These past few days have been some of the hardest of the past few years. My daughter came home recently with the news that my ex-husband had fathered a child with another woman during our marriage. I have been alternately stunned, angered and incredibly overwhelmed with sadness and hurt. There really aren't any words to describe how I feel. Stunned probably comes the closest. Stunned that he lied to me so completely and easily. Stunned that I didn't see the signs. Stunned that he was capable of such a thing. The tears have flowed constantly, even when I've tried to stop them from coming. I feel as if a heavy blanket has been thrown over my head, and I can't get out from under it.
I started reading a new book last night, in the midst of my breakdown. Sometimes the synchonicity with which God works in my life amazes me. I had went to the bookstore a few days ago and stumbled upon three books that were unrelated, but that appealed to me. I, in an odd moment of impulse, bought all three, brought them home, and then got busy with life. I can't help but think now there was a reason I came home with these three messages.
The first is a book by Sue Monk Kidd called "When the Heart waits." I just started it, but already I see some light at the end of this seemingly endless tunnel. She says, "when the fullness of time comes, a sacred voice at the heart of us cries out, shaking the old foundation. It draws us into a turbulence that forces us to confront our deepest issues...one way or another, the false roles, identities and illusions spill over the sides of our life, and we're forced to stand in the chaos."
The thing that struck me when I read these lines is how radically I changed who I was to remain in a very dysfunctional marriage. If I'm honest, I changed everything about myself. I changed how I spoke...choosing to dumb down my speech rather than speak the way I know how to speak. I chose to appear less intelligent than I am. I chose to squash the feelings I felt and deny them to everyone, including myself. I stopped trusting my instincts, and stop listening to them altogether. I tried to lessen who I was, because if I was who I am, who I know I can be...then my light shone too brightly...so I had to dim it. I couldn't read philosophy, theology and the stuff I enjoyed. I had to be less bold, less funny than I was. It goes way beyond not being able to see the movies I wanted or eat the food I desired when we went out...I changed who I was all the way to my core. All so that this man would love me. And the kick in the ass is...it didn't work. He wasn't capable of an adult, faithful relationship. So, all that work on my part to be sure I was less than I am only to have the plan fail miserably.
Now that I understand all this, life must change. And perhaps this is how I got into this "mess" to begin with - when I really began to understand a year ago that I was missing something - that Thomas was trying to explain to me - that I had to enter into a period of becoming...I realized rather quickly my marriage was doomed. There wasn't room in the relationship for the real me. And for his part, my husband didn't know what to do with me acting like me. He was only accustomed to me acting like the version of me I thought he wanted me to be.
And if I'm realistic, this is how I have lived my whole life. I was who my parents wanted me to be for as long as I could handle that...then I was who my mentor wanted me to be until it conflicted with who I had to be for my family...then I was who my husband wanted me to be. Having children opened my eyes though. Suddenly I yearned to be who I knew I could be. I wanted my children to grow up whole, healthy and happy and I felt the only way that could happen was if there mother was whole, healthy and happy. Somewhere along each of the old paths, I lost who I was born to be...who God created me to be from the beginning. Again, Sue Monk Kidd says, "There is a self within each of us aching to be born. And when this aching breaks into our lives - whether through some crisis or struggle - we must somehow find the courage to say yes. Yes to this more real, more Christ-like self struggling to be born."
I cannot help but believe this is my truth. If I only have the courage to continue the path, stay the course. This new me is struggling to be born...can I handle the pain of this process and remain in it? It seems as if there really isn't a choice - I cannot go back. I feel the change coming over me...there really is no other option. It's sort of when you see something so promising and spectacular that you can't recall what life looked like before you saw it. Having each of my children was a moment like that - holding each of them shortly after they were born - that stunning moment when I knew that my life was forever changed by the experience of loving them. Similarly, I see clearly now that my life has changed. Not just because I got divorced, but because I have finally chosen to enter into the becoming. I am no longer running from it, fearful of what the consequences of such a choice look like. I am no longer trying to skip over it to move on to something newer and prettier. I am becoming something new...something old...something holy and blessed from the start.