How am I?
I’m doing good. Aren’t I? I mean, I wake up intent on doing good. I get through my days and push past the bad stuff and put a smile on my face, and that smile, more often than not, is genuine. I’m thankful for everything God is doing in our lives. He really is so, so good. So in that sense, things are great.
So when people say “Are you doing ok?” , I say “I’m fine. I’m good.” And I mean it. I believe it’s (mostly) true. Honestly when it comes down to it, I don’t really have a choice. If I want to be fine, I just have to decide that I am, and go with it.
But sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I feel like there’s a fine line between positive thinking and downright suppression. Sometimes that line gets blurry and I realize that maybe I’m not dealing with something that I need to deal with and that isn’t healthy. So I try to pay attention. When someone asks me how I am, I’ve realized that sometimes maybe it’s because they perceive something that I’m suppressing. Something in my countenance that I’m not aware of. So at first my response is, “I’m doing great”, but later, I realize maybe I’m really not so great. So I deal with it the best ways I know how and I get up the next day and start fresh with the intent that I will have a good day.
Living in positivity, it’s so simple, yet also so complicated. Because the things that cause the negative thoughts are real. The pain is real. The heartache is real. And sometimes I feel like pretending that it’s not, for the sake of trying to be positive, is just not realistic or healthy. So yes there’s a fine line. I’m working on finding the balance. Being honest with myself about how I’m really feeling, so that it doesn’t eat me away inside, while keeping a positive mindset and believing with everything in me that I’m going to get there. That I am doing great. That the heartache will one day lose its sting. That one day I can truly let go of the anger.
Jeff and I had a conversation the other day. I asked him if there was any part of him that was glad that he had the affair. If there was maybe just a part of him that was a little bit glad that he got to have that experience. I mean it’s something that all guys think about whether they act on it or not. So, knowing now that he would end up getting everything back, that basically things would suck really bad for a while but in the end he is forgiven and gets his life and his family back. Was there any part of him that would go back to that moment and still go through with it? Was there any part of him that felt good that he got to have that experience, he got to be with someone else and he didn’t lose everything? Knowing now that things turn out pretty good for him, and that I was the only one really still paying the price? I was the one really feeling the consequences, and he really didn’t lose anything.
His response was “I lost a lot of things, but mostly, I lost you.”
I said “but I’m still here.”
He said, “You are, but also you’re not. I lost you. The real you. The you that existed before I did this. I get pieces of you, I get what you want me to see, but I never really have all of you.”
I said, “but it isn’t that I let you see what I want you to see, this is me now. These pieces…This is all that’s left.”
And he said, “and I have to look at the pain in your eyes. I have to look at you every day and see the parts that are gone, and know the reason those aren’t there anymore is because of me. I did that to you. I have to live with the fact that I did that to you. And you are a different person now. It’s not necessarily a bad thing because in so many ways you’re even better, but that’s because since I took those pieces out of you, you filled in those empty spaces and put pieces back in their place. But if I could go back, even knowing that we end up together, I would never hurt you like this again. There’s nothing on this earth worth seeing you cry, seeing you sad, nothing worth having to watch you feel that pain.”
Sometimes I forget. I forget that although he ended up getting everything back, he carries the guilt of what he did. It really wasn’t a fair question to ask. Just a thought in my head when I was feeling angry about how much this has cost me. Sometimes I look at him and think it must be nice. To walk around knowing you got to enjoy doing what you did, you had your fun, things got really bad for a little while and then you get to walk around forgiven and free and everything in your world goes on like it never even happened and so why wouldn’t you go back and choose that again.
But that’s not who he is. I know that’s not who he is and I know that he hates the person he had become. The person that did that. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of that thought process, but I know it’s not true. If he could go back, knowing what he knows now, I have to believe he would choose differently.
But I keep going back to what I said in that conversation.
“These pieces… This is all that’s left.”
It’s kind of like that movie “The Truman Show”. When you wake up one day and realize that things are not at all what you thought they were. When you realize that almost a year of your life is missing. That it was a deception.
That really messes with your head. It’s hard to make sense of it. You go back through those days and it’s so confusing, to see them the way you remember them and then to compare them with the light of truth shining on them. It’s hard to distinguish which parts were real and which parts were just part of the deception. That, along with the heartbreak. It changes you. Parts of you are broken, and while parts can be mended, they are never the same, and sometimes there are gaps. Pieces that just seem to be missing.
So like Jeff said, we fill those pieces in. So, who is the real me now? I’m still figuring that out. I’m still filling in those missing spots. Sometimes, like when I ask Jeff a question like I did the other day, I’m trying to fill them in with the wrong stuff. So I have to take that back out. I’m doing my best to fill them in with forgiveness, love, kindness, joy, and strength. A whole lot of strength.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold. It takes something that has been broken, shattered, and it embraces the brokenness, and encourages an acceptance of the things we can not change. The philosophy is that brokenness is a thing of value, that there is more beauty in that brokenness than there was when the object was whole. Instead of hiding the broken parts, it illuminates them. There is an incredible beauty that can come from brokenness. When it’s pieced back together with care, and with the most precious of materials and resources, it takes on a new life. A new purpose. Fragile, yet incredibly resilient.
I like the way someone that wrote about this process once put it, that “in many ways , the true life of the bowl began the moment it was dropped.”
I like to think of my healing process as being similar to that.
So when you ask me how I am, I’m going to smile. And I’m going to tell you that I’m ok. That I’m getting better every day. And I’m going to mean it.
I want to be like that piece of pottery. Not trying to hide the brokenness. But instead illuminating it by being pieced back together with the goodness of God. Because there is no purer gold than his goodness. And when all the pieces are seamed back together, hopefully you’ll see his goodness shining through all the places I was broken. And I believe that I will find that I’m ok with who I’ve become. Some parts old, some parts new, once shattered but still shiny. Enriched by the brokenness instead of being destroyed by it.
So how am I doing? Well, it’s complicated. But, I think I’m doing just fine.