When Eat, Pray, Love released years back, I read it.  I enjoyed it and I even read Liz Gilbert’s sequel to it and enjoyed it too.  When the movie came out, I wanted to see it.  I never caught it in the theater, but remember watching it at home.  I remember not really liking it too much. Oh well.

Last night, in a pre-holiday stress bout with insomnia, I caught some of the movie on TV.  As I enter my eighth holiday season alone, the stress fills me up and manifests in a severe lack of restful sleep.  I’m familiar with the pattern and try to do my best.  I’m exhausted during the day, fall asleep a bit early and then wake around midnight or so and can’t get back to sleep….ugh.

So, anyway, I watched the movie last night.  No harm, I thought, it’s not a school night.  As I watched the lovely Julia Roberts and the even lovelier Javier Bardem, I heard a quote that I don’t remember reading in the book or hearing the first time I watched the movie.  While visiting a spiritual teacher, the teacher’s wife continues to prod Liz about not having a man.  She has brought her friend, Felipe, with her and the wife mentions that he is a good man.  While leaving, Liz and Felipe have the following brief exchange:

Liz : I’m sick of people telling me that I need a man.
Felipe: You don’t need a man, Liz. You need a champion.

For some reason, this struck me last night.  The boys have been crazy, work has been busy, my ongoing to-do list is, well, ongoing, and on top of this…I’m not sleeping well.  A champion. I have been rolling the words around in my sleepy brain all day.  I’ve decided that a champion sounds like what I need. 

After all these years alone, I want my champion.  I know, it’s a big, Hollywood type of idea, but wouldn’t that be nice?  I would have someone at the end of the day who knew I did my best, gave my all and would love that about me.  To have someone in my corner again would be fantastic. 

I think that is the hardest thing about this whole widow thing…no champion.  I have my support system, but they all have their lives.  I want my champion in my corner with me at the end of the day.  I want to be champion for someone else too.

So, as I start the climb toward the holidays, I am going to be my own champion until someone might be brave enough to stand beside me again.  I’m going to remember that I have survived much and continue to strive for happiness and joy again every day. 

I have given myself the room to heal, but now must give myself the credit for making it this far.  I know that I’m not where I want to be yet, but I will get there.  If not this holiday season, maybe next…I won’t give up believing, hoping and striving to get there.  Maybe even someday, there will be someone beside me again to hold me and be my champion.

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Christine Thiele

Christine Thiele is a free lance writer, middle school teacher, and a former professional and volunteer youth minister. She has written for The Journal of Student Ministries, YouthWorker Journal, Grief Digest, OpentoHope.com, is a contributing author in several Open to Hope books and The Widow's Handbook (to be released in 2014 by Kent State University Press). Along with her writing, Christine is raising her two lovely and energetic sons. Since her husband's death in 2005 from pancreas cancer, her writing has been focused on grief and healing issues.

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