Living in a small town means traveling to other towns if you want something like pizza on a Tuesday (the tiny pizza shop in town is only open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays) and bigger parks with slides. On Monday, I met up with a friend at a bigger park with slides for lunch. As we drove on the Interstate to get there, my son asked, "Mom, what are we in?"
"What are you talking about?" I asked, a little confused.
"Are we in Joe City?" he asked.
"No, we aren't IN anything. We're just on the road."
"But what are we IN?" he pressed.
"Nothing, bud," I said, "Just on the road."
On our drive home, the conversation continued.
"What are we in now?" he'd ask. My patience was wearing thin. As we neared town, we could see the truck stop on our exit.
"Ah! Now we are in Joe City!" He called out.
"No, we are still on the road," I said.
"But I can SEE the truck stop," he insisted, "If I can see it with my eyes, how can it not be true?"
And I had to smile.
He is definitely my son.
I hate being on the road, literally and figuratively. I'm impatient.
I really, really, REALLY struggle with being WHERE I AM. I struggle to feel the anger that naturally comes with this. I struggle to let myself hold my resentments... I want to FORCE myself to give them up even though I am definitely not ready.
Most of all? I am not okay hurting. I am not okay with feeling trauma STILL.
This last weekend I had what any outsider would deem, "The Mother of all Overreactions."
I basically sat down on my way up the mountain and felt the sting in my calves, the thirst in my throat and the exhaustion in my entire being.
I CAN NOT DO THIS ANYMORE.
I AM NOT CAPABLE OF DOING THIS ANYMORE.
THERE IS TOO MUCH DAMAGE IN OUR MARRIAGE.
I believe our marriage can be healed just as much as I believe Danny can be healed. I do doubt a little that I can be fully healed from this broken state.
I just don't know that I have it in me to FIGHT the good fight, to keep going!
I feel safe with Danny away, and each time he rubs my trauma I push him away, away, away. And anyone who needs THIS much space is really stupid to stay married, right?
The voices inside of me were at war with each other.
Danny didn't know what to do but promise he'd work to understand, he'd work hard to do what I am too tired to...
I hate promises.
I asked for space, took my ring off. And then I felt nothing. I was (and am) utterly emotionless.
I prayed and felt good about staying. I felt better about leaving.
The thing is: above any mortal person, Danny gets me. More than our therapist, more than my sponsor, more than our truly inspired Bishop... DANNY gets me. And though his progress was much less on the "pro" side lately and more on the "re" side... he still found the clarity to see what I've been going through. He took full ownership. He validated me.
"Good days with you are really good," he said, "and bad days are really bad. You're a deep feeler and that's okay. It's something I love about you."
He assured me that if I have this kind of breakdown every six months, once a year, once every two years, THAT WAS OKAY. And then I went to a fireside -my cousin reported her mission. I had told my aunt earlier in the week that I'd bring 3 dozen cookies.
And then trauma.
So Danny stayed home from the fireside and made 3 dozen peanut butter cookies from scratch.
I wanted to stay with him. I wanted to leave him. I felt God wanted me to do both as well.
So I ate half a bag of jelly beans to help quell the confusion.
I continued to pray, and the answer remained the same.
Staying is good, leaving is better.
I decided to go to the temple alone and pray. I wanted to ask specific questions.
Danny gave (is giving) me lots of space: no touching, no loving words, no phone calls, no texts. He sleeps on the couch.
I reached out to a friend and voiced my frustration.
"How am I STILL HERE? How am I STILL HURTING? I have been working on recovery stuff for almost 5 years. I don't think I can continue to live with someone who rubs my trauma so ON TARGET."
She doesn't know much about addiction, but her understanding of the principles recovery teaches? Spot on.
"It's not like cancer, Alicia," she said, "It's not like something that comes and is treated and then gone. This is how it's going to be. And it will get better on the Lord's timetable, but not yours."
I don't feel triggered when I see fashion magazines anymore. Progress!
I don't feel triggered when I see ladies in short shorts anymore. Progress!
I guess I felt like I was DONE with trauma.
And Danny is doing really well. I started recovery BEFORE him and I'm still struggling MORE than he is! This is frustrating for me.
He came home from work yesterday and as he prepared to go to the temple himself, I felt like maybe I could go with him.
Crazy, right? After all of these CRAZY thoughts and feelings? But again -I'd been kind of on auto-pilot all day, emotionless and functional.
The last session started at 7, and an emergency sitter was procured. Danny lost his recommend briefly, but we finally walked through the temple doors at 6:50.
"We're here for the session" we said.
"You're too late," the nice man in white said, "The last one started at 6:30."
Apparently the temple schedule online is outdated.
"But you can do sealings," he said.
Did you hear that? The tension? The VIABLE TENSION?
Danny's eyes looked like the eyes of a deer in the headlights. Fear, fear, fear.
All it might take is one sealing, and BAM. Divorce.
But I felt nothing. So I said, "Let's try it."
And all through the sealings, I noticed the wall paper and the pretty crystal chandy. The ladies in the room were so pretty and glowy and their silver hair made me happy.
The words of the sealing ceremony seemed unable to enter my heart. It was as if God had walled off any and all depth of feeling from my soul.
I felt shallow and incredibly happy about that.
In the Celestial Room, I cracked open a white bible and inhaled the sweet scent of humidified air.
I read the story of Abraham trekking up a mountain with his only son. Surely he felt conflicted about the whole thing. Surely God was telling him something that went against his gut.
The story brought me some peace and a little not (the Old Testament freaks me out sometimes)... but I closed the book and prayed.
I'm willing to leave if God REALLY wants me to.
But it's so hard, when it comes right down to it, to walk away from a man who bakes from scratch.
I asked God some pointed questions and he communed with me. He walked with me in the mazes of my broken mind.
"Leave him and cleave unto me," God said, ever the jealous God.
I thought I was.
I've used all of the books, all of the info, the programs, the scriptures, the prayers, the meditations! I've used the songs and the practices and activities!
BUT I AM STUCK.
With Danny in the home, it is nearly impossible for me to cleave unto God. I still find myself giving into fear, to making Danny my center... even though I do my daily prayer, my daily scripture study!
A few days before I sat down on my mountain trail, God spoke to me through mind-music (when he puts a song in my head and makes me go, "Aw, GOD! You KNOW ME SO WELL!") and told me to take His yolk upon me, for it is easy and His burden light. And I would find rest.
Okay! I said. And finished my walk with determination but scratching my head.
Kind of like, "I WILL DO THE THING! (I don't actually know how to do)."
Maybe it's a lack of faith?
Maybe it's an opportunity to grow.
Maybe it's because I don't really believe -STILL -or at least today -that God can truly fix this mess.
So today I'm heading in for a massage. I took a nap today.
I am allowing myself to be ON THE ROAD which means having days where the trauma comes up -because it isn't healed yet -and I AM TOO TIRED TO MAKE ONE MORE STEP.
It's part of the process.
It's on the road.
And though I can see what life might look like without having such a guarded heart, it doesn't mean I AM THERE or that I'm bad for NOT being there.
I'm simply on the road in the valley, and when I reach the mountain top, it will all make sense.