Excerpt from the book entitled Meritage Divorce, written by Cheryl Nielsen.
I realized that divorce offered me an opportunity to go back into the barrel and become the wine I wanted to be-a kind of “barrel refinement process.” I became the winemaker. So I decided to hop in -it was a good place to hang out, safe and warm. the wood protected my fragile being and held me together. I got to re-produce myself in here-making the most of the time communing with myself. I spent some time drinking my own wine-spitting out what I didn’t like along the way, and deciding what to swallow. It took courage to learn to live by faith, as it can be dark in the barrel-but there is wine, and that is a good thing.
You see wine as it rests in a barrel goes through subtle chemical changes, resulting in greater complexity and character. It also soften the harsh tannins. The barrel imparts the character of the wood into the wine and delivers distinctive flavors and sophistication. The time I rested in the barrel had a profound effect upon the wine I became. Tears of sorrow enhanced the flavor. My personal growth, reflection, and self-discovery delivered character. The tannins of my backbone became smooth with perspective, compassion and humility. My character changed.
No longer a flat one dimensional wine, I became spicer and more complex. The experience awakened a higher spiritual awareness as a result of having only faith and a barrel to carry me through the darkness of loss and grief. I got back in touch with the varietal of my core.
When I gave myself over to the barrel refinement process, it was as though everything I was running from-all the demons of the past-were cast into the barrel with me. I had to decide if I was going to see the light of day, or if I was going to live forever in the dark. Ultimately, my time in the barrel was a time that reconnected me with the real wine I am. Not the type that hides under labels. In hindsight, the barrel turned out to be just the home I needed.