I’ve started trying to write something over the last couple of weeks on several occasions , but for some reason, the words just weren’t coming. I’ve just felt a little off.
These feelings started a couple of weeks ago when we had our first real argument since Jeff’s been back home. This may sound somewhat silly, but it actually kind of took me by surprise. I guess I thought somehow we wouldn’t fight over things anymore. I thought that if we survived the biggest fight a couple can have, then there was surely nothing else important enough to fight over. And I guess truthfully, a part of me thought he didn’t really have the right to get mad at me for anything. Ever. Because I’d forgiven him the biggest hurt he could have possibly inflicted on me. And he was surely so grateful that he would never find a reason to get upset with me. Of course I realize now that all those thoughts were ridiculous. Of course he’s allowed to have his own opinions and feelings. Going through this didn’t somehow make us some super couple that is so exceedingly wise and hopelessly in love that we could never disagree on anything again. There are going to be disagreements and for me to believe otherwise was just completely unrealistic. But still, I don’t think I was prepared for it just yet, and it set the stage for some insecurity to take hold.
That brought about more moments of struggle. More flashes of that imaginary movie reel that plays in my head of the affair. It happens when I least expect it. I don’t try to think about what happened. I try very hard not to think about it, but sometimes I’ll just be sitting there, and suddenly an image of them together will play through my mind. I immediately get up, and find something to do. Try to push it out of my mind with some kind of busy work. But that’s all it takes, just that one flash of a thought, and the pain settles in.
So I let the thoughts and memories get to me. I held on to them a little too long this time, trying to pretend I was ok, trying to spare Jeff from seeing my heartache. I put on my “I’m perfectly fine” face, which I’ve told y’all before never actually fools him. But I still insisted I was fine. I don’t want him to feel like he has to relive his mistakes day after day. I don’t want him to feel like I’m trying to punish him for it by bringing it up. If I just let the tears come and talk about what’s bothering me with him and get it out of my system, I’m ok again. But sometimes I want to protect him and anyone else around me from it, so instead of letting it out, I hold onto it , and it grows. And before I know it, I’ve been enveloped by it, and the thoughts start racing, and the questions come. The same unanswerable questions. And I finally reach the point that I can’t hold it in anymore, and I start asking those questions. The ones he can’t answer. The ones there is no good answer for. Although he’d much rather forget it all than ever speak of it again, he patiently talks me through it. But I can sense the frustration. And I don’t blame him for feeling it. Yet seeing that frustration scares me a little. And that fear brings more questions. If years from now, these bad moments still happen from time to time , will he reach a point where he can’t handle it anymore? Will he eventually tire of having to take care of my broken heart? Resent me for it even? Will he decide it’s just not worth it? Of course I know the fears that brought that particular set of questions to mind aren’t real. I know that he would do whatever it takes , until the end of time to help my heart heal. I know how sorry he is. I know it doesn’t feel good to watch me feel the pain that he caused. I know it doesn’t feel good to go through the same questions and answers that we’ve rehashed a dozen times. He hates what he did, and of course he doesn’t enjoy revisiting it.
I know these things are all normal. I know the healing process is complicated, and that sometimes we are going to feel like we are doing so great, only to feel in the next moment like we’ve taken 3 steps backwards.
But I can also see the progression. I know that it only gets better. Despite the occasional setbacks, I know we are taking steps forward, and into the amazing things we have ahead of us.
I know why I’ve not felt quite right the past couple of weeks. I know why the thoughts popped up more and I know why I had a harder time letting them go. I know why I couldn’t find the words to write. It’s because I was stuck. I lost my focus. I was letting the busyness of my days keep me from some important things. I wasn’t reading my Bible or my daily devotionals. I let my current self-help book sit by my bedside collecting dust. I haven’t spent enough time talking to…or listening to God. While I was gladly investing some of my time in trying to help other people in their healing process, which is definitely important and worthy of my time, and something that I feel blessed to do, I wasn’t investing that same amount of effort into my own healing. And Jeff and I weren’t spending enough time with each other. I could feel a disconnect of sorts. Which in turn brought about some feelings of fear and insecurity, and no doubt gave those negative thoughts I had been having room to grow.
The good thing is that when I stop to figure out how to get back on track, I know exactly how I got here. I know I have to take control of my thoughts and my focus, because these are the things that happen when the focus isn’t where it should be.
I have to remind myself to purge the bad thoughts as soon as they come. I have to remember to allow myself to release the pain they bring. I have to remind myself that I don’t have to protect anyone from those feelings, and that nobody expects me to. If I let it go right then and there, the flood of those unanswerable questions that those moments bring with them stays where it belongs… in the past.
So today, and every day, I have to remind myself to focus on the here and now. To focus not on the hurtful things that Jeff did, but on the person he is now. I am so proud of who he has become and I am so thankful for it. I have to remind myself to read my daily devotions, to spend time talking to and listening to God, and to take care of this marriage, this second chance at real love that we’ve been given.
I have to remind myself to focus not on the painful moments of our past, but the beauty in the moments we share now. I have to remind myself that I can’t change the past, I can’t change the fact that those things happened. I can’t control the pain that thoughts of it bring. It’s inevitable, and no amount of healing seems to make the thoughts of what happened hurt any less. But I can change my focus, and learn how to let that pain go when those thoughts come instead of staying there in that moment and allowing it to control me.
I can’t change yesterday, but I can choose how to spend today.
I’ve said before, that when you focus on the good , the goodness grows. So, I’m resetting my focus. Do you need to reset yours?
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Amy Thurston Gordy