Often, when I am reading, I will come across assorted quotes that just hit me in the heart. It doesn’t matter if it is a book I’ve reread a million times or not. And yes, I reread books all the time.
Why? Because you are never the same person from moment to moment, let alone from day to day or year to year. So, when you reread a certain book — particularly if it is a book or series in which the author has made his or her characters LIVE and BREATHE — it can have an entirely different impact on you than it did the first (or even the tenth) time you read it.
I have probably reread the Vorkosigan saga at least a good twenty (20) times. Sometimes I’m struck by the choices of the main character (Miles Naismith Vorkosigan), sometimes by his father’s choices (Aral Vorkosigan), sometimes by how his mother (Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan) not only thinks but acts.
No matter who strikes me the most at each rereading, it is the very essence of living by one’s principles that is overall what this series is about. A particular character can abandon his or her principles, but even then in the series they are offered ways to redeem those principles and regain their honor and integrity. Much like real life.
You see, I don’t believe that turning your back on your principles is the end of the line. Oh, you may feel monstrous. You may feel as if you don’t deserve forgiveness or the chance to make amends. But, until the moment you die, you still have the opportunity to choose to live by your principles.
Often in my marriage, I made the bad choice to turn my back on some of my principles. Not all of them, because at my most simple, some of those principles are a foundation of who the hell I am.
And, yes, I felt monstrous for it. I felt like I had dragged myself, my honor and my integrity through the mud. What’s worse for me, is that in some cases my ex would reward me emotionally for turning my back on yet another principle. I don’t know what was the point at which it went too far, and reminded me I truly needed to recover them. I don’t even know if there was a singular point.
I do know that it essentially came down to losing those last foundational principles and thereby losing my core self, or losing my ex. And it took three months of very emotional soul searching to even consider the option of divorce.
But, if I really look at it the quote Miles makes in this book makes utter sense. The choice I really made came down to this one last piece. I could not trade my heart for what — at that moment in my life — was my heart’s desire.
Now, as I am rebuilding my life and my self, I will hopefully rebuild a new heart’s desire. Realizing a heart’s desire is much like finding your purpose in life. It is amorphous at times, because things like this can only truly develop day by day. You really can’t see what your life’s purpose is except in hindsight. And when you finally understand it, it has become comfortable and essentially “normal” to you. It’s something you do, because it is who you are not because you want someone else’s approval.