This morning while scrolling through my feed reader and scarfing my breakfast, I came across this post by Sara Wilson. Her mention of author Laura Munson's book This Is Not the Story You Think It Is reminded me that I had read that very book sometime last year. At the time it was just the beginning of the problems I was to experience in my life and my marriage over the next year and a half. I remember thinking in relief that, thank goodness my marriage wasn't going through that and I marveled at the strength of self the author showed. I loved the book, retained a lot of valuable wisdom from it, but then promptly threw all that wisdom out the window when things got truly difficult. It then became about me me me and me being right right right and him being wrong wrong wrong. It's a daily struggle to remember to ask yourself the question, "Do you want to be right or do you want to love?"
Sara shares some widsom from Rumi,
"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there."
I detest being lonely. Something to do with way back in my childhood has hardwired me to be attention seeking (whether negative or positive), needy, and nearly incapable of being alone. I'm prone to apologize even when I don't think I'm in the wrong just to retain closeness. Of course that in turn leads to resentment. Or I might practice what is termed as "proximity seeking". Meaning I will strategically place myself close to the person even if the vibe is strained or I know they want distance just so I don't feel the physical pain of solitude. When I say the person, I really mean my husband. For the most part I am capable of acting like a normal human being in most other relationships. Although honestly there are always exceptions.
I explain all this to say...I don't want to go sit in the field and wait. I want to ask a million questions...will there be snacks in the field? will there be distractions? is there wi-fi available? can someone come sit with me and keep me company? can I take a nap while I wait? And then when my questions run out I want to bargain...please don't make me go to the field. i'll be good. i'll be chill. i'll do what you want just don't make me go be by myself until you decide to come meet me.
Over the past year and a half I have walked out to the field, waited in the cold, grown tired of waiting and run back home. Only to return to the field and repeat the process over and over and over. There have been times he has come out to the the field himself and we have sat there together for a time. But it has yet to happen that we have come out of the field side by side.
Laura's book shows that she possesses a level of patience and tolerance and love that I have yet to master. When I really examine my actions and behaviors closely I see that my ego is still alive and kicking. I thought it was dying, that it had actually died, but evidently catlike in its qualities it has nine lives and no regard for anyone's life but its own. I've asked that it be taken to the firing squad for a quick execution but instead it has been sentenced to the cross for a slow death. And I am front row for its pain and pleading. Wanting to save it only to save myself the agony. There is no love in that.
While my husband and I have been fighting our own private battles we have been waging war against each other. We are exhausted. Fighting off what you perceive as the enemy on all sides takes its toll. It's hard to be rational from a place of exhaustion. It's painful to love when you feel you are under attack. It's difficult to recognize wisdom when your supplies have run out and the troops have deserted you. They realized that the battle is pointless but you are still there, firing at yourself and calling it a win.
One thing I've come to realize during my conversion is that I am actually never truly alone. While in moments of weakness I might forget but it always comes back to me. God is always with me. He is there through the pain. He is there in my marriage. He is giving me support and letting me fall according to His plan. And the joker that He is, He is making sure that I understand good and well that things happen on His timeline and not mine. The final step of me being able to come into full communion with the Church has now been put in my husband's hands. That's right. We need to have our marriage convalidated before I can receive all the sacraments. Basically...we have to get married again.
Pray for me...