I was saddened to read of the ending of Elizabeth Gilbert's marriage on Friday.
Liz is the author of several best-selling books, the most well known being EAT PRAY LOVE, which chronicled her global spiritual quest and search for happiness after a painful divorce. At the end of her soulful journey, almost unexpectedly, she finds love. And a happy ending.
I rooted for her, as I'm sure many of you did, which breeds familiarity and makes her feel like a friend.
She made the announcement of her separation on her Facebook page, which much to her credit is a place you can find her almost every day in the guise of a gorgeously written, unerringly kind and unflinchingly authentic essay. The line that struck me the most amid her request for privacy and gratitude for her reader's continued kindness, was this:
"This is a story I am living -- not a story that I am telling."
Which leads me to the first reason we should care.
This is woman who started her career as a writer. A writer is someone who sits in a chair for hours a day -- alone -- and writes. She could have never in her wildest dreams have known the universal appeal her story would have and the fame and fortune it would bring her. I've heard her say as much in interviews.
She never asked to be famous.
She never wanted to be a celebrity.
As a writer, I have watched the trajectory of her career and I'm always in awe of how generously she shares the details of her life, which is why she said she felt compelled to announce the separation.
I also suspect she wanted to "get ahead" of the story.
To break the news before anyone else had a chance to put their spin on it. Every media outlet covered her announcement, from CNN and People Magazine to the Hollywood Reporter.
She needed to remind us of the distinction between living -- and telling.
That breaks my heart.
She shouldn't have to do that. The end of a relationship is painful enough.
The second reason we should care is that we need a reminder. And the reminder is this: What happens to other people is NOT ALL ABOUT YOU.
Most responses to her news were filled with love and respect, but as you can imagine some were more like this, how could you do this to ME? I believed in you, in love, in happy endings. How dare you! One woman from the UK was beside herself. "Not this week! How could you do this on the same week as Brexit? I can't take it!"
We all know that ridiculously self-involved person who makes everyone's story about himself or herself. Let's all try really hard not be that person.
The third and final reason and the one that matters the most to me is this:
In her Instagram bio Elizabeth_Gilbert_writer, she describes herself as an Olympic-level long-distance optimist which can only mean one thing. That she will be sad for a time. And she will mourn her loss. And eventually the optimist part of her will kick in because she's been down this road before and she knows -- she will not die.
And she will write and write and write some more.
Some really great stuff.
Because that is who she is.
Perhaps she'll even be able to write about another happy ending -- how to salvage the love inside of an amicable split.
Because THAT is something we should care about.