Memoir: Divine Intervention

This is an excerpt of my Memoir Manuscript

Through the Woods to the Sea: Stepping into Myself, Stepping into My Life

By Cathy Teoste

Divine Intervention

Bittersweet that’s what these last five months have been. All of my daughters have gone off to begin their own lives. Monica, my youngest daughter, in her youthful wisdom said, “Mom, go have your own adventure.”

I don’t know if I have the courage or the strength for that. I don’t know if I am capable. I am not that young adult stepping out excitedly into the world for the first time. I am already supposed to have a life but for years all I have been is their mother. Now that role has diminished. It has become one of letting go and letting them fly on their own. I have given them wings to fly but my wings are damaged and broken. I am not sure I can fly on my own. Unlike them I am not moving on to some wonderful new adventure. I am running away from the life I would be left with if I stay. I am running away from being alone with myself because I don’t exist.  People talk about the empty nest syndrome. It has all happened too fast. I was not prepared for this.

I want my own life but I am not exactly sure of how I want to live that life. What I do know is that it sure doesn’t match anyone else’s idea of what my life should look like. I don’t know what is right for me I only know what isn’t right for me. I don’t want to get caught up in a life of busyness, work, chasing money and collecting material possessions filled with stress and emptiness. I don’t want to live in yet another creation of a false self. But what choice do I have? Do I have another option? What could it be?

I am tired. I just want to rest. Resting isn’t allowed. Taking a break from life isn’t allowed. You are expected to move from one phase directly into the next, from one situation into the next without pause.  Inaction is laziness. Inaction is unacceptable. Inaction is irresponsible. I hear all these words over and over in my head. I know that silently people around me are whispering them about me.

I asked for diving intervention. It was Fourth of July weekend. It was the last time I would be with Monica and Nicole before they left. We went to visit with my family. I decided to just relax and enjoy the few days. Leave my search and concerns for the future in God’s hands. I prayed that the solution and answer would be waiting for me when I arrived back home.

Returning home I went through the mail, nothing. I checked the phone messages, nothing. I went to the computer and checked my e-mail, nothing. Heaviness started to fill my body, I felt dejected. I walked into the dining room and wrote on a piece of paper. “Dear God, I expected a miracle today. Where is it? I expected that you would have sent me a sign, guidance as to what I am supposed to do? Where is it?” I folded the paper up and threw it onto the middle of the table and walked into the kitchen. I made a cup of tea and retreated to my rocking chair by the living room window.

The sadness overwhelmed me, panic was swirling around me getting ready to grab me and take hold. I felt forsaken by God. All hope seeping out of me. Faith lost. Then the phone rang.

I got up, went into the kitchen and answered it.


“This is Sister Johanna from The Christine Center. Is this Cathy?”


“We would love to have you come. Are you still interested?”

“Yes” was all I uttered in disbelief.

“Will the date on your application still work for you?”

“Yes, I can be there on Sept. 7th:

“Are you sure you don’t want to think it over?”

“I don’t need to think it over. I will see you then”

Inside I was thinking, oh my god, this must be my answer, this must be my miracle. Maybe just maybe my prayer has been answered. This has to be divine intervention. What else can it be? I have no idea why this is my answer or why this is where I am to go but there is no reason to hesitate.  I must grab onto it and go for it.

I have spent most of my life trying to accept and create the vision of what others said life should look like. It seemed everyone around me except my girls thought it was high time I was responsible and got a real job. But for years my only job was being a mother. The war that was raging within and without had taken such a toll on me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually that I have no energy, no strength left. How can I find the courage to do what is right for me? I have never really been responsible to myself. But being responsible to myself now means I will have to be irresponsible in the eyes of others.

Most of my family and friends especially my mother think I have lost my mind, gone crazy even. I hope not. Strangers think I am brave and courageous. I am not. I am panicked and scared but I am finally being responsible to myself even if it means being irresponsible in the eyes of others.

I am relieved. I am at peace with my decision. I am taking a leap of faith into the unknown and uncertainty of who I am or who I want to be. It is not courage that has pushed me across this threshold into the middle of the woods but panic. I am afraid of being alone, of the voices of others, of my own voice. I need to get away from all that has held me strangled, the emptiness, the buried hurt, and all the reminders of what I have lost and am losing.

I have given away just about everything I own. I have kept only personal and sentimental items.  I am walking away leaving unfinished business I can’t resolve or handle. I don’t care if I lose everything else that is left because in reality what does it all matter anyway?

Mid-life and all its changes has handed me the opportunity to step away from my life and away from the world to journey into all the hidden depths of myself and to begin to unravel the past that has held me down, rendered me empty and invisible. All I know is that I am braking free of the chains that have held me tight. And so I am leaping without looking and am heading deep into the woods out into the unknown hoping to find myself and to begin a new life.

This is an excerpt of my Memoir Manuscript

Through the Woods to the Sea: Stepping into Myself, Stepping into My Life

By Cathy Teoste