I don't talk about it much... I feel like it's all so far in the past... History... and I don't really know what to say about it now. Some days I am too keenly aware that I am the product of alcoholism but my parent has put off that old life and is living a new one in Christ, this knowledge leaves me with a faded memory of the tough stuff.
I've written a couple of times about the girl I used to be; she makes me cringe, she makes me sad, some days she makes me ashamed - but she was always a fighter. I built walls to protect myself, to protect my mom and my brother and even some walls to protect him. They were weak, I was not. I didn't need protection, I could withstand... the heart of a fighter. Walls, however, are not a foundation. Walls crack and crumble. Walls are meant to come down.
My walls are cracking.
My husband and I are on opposite schedules four nights a week... he works nights, I work days. I work week days, he works weekends. I am out of bed getting ready by 5:00 am and he has only crawled in bed two hours before. It's not completely bad...
He gets to pick the kids up from school four days a week. They go out for ice cream and go on bike rides. He helps them with their math, because, lets face it -- mommy has no clue. Three nights of the week we get to be a normal family, dinner at home - together at the table. We sit on the couch and hold hands watching our TV shows.
But somehow, somewhere in the last part of the week, where we only see each other 45 minutes out of the day... something changes.
I am frustrated with the morning routine, I set timers to remind the kids to get dressed. I set timers to alert the kids to go wake daddy up so that he can take them to school. I am frustrated with the evening routine. I come home and almost always, there is more than a load of dishes waiting for me... and a few loads of laundry... and the kids need a bath... and dinner still needs to be made and I am alone... with the rest of the homework and chores.
Boy, there were a lot of I's in that last paragraph.
Anyway, let me tell you... if my husband were writing the next paragraph, he'd say, "She is always so crabby. She wakes up crabby... she goes to work crabby... she comes home crabby. I can never do enough for her and it's never right by her. I am tired, I work nights, in the cold, in the heat, in the rain. Sometimes I am driving all over the city in the middle of the night to fix broken buses. She expects so much and I feel like she just nags... Frankly I don't understand."
And somewhere in the middle of all of that my husband would say that I don't pay attention to him... especially, when "he'd like me to"... I know all the women reading this understand what the quotation marks were for... and I will tell you, he's right. The last thing I want to do, after I have been away from the house all day, having to come home to make dinner - do the dishes and then do the dinner dishes, plus what ever else needs to be done, is take care of his needs... when my needs are screaming to sit down and just be.
Then... the fight happens... Almost weekly now, like clockwork on Monday night. I am not sure the trigger; lack of sleep perhaps, the after-effect of two ships passing in the night for four nights in a row, the build up of comments from three days of feeling neglected on his side and my side feeling taken advantage of... I don't know, what ever the reason... the argument comes.
A few weeks ago it spilled over into Tuesday night. Nothing was particualarly bad, in fact it was a good night. We'd just hosted some friends for a weekly Bible study and the study was great. We were happy and the kids were going to bed. I made the mistake of taking my phone to the dinner table and answered an email, he thought I should be paying attention to him.
So we went to bed angry. He rolled to his side, signaling his attitude and I rolled to my side - the line was driven down the middle. We woke up, much the same way... and it was a bad day for that... my best friend says it will make a good blog, she says, "write about that Bestie'.
These arguments and these moments though are having a lasting effect on us, on our minds... they are starting to leave marks. I can feel the broken and battered condition of my heart when he speaks. I can feel the engraving of, yet, another comment into my personage. If I feel it this way, I am sure he feels it more to some degree.
I am just not this person, I don't hold on to these comments. I am not often in a situation where I feel so unqualified to walk through. I feel weak. I feel out of control. Arguing I can do, cleaning up after a mess I can handle, hugging a wounded person I can surely do - that's what alcoholism teaches you, to clean up the collateral damage... But when the collateral damage is your spouse, marriage, love-life, your personal best-friendship with the person you married... That's where I don't feel qualified.
Who do you talk to when you are mad at your best-friend... Well, you talk to your girlfriends and when they've heard enough or when you're talked out and they aren't seeing the marks on the inside, when it's not enough... You go to Enough, because Enough was there all along. Enough should have been #1.
Some days, driving into the city for work, when the voices of wounded girls in my head making excuses for how I was reacting to the condition at home. I'd pray and turn my worship music up louder - drowning out Satan and his lies. Changing the condition of my mind and heart in an hour.
These last few weeks I have spent a lot of time on my knees, on my face, down low - humbled before God. Some mornings, when my heart wasn't right for prayer, I heard "go lower"... "Go lower"... And my heart changes - it changed.
Finally this last week... Instead of "I", I thought of him, my husband. I thought about where he is at, the condition of his heart. The places in his life that I know God is working on. He is going through his own learning and changing and God quietly whispers to me, "Where he is going, you cannot follow." So I don't... And instead of thinking of all the ways he's not met my needs today, God has placed my husband's in my heart.
I said to my friends, those who love me and keep the secrets of my heart just yesterday, " I am so thankful for your love and prayers! I am just in awe of God and His perfect plans! That doesn't mean things are better - because they aren't - it just means they are safely in His hands!"
Yesterday, Monday, we didn't fight... Finally a break through in the month long battle. Something is finally working.
Resting in God's plan, changing the condition of my heart.