It takes one word and I’m set off. The pain rises. I try to ignore it. I try to listen to what he’s saying. All I can hear is the pain. It’s screaming louder than anything he’s saying.
“You don’t have a choice. It doesn’t matter what you think. I am your father, you are to obey me.”
“I know you had your heart set on this, but we must put on charity.”
“I don’t understand. I’m trying to do what’s right for others and my wife is acting like a child and won’t let me.”
“This is what I’m doing. Why don’t I get to do what I want? Why must I always be responsible?”
But there is the other voice and it screams the loudest.
I do not have a choice.
I must do whatever you say.
Even if it hurts.
Even if I lose.
Because I am not allowed to choose my own path.
That voice has been with me ever since I was a little girl. Ever since I didn’t know I had a choice to say no and it changed my life. And it drags me from the woman I am to the wounded, pouty little girl I was. And that girl shows up in Katie’s office. AND KATIE, IS HAVING NONE OF THAT!
She calls me out no my stuff. I know I’m acting like a child, but the child sitting in that chair is hurt and angry and she wants for just one minute to have someone justify her pain. She gives me a choice. I can do the work or I can continue hurting myself and the husband.
We drive in silence. It seems like hours but really it’s just minutes. With heart pounding and thoughts racing I am barely holding back the torrent of tears. I know he’s feeling the same. When he’s upset he drives fast. Fast enough to scare the heck out of me. I try to breathe deeply to calm my heart but it’s not helping. Finally I break the silence. “What’s for dinner?” Seriously? A lot of things you can say and that’s what you choose to say? “I don’t know” he says. That’s a signal for me to be quiet. Later as I fall asleep I hear Katie’s words running through my head, “Be nice.”
The next day I text Katie, “I’m sorry for my behavior.” I chuckle at the thought that I’m texting my counselor for cussing and screaming irrationally…isn’t that what counseling is for? Her response is so Katie. To the point and full of mercy and grace and kindness. “I am glad you trust me enough to call you out on it.” Yes, Katie has earned my trust. She has done what no counselor could ever do with me before. Although she understands the pain behind my acting out, she is the one person who will not let me stay stuck there. And for that I am grateful.
I’m having a mid-life crisis, or at least that’s what they say. I feel like I’ve wasted most of my life being numb and the thought of the rest of my life is making me feel even more numb. I am strong. Brave. Courageous. I know this. But the thought of walking this journey is paralyzing. So instead of running from the pain I walk again into Katie’s office.
We talk about my fear that I made the wrong decision. I can’t silence that thought no matter how I try. And I can’t reconcile it. How can you love someone and not love them at the same time? How can I believe Abba gave me this tremendous gift and believe it was not a gift at all? How do I look at my life and realize that I’d make a different decision if I had to do it again and live my life…the very life I chose? Whether I made that choice because I had a choice or not, it was my choice. That choice caused me pain. Pain that I refuse to face because I’m scared of my future.
As I’m driving home the words to this song begin to run through my head.
“When the tears come streaming down your face.
When you lose something you can’t replace.
When you love someone but it goes to waste.
Could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home. And ignite your bones. And I will try to fix you.”
I know what I must do. I must choose to let the pain drain. It’s a poison and it’s killing me slowly. I have only one option, through the pain. Straight into the arms of my Savior. He’s the only one who can walk this journey with me.
I take myself off the floor, wipe my tears, stand up and begin following the light step by step. I’m going home.