Forgive

Something is happening within me. A slow shift, a churning, an overturning of the old to make way for the new.

For the first time in the 17 months since I split from my ex, I can taste that terrifying word on my tongue, almost ready to jump out between my teeth, but always hesitating just before the leap: forgiveness.

Forgiveness means releasing. It means opening my hands and letting go of my need to see justice served; relinquishing my desire to ensure that no other woman is treated the way I was. It means freeing myself of the burden of hating him. Acknowledging that he may continue living his life, and that his process of healing, growing, and learning is his process, and that God, not I, am responsible for doling out justice and mercy.  Admitting that he may actually be capable of growing and changing in ways that seem impossible to me given my limited perspective and jaded view of him.

I’ve always known forgiveness was the end goal. All these months I’ve been moving toward it in clumsy and halting steps, but as someone wise said to me recently, “I don’t think forgiveness is a straight line.” It’s not. Thus far my journey has been characterized mostly by switchbacks and obstacles, and I have never so much as glimpsed the destination. Continue reading

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Listen

Life in Cancer Land is exhausting and confusing and unfair and I don’t like it at all. There are some jewels among the complete and utter crap, though: time with family, breaking of barriers, shedding of everything but the essentials.

Something occurred to me the other day. I hesitate to say that I thought of it myself; it feels more like it was whispered in my ear, and began to entwine itself with the multitude of jumbled and confusing thoughts and feelings in my heart until I noticed its presence.

For the first few days after my dad’s diagnosis, I was angry. And that was appropriate. It was reasonable, understandableand right. Not to be angry in such circumstances would be dishonest; we human beings are not built to understand illness or prepared for the possibility of death.  It feels wrong to us. In addition to that, though, I felt that it was utterly unfair that I should be hit with another crisis so soon, having only recently recovered from the decimation of my marriage.

But the sweet realization the Holy Spirit has whispered into my heart in the last few days is this: maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe he knew this was coming all along, and that I would not have the strength to face it while caught up in a failing marriage. Maybe he knew I needed to be free from that weight, and that I needed time to heal before I would be prepared to deal with my dad’s illness. He knew I couldn’t have coped with this six months ago. The timing of this is evidence of his goodness and mercy in my life; not his cruelty or apathy. He gave me exactly what I needed.

He always does.

There are many conflicting feelings that pervade my existence these days. I don’t know what to think, want, feel, hope, pray. But my life, my family, and my dad’s body are in the hands of the only one who can carry that responsibility. Thank God that’s not me.

(On a practical note, if you’d like to keep up with my dad’s progress, we’ve set up a website here. You’ll have to create a username but it’s pretty simple, and we will be updating it regularly. His surgery is scheduled for tomorrow.)

Look back

Hello, blog! Here I am, back from the whirlwind of activity that has been my life for the past few months. Not that the craziness is over, but I’m taking a brief break to check in.

June 2011 finds me healthy, strong, and generally happy. Things feel….good. Some days are pretty darn great, and others are a little on the draggy side.  In short,  I feel as though the pace of my life has returned to normal.

What a relief.

I hardly ever look back any more. This blog was created for the purpose of helping me document my steps toward creating a new life out of extreme brokenness. There was a lot to process at the time, and hurt and healing were on my mind constantly.

Now it just feels like a dream. I can hardly believe it was real; for two years, I was a wife. I had a husband. I expended incredible amounts of energy spinning my circumstances and our life positively, partly for the sake of others, but mostly for myself, so that I wouldn’t be crushed under the overwhelming disappointment and anger that pervaded my daily life just under the surface.

Now I just live. No spin necessary. I share my life with wonderful people who love me. I walk around my neighborhood. I cook delicious food. I listen to music I like.  I sing a lot. Bad days come around, but they’re the result of normal problems–lack of sleep, bad weather, grouchy mood, etc. You may have noticed that my blog has shifted a bit too; these days it’s much more about how to be a joyful, creative, thoughtful person in my mid-20s than it is about dealing with pain. Continue reading

Get back in the game

Well, I did the unthinkable. I joined an online dating site.

It was a total whim, to tell you the truth. No thought or consideration whatsoever went into this decision. There I was, minding my own business, surfing the interwebs, drifting about at random on the information superhighway, when a banner ad for OkCupid popped up in my peripheral vision. I have a couple of friends who are on OkCupid, and they’ve met some interesting people and gone on some fun dates as a result. And, hey, it’s free.

Annnnnnd it was 10:00 at night, and I was bored.

So I clicked the ad, thinking I would just look around and see what the whole thing was about. But no sightseeing was allowed! The link took me directly to a page where the only possible options were “sign up for OkCupid” and “exit this page,” and in a blur of uncharacteristic impulsiveness, I entered a username and password. Continue reading

Share

A few nights ago, I found myself sitting in the kitchen of a couple I’d never met before, eating salad and spilling my guts. I was there at the recommendation of a friend, who had suggested that they might be able to help me figure out the whole counseling situation, either by serving as counselors themselves or by recommending someone else. It was a baby step. They weren’t trained and I didn’t have to pay them, but they were wise and willing to talk with me and possibly help me if they could.

So I talked a lot. I told the story of my marriage from beginning to end, hitting all the major points, starting with why I married The Ex in the first place and ending with the awful series of events that led to my decision to file for divorce. Continue reading

Catch up

Hello, blog. It’s been a while.  I started writing 4 different posts this week, and published none. I guess my mind has been a little scattered.

So I’m going to keep it simple here.

I am busy, but regaining sanity.

The anniversary of the end of my marriage is less than 3 weeks away. I can feel it approaching, almost like there’s some sort of muscle memory attached to it. It doesn’t exactly feel sad or bad, but heavy. Weighty. Big. I am aware of how much I have been through, how much hurt was in my life one year ago, and of the fact that this will always be a part of my story. It feels like that was a different lifetime, or a dream, yet the memories and scars are very real. Continue reading

Trust

This has been a very hard week–one where I just couldn’t seem to pull myself together.

I struggled each day to get out of bed, to drag myself to my car and drive to work, to sit upright in my chair instead of lying face down on my desk. I abandoned my healthy habits (exercising, reading, washing my dishes, and putting away my clothes) and instead ate loads of chocolate, created a huge mess in my bedroom, living room, and kitchen, and fell asleep on the couch several nights in a row because I just couldn’t bring myself to stand up and wash my face.

I fought a rising sense of panic about my lack of financial security or concrete plans for my future.

I was overcome by fury as I read the words of The Ex–the person who hurt and betrayed me but seems to feel no real remorse, constantly downplays his own responsibility, and baits me with false compliments that only thinly veil his true intentions: to blame, shame, and control me. Continue reading