Once upon a time, I entered the world of recovery because I was an unmanageable mess. In a painful process of discovery and education, I began to understand how to live -truly live -again.
This morning, I woke up and and was amazed that despite the Mess that is My Marriage, I still functioned. I still laughed.
The garden was weeded.
The grass was watered.
The children attended swimming lessons.
I received an hour of training at my new job.
There were phone conversations and sandwiches and make up and baths and a gigantic slip n' slide at the park.
Because there's no hope. I have no hope. Without hope, there is no hurt. Without hope, I'm safe.
At least, that's what I thought.
And then, I met with the Stake President tonight. He called me for I Didn't Know What, and as he questioned me about a variety of things, he asked me some very pointed questions about my roll as a wife.
I was honest with him. I told him about my weekend, about my job, about my circumstances -all of which he was completely unaware of.
And then I admitted OUT LOUD -with a quick disclaimer that I wasn't happy about it -that I did have hope.
I did hope that we would be okay.
I drove away from the Stake President's Office. I went to Wal-Mart. I bought a bag of dark chocolate covered blueberries.
I ate them on the road home in a nervous, stressful fitful state.
If I have hope, I'm not safe anymore...
In my shin-length polyester skirt that looks like something out of the 60s (which I actually think it is), I felt stark naked, vulnerable, exposed. I was a sitting stupid susceptible duck.
After ALL the hurt.
After ALL the years.
After it ALL.
I still felt hope. I called my sponsor and tried to talk it out, work it out in my head. I called my husband and started saying things like, "I'm married, but not. But not single. But I'm your wife. But I don't feel like it."
All the while stuffing my mouth with self-loathing and chocolate.
"I promise to forget you ever said the word HOPE," my husband said, "As far as I'm concerned, you don't have any."
I came home, hit my knees in prayer and asked my Father in Heaven OUTRIGHT.
"Does feeling hope mean that I am weak? stupid? susceptible?"
And the answer came... clearly, distinctly, "Alicia, hope is part of the Atonement. Your hope is in the Atonement."
Peace flooded through my being.
Except for my stomach, which had to be excused on account of the nausea induced by the bag of chocolate.
I DO feel hope.
I do HAVE hope.
For a few awful hours tonight, I thought my hope was anchored in my husband, and that thought was enough to send me into insanity. But the truth is, my hope is anchored firmly in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
The Atonement has the power to change men.
The Atonement has the power to heal broken hearts.
No matter what the future holds, the Atonement applies to it -a blanket, miraculous balm.
I trust in it and I hope in it.
And THAT is something that makes me rather the opposite of weak, naked, susceptible, vulnerable, and stupid.
I don't WANT my husband to forget I ever said it.
Before he left for his training this week, I told him I couldn't say the H word.
But one enlightening conversation and empty bag of chocolate later... I CAN say it, and I WILL say it.
I hope on.