Thursday, October 23, 2014

Might This Be Joy

I have not been busy, but I also have not had the time to write. You can always follow me on Instagram if you don't see me updating RP. If you have a smart phone, you can download the app from Apple. Instagram allows me a concise poetic expression of my thoughts which are accompanied by a gallery of images, a 20-second peek into our daily life.

There has been a shift in me. Sunday was the last time I cried tears of grief, and while I have no expectations that the journey is a straight path, I have had many awakenings in the past week. I am in a place of understanding and acceptance of myself and how I reacted. And... I have had 3 full and continuous days of relief from heartbreak. Not just moments of relief, but uninterrupted days of it.

The shift has been a prayer answered, not only one that I pray often, but one that I know many others pray as well. (I have my prayer warriors and have been reminded to keep asking for prayers. It feels like I am humbly asking for money, but I am learning that praying for others is a privilege, not a chore.) The change came about Sunday evening. The day held much pain, but as the sun set and the evening sky wrapped our home, I saw a brief glimpse of reality. I sat with it and did not over think it. The feeling that came over me brought relief, courage, confidence, faith and peace. This carried thru to the next morning. I did not celebrate for fear that it would slip from within reach; instead I was mindful of its gracious presence. Evening came, and I accepted a full 24 hours of peace without any expectations that it would stay.

Today I feel peaceful. Confident. Strong. I have no anticipation that the winds of change will linger for I cannot control the weather, and I know grief all too well. It does not take a straight path.

We had a great weekend in Door County, closing down our cottage for the winter. I left the weekend knowing that a piece of my past had been healed (my marriage ending). I had no resolved feeling of peace about my relationship with Bill however. In fact, Saturday in Door County at the Sister Bay Fall Fest I feared running into him. Door County is our (my and Oliver's) stomping grounds, but at this point nothing would surprise me anymore. Bill told me in one of our final conversations that I over-inflate things. What I've come to learn is that I may under-inflate things when it comes to him. I have learned from my marriage ending and from recent life events that people are capable of doing things that you assume they would never do. It's not a cynical view. It's a realistic view. Just as I have come to believe in miracles, I believe people are human and capable of incredibly wonderful, and paradoxically, incredibly selfish acts. And so I feared Bill might be up in Door County. With his new girlfriend. At the Fall Festival. I let anxiety arm wrestle my heart. It was unsettling and no fun at all. Luckily my fears were not met. This is why Sunday evening was a significant turnaround; it was in direct contrast to how fear and sadness had been ruling my heart.

This morning I enjoyed watching Oliver during the first lesson in his classroom. The teacher has been reading a chapter book, one without many illustrations. I observed my child engaged, interacting with the teacher and responding with joy to the storyline. She had an aside with me earlier to express how excited she was that he has strung a number of great days together, and how very proud she was of him. I called his father afterwards to share the good news.

I left his class and ran a couple errands. As I completed the last one, only just a hour or so ago, I noticed that my heart was filled with gladness. What a relief this week has been. While I have no idea how long this position will last (I'm certain I have not seen the last of my tears), I am overjoyed at our new life, how our home is comfortable and inviting. How much of the clutter is gone, physically and figuratively. How God is working for me again. How church is a comfort again. How people have been bringing meaning into my life. How things are making sense. Things are getting sorted out. The fog is starting to clear. Oh how grateful I am for that! As I slipped into my truck this morning I noticed what I was experiencing. The calm energy was slightly unrecognizable, but the feeling was comfortably familiar...

Might this be joy I'm feeling?

Monday, October 20, 2014

My Beacon Light

Thou dost not know that thy grand life
Has been my beacon light.
I aim to conquer in the strife,
That I may reach thy height.
I strive to live,
so that my feet May walk the fields most fair.

-Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I thank everyone who chimes in here at RP.

I have butterflies in my stomach today from yesterday's experience. I struggle in ways I have not shared, mainly with self-blame and self-recrimination. I find I did this in my marriage too, when it broke up. Maybe it's a go-to for me (taking it all out on myself) and maybe it's just that I did not learn how to create a self that is full of grace, dignity and esteem.

I get down on myself for how I behaved after Bill and I broke it off. Letters, emails, visits, pleas. I resorted to seduction, self-imposed private investigation (aka snooping) and the like. There's more, stuff that's too embarrassing to share. I'd be happy to share if there was a way to stay anonymous, but there isn't and it could be that a future client or employer would read this blog. Or maybe I'd marry George Clooney after he divorces Amal and my past would be dug up. ;)

So while you all champion me and think that I was undeserving of his anger, I believe otherwise.

And yet, there is a part of me that does think had he been more of a kind-hearted man without demons of his own to deal with, he'd have treated me with more respect at the lumber yard. But he thinks I'm stalking him (which I am not); he thinks I am tracking him on his phone (which I am not, and certainly have not and could not). The fact that I pulled up next to him may likely support his paranoid thoughts (and maybe they are not so paranoid).

I did some things Bill thinks I did. I did not do many of the things Bill thinks I did. I did many other things that Bill does not know I did.

I remember Matt saying to me, They don't know all the details. They don't know what you did. They don't know my side of the story. If they did, they would not be supportive of you.

In one fell swoop he took away all your support and the support of my friends.

Maybe I am still working thru the crap Matt said to me. I still hold my head high with regard to everything I did in that marriage, and even after. I admitted my marital mistakes to him (no infidelity or lies) and worked hard at being someone who was more tolerant, kind, respectful, courteous and understanding as we separated and eventually divorced. That paid off for we are friends; we are very amicable and work as a team when co-parenting.

This more recent relationship I fear will never have that same outcome. I don't completely blame myself for Bill shutting me out. He had done some awful things: he was emotionally cheating on me, and then started a relationship immediately upon ending our own. He stopped talking to me for no reason and I was met with anger, rage and lies. He began acting like this on my 50th birthday after wishing me a beautiful birthday text. It turns out that was his farewell text and was the last, honest, sweet thing he said to me. He must have said some bad things about me to his family (altho I can't imagine what I had done to him at that point) because both his brother and sister-in-law (with whom I was close) told me I was not welcome at their home anymore.

I also can tell you that for as incredibly intelligent as Bill was, for as kind and loving and thoughtful as he was in our relationship, he also struggled with emotional intelligence and maturity. I was always shocked at how his first reaction to conflict was really poor. He'd shut me out during conflict, walking away, sometimes for days. A friend of mine said it was controlling behavior. Bill said it was because he would need time to cool off to see things logically with understanding and compassion. And he would. After we had conflict, he was understanding, kind, mature and often (not always) took ownership of his behavior. But I remember always being shocked with his initial response.

I feel I betrayed his trust in me just as he betrayed mine. The fate of our relationship seems inevitable now, even understandable. We were two people who did things that hurt the other. I reacted badly to his stonewalling, something that is extremely painful to experience. We both lost trust in one another. The sad thing is we never talked about it. I'm one to reason things out. As I wrote before, there are few areas in my life that have not been resolved. I have done all I can in my family and friendships to be kind, open, and respectful. I can look every single person in the eye and not feel bad about how I have handled things. When I am wrong I am often able to admit it. I don't need a pat on the back for that. I just don't want to live with conflict, resentment, hatred, anger or guilt.

With Bill, I feel deserving of his anger, altho it's difficult to accept that he hasn't forgiven me after all we have been thru. But maybe what I did is akin to someone cheating; there are some women who will not forgive an adulterer. She will kick him to the curb and never look back. Maybe what I did was just as bad. I don't know, and I fear I will never know. What I do know is he is not hurting as long as he has another women around to keep him distracted from the loss of us.

My heart still breaks. I want to share a photo of my shelves with him to prove to him that I was at the lumber yard for very good reason.

I am looking forward to a day where I will not be this kind of woman, where I will give myself a break and forgive myself for what I did. I can easily forgive him. I cannot forgive myself. And when he is angry, I wear it like a silk scarf — it's bright, noticeable and becomes a part of my look for the day.

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