Big Mark said something at his blog that gripped me. It wasn't even the main point of his post, but I stopped reading. Dead. I couldn't go on until I digested the truth of his statement:
The trap of looking back is that the past sometimes looks better than it really was.
Say it out loud. Now say it again. Close your eyes and recall the times you fell into this trap. Now here's my story...
I was miserable when I was married. I chose my husband for all the wrong reasons. He looked great on paper, and he was an out for me as a 26-year old single mom dreaming of moving from mom's house. I had a great career, but my life was minus the savings and the guts to step out.
He walked out one week before our 4th anniversary. He was chasing a single welfare mom with a brood of kids who was willing to sell her soul for the BMW she thought he paid for.
After his departure, fear gripped my life. I wasn't sure how to care for two boys - the one previous and the one we shared - and make ends meet without a second income. I became physically ill, and I decided to get him back as I rewrote history to convince myself that "it wasn't that bad."
He never came back, and I continually count that as one of the biggest blessings of my life. Because it was that bad. Not because he was so bad (although that's arguable), but because I was losing myself to be a "good wife" in exchange for the security of two incomes and a reputation of "good wife."
Three years later... almost to the exact day... I met His Side. Like a precious puppy rolling in the grass at play, I languished in the freedom I found to be myself and still be loved.
In response, I did my share of distorting the present. A new fear of losing that feeling drew me to focus on His Side's flaws as an excuse to be alone again. Because His Side isn't fatally flawed in one critical way: He doesn't hide a single ounce of his love for me in spite of his flaws. Like children, he makes me crazy, but love keeps me wrapped in his life.
I left him. I put him out. I demonized his flaws. But he presses on with protecting me from harm, loving me, putting that love into action (in endless ways that deserve their own post), and reminding me that he is committed to loving me for the rest of his life.
Rewriting history. Distorting the present. Neither is healthy or fruitful.
He bought me a beautiful ring over the weekend. I wear it on my middle finger. He held onto the matching band, and wears it on his pinky. In spite of my fearful defiance, I have enough information about his character, his fight, and his love, to concede that one day both will be on the proper finger.
He promised to stop by here and write. I can't wait to hear what he has to say.