So, let me start by saying it’s been a hard couple of weeks. I’ve seen fifteen years worth of my life packed into a small box trailer. I get it, it’s just stuff… When you see everything you’ve worked so hard for being picked through and divided up, I don’t care how strong of a person you are, it hurts! Then came today, I went into my home for possibly the last time ever. I’ve lived in that house for over half of my life. Once again I know it’s just a house, but it was supposed to be mine and his, for as long as we chose to live there. It’s sad, and it isn’t easy to walk away from my home.
Very clearly I’m not loved or wanted there, so that makes it a little easier. Just when I thought, “I’m ok, it’s all ok”, The pain smacked me in the face like a line drive ball, and knocked me for a loop. I started writing this in the notes on my phone this morning, intending to leave it on the table with the ring. Half way through copying it down on paper, I decided he probably wouldn’t read it or care anyways. I don’t know why but I feel the need to share it with y’all, so here goes:
(Here it is chipped nail polish and all.)
I left the house this morning, with a ring in my pocket. It was a ring that to anyone else, would have had absolutely zero value. At one time, and for over half of my life, it was my most valued possession. I’m able to leave it here today because whatever it meant at one time, it no longer means anything to either one of us now. I’m determined not to spend any more time wondering why things happened the way they did. You said it best yourself, when you said there is nothing I did to cause this. I really don’t think you realize just how your actions of the past year have affected me. There are repercussions that I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life. The sting of betrayal and the self doubt caused by it will hopefully, eventually fade. I will most likely have to take medicine(which I never needed before) for the rest of my life… I shake and can’t breathe at the most random times.(in movie theaters) I’ve let worry and anxiety keep me awake too many nights to count. Just let me get this off my chest, I HATE anxiety! I made it 31 years without a single anxiety attack. I was the most chill person you could have ever met. What changed you might ask? I woke up one day and my life looked like the remnants of a bomb had gone off, and somehow I was the lone survivor.(or at least if felt like I was alone there for a while)
It’s in those anxiety filled times, that I struggle the most with not letting the pain turn into hate. I never thought I, being the type of person I am, would ever be capable of hate. Now I struggle with this daily. I’m all about using my pain to help others so I’ll once again put my fingers to the keys, and share my innermost thoughts. I don’t want to remember the pain anymore, but somehow it keeps finding me. When I wake from a dead sleep shaking and I can barely breathe, I realize it’s found me again. When I am insecure about making a choice, how I look, or even if I am capable of being loved, the past is there trying to suck me back into a downward spiral. How do I stop it? Truth is, I don’t know that I can. What I can do is the same thing I’ve done countless times in the past year, which is to lift myself up out of the rubble, put one foot in front of the other and not look back. If it’s in the past, it’s there for a reason. Walk away. PRAY! If instead of losing my cool, I can remember to center myself and talk to God, I’m reminded that He makes me brave.
I fought so hard to save “us”. You knew there was no hope, but you let me fight anyway. At any point you could have just came clean, or ended things, instead you chose to watch me struggle. There were times that I prayed for death. Now I can for sure see the value in unanswered prayers. I found myself sobbing while driving home the other day, I started thinking about all the chances I had in the last year to be hateful; and instead I chose kindness. I hope someday you’ll look back on how I handled things and it will make you want to be better. I am pretty sure you know what makes me different, but I never would have made it through without my faith. It has grown in leaps and bounds because of the brokenness and heartache of the past year. I didn’t know I had it in me to fight so hard for another person. To fight like that and still have the marriage fail, well, that’s not on me. No matter what I tried, the end result was this. It’s sad, but now I’m ok with this! Now it’s time for me to FIGHT for me. For who I want to be, and the kind of life I want to live. Thirteen years ago, vows were said that were only taken seriously by one of the two people who said them. So today as I give you back this ring, I will lay down some new vows.
“I do” promise to let go of the hurt, even if I have to fight every single day to get back to me. “I do” swear to build my next relationship with God right in the middle of it all. “I do” promise to find a way to not doubt love. “I do” promise to know my worth. I know there will be some who will see no value in me. I also know that there are those who, even when I’m filthy and worthless, will look at me and see a diamond. Instead of dragging me through the mud, they will push me to shine. “I do” intend to let this change me. I will become what I can feel God calling me to be. I never would have stepped out in faith like this before the past year. I hope I’m wrong, but at this point I don’t think you put much stock in prayer. It is my lifeline. I’ve learned that God doesn’t always answer prayers the way we think he should. Sometimes there is a reason for the hurt. Sometimes there is a reason that everything we hold dear is stripped away. For me it has never been about money or things, but I think you got caught up in trying to be happy. You can try until you die to find happiness in people or things, in the end you’ll wind up disappointed and unhappy. Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, sometimes it just plain sucks with no rainbow in sight.
Then one day unexpectedly, tiny rays of light start seeping through the darkness, until you find you’ve gone a whole day or maybe even a week without breaking down. I’ve written so many letters, and reached out in any way I could think of, nothing seemed to help or make a difference. I hope with all that is in me, someday you will see the way I’ve handled myself during “the unmaking”, and you will want what I have. Not me this time, but what makes me, well me…
I didn’t send it to him, or even leave a note with the ring. At this point it really wouldn’t matter anyway. I went to my hometown dead set on leaving all that emotion and baggage in the house that built me. I was hesitant because I thought I would have to do this alone, but at the last minute I had a friend along for the ride. As I stood in the bedroom where I had prayed for the last fifteen years, I prayed for “him” one last time. I didn’t pray for restoration of a marriage that is over. I stood in that room holding the hands of another, and for the first time in a long time, I was at a loss for words. With tears in my eyes I said, “I don’t even know what to pray for…” It was then that it dawned on me, there was a reason I didn’t go there alone today. I had someone to hold onto me while I cried like a baby. I had someone to say, “Pray that you are able to let it all go, and focus on what’s ahead.”
So, for once, I said a short prayer for God to work in the life of the man whom I used to call my husband. Before I could say amen, my support system chimed in with a few prayer requests for me, and what we hope is to come.
I’ve been scared of everything for a long time now. I think it’s finally time to leave the past behind, and once again let love take the lead instead of fear. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. I’ve written quite a few blogs about it in the past. I swear I should have been born a hippie, I’m all about kindness and love. Sometimes I get so frustrated with myself for putting others first, even when they don’t deserve it. It’s like my moral compass is stuck on sharing so much kindness with others, and I forget to be kind to myself.
So… Back to love, it’s a very complex subject. How does one know if they’re in love? I’m certainly not an authority on the subject. I think caring more about the other person’s well being than you do your own is a big indicator that the “L” word has come into play. Going out of your way to make their day even just a little bit better, yep… I think you’re falling. If you’re completely spent at the end of the day, but you somehow still manage the energy to rub their back when it hurts… You are sunk my friend! You may be standing there with a look of sheer terror on your face, but I think it’s too late to turn back now. Besides why would you want to? Love is always going to be worth the risk. Getting hurt, well for lack of a better word, it hurts. For a while I thought I would never even want to try again. My life was a big, fat, embarrassing failure. I can’t believe I’m actually going to say it, but I guess I’ve reached the point where I’m willing to risk being broken all over again in order to love someone. Seems a little crazy, even to me. All I can say is when you meet the one whose heart just seems to match up with yours, it suddenly becomes more of a risk not to try.
I’m not one to chase after love. I’m perfectly content giving my heart away until I’m empty and poor, just to fill up some else’s love bank. If I never see my account draw one bit of interest on the deposits I’ve been making, I’ll be happy to have loved just the same. I never give love hoping to be repaid. If you do, that’s not really love. I can’t help but think that this time around things will be different. I won’t go into a relationship with blinders on ever again. I will over look the little things and discuss the big ones, instead of never saying a word. I’ve realized that a healthy relationship consists of both give and take. If I’m looking out for your needs above my own, you should be giving the same consideration to me. I’m learning how to trust all over again, and struggling not to compare everything to what my life was before. The good news is that when I compare the new with the old, the new has never come up lacking! God is blessing me in ways I never imagined possible. From the first whispered, “I love you” from a two year old(that made me cry happy tears) until the last “I love you” of my lifetime, I’m ready for this new adventure! If you want to be a part of my journey(and in the words of Jo Dee Messina), all I ask is that you “stand beside me, not in front of or behind me, I want a man who wants to hold me, not scold me, and I’ll give all the love in my heart.”