes like this provide us with the impetus we need to go in a completely different direction. Rachel lost a long-time relationship but used the newfound freedom to do something she might not have done before. I used my freedom to move to various places across the country, with new jobs and opportunities (that didn’t work out anyway, but I tried). The end is not always the end. In fact, sometimes it’s just the beginning, but it’s not luck or fate that makes the difference. It’s the individual, the person. With proper courage, loss can be turned around into something dramatic and beautiful. And, Rachel, if you are reading this, for what it’s worth, I’m so very proud of you.