Meet This Is Not the Story You Think It Is.
Laura Munson lives in rural Montana with her children and husband. For years they'd been happy basking in the beauty of a state that birthed the term "Big Sky." They owned a house on sizable property, were financially stable, and were working towards actualizing their dreams. Munson, determined to devote herself to her writing full-time, wrote countless novels, memoirs, short stories etc. But as the years wore on, none of them were published. And then her husband dropped a bomb on her - he no longer loved her and wanted to move out.
Munson's New York Times article, Those Aren't Fighting Words, Dear, made waves when it was published and its contents spawned this book. Right at the outset of her memoir, written while she was experiencing the heartbreak of her husband's rejection, Munson says:
You might think this might find me in a place of intense pain. Panic, even. State of emergency. But I am choosing something else. I am choosing not to suffer. [italics mine]Munson recognized that her husband was experiencing a crisis of pride. He'd started a business a few years back that was making him miserable and his lose sense of purpose had started to infect other areas of his life. He no longer felt at home with himself. This all had nothing whatsoever to do with his affection for his wife, and Munson knew it.
So she deflected his barbs, his attempts to make her react in a way that would justify his abandonment. She put aside all her pain, her indignation, her self-righteousness, and she waited for him to return to her. Because she loved him. Their marriage must survive; there could be no alternative.
Some may paint Munson's strategy as weak. But I see it as tremendously courageous. It's a tenant of Zen Buddhism that doing nothing at all is an incredibly powerful stance - to say neither yes or no, to simply be in the moment, as the moment presents itself.
Choosing not to suffer - what a powerful concept. For all of us who wrestle with love's insanity, in its various manifestations, this book must be read.
Video with the author
This Is Not the Story You Think It Is / Laura Munson / Putnam / HC, 2010