Tag Archives: looking at yourself is painful but good

God Has a Sense of Humor

I know because I’ve just experienced it. It’s been a rough week continuing from last week. You’ll remember that after I got out of my detour of three days silence, I didn’t follow God’s direction very well, and didn’t get a great result. But it did break me out of my hold.

However my husband continued with his distance for another six days, and finally something broke inside me. Thursday afternoon about 4:00, almost without thinking, I went to where he was lying on the bed, reading, sat on it beside him and said, “Our 29th anniversary is in a week, so either blow up at me and get it out, or lets get a divorce!” Whoa! that was bold! I thought. And his response was, “Yes, I think its time we bring dissolution to this.” His ready agreement surprised me–like he’d been waiting for me to say it.

I said, “OK, we’ll sell the house, and split it,” and he cut in.

“We can’t sell for six months.” (We just refinanced.)

“I know,” I replied. “But it will take us six months to get divorced anyway. You can go get the papers.”

“You get the papers,” he said.

I actually left the room to go to work feeling light and free. Something moved. We have been so stuck.

At 6:00, my newly adopted granddaughter called and said they were on their way. I had promised to do an interview with her for a class she was taking. I thought it was about careers, but she said she needed my husband too. I was just finishing charting and so texted him; then told her to ask him when she arrived.

He didn’t turn her down, and he came and we recorded an interview about marriage. They were well-thought out questions–a group project it sounded like–thirty minutes of them. How interesting to be going through our whole marriage after we had just decided to get a divorce, answering questions like “What one thing would you change about your spouse?” or “What is the main thing that has kept you together?”

Her mom was holding the tablet, recording it, and afterward they both said,  “That was so sweet! You should have a copy of it!”

It was actually fun. But I felt like an imposter thinking if you only knew that two hours ago…! The interview had an interesting dynamic because I mostly waited for him to answer first, just to see where he would go with it now.

After they left, I wanted to say to him, “Does God ever have a sense of humor!” But for some reason I didn’t. I waited to see if he would say anything, but he didn’t.  It certainly did put in perspective how many people we would be letting down beginning with her.

Since then we have been getting along better. It’s a little weird, granted. We haven’t talked about it at all. I really doubt we will get divorced, but I think God has something up His sleeve. This sounds strange, but I believe He told me to continue like we are going to. It certainly cuts down on control! And it may be the only way we will get rid of 30 years of stuff. I’ll keep you posted.

I wasn’t ready to post this last week. I may not be this week. It’s been better but a little strange. Kind of a good strange. For instance I don’t ask what he wants for dinner. I say I’m making ____ do you want any?

It felt bad not going to the doctor with him, but of course I didn’t say anything. (He prefers to go alone. I ask too many questions. And remember what they tell him.) Otherwise he seemed to act like we were moving past our “fight”(we didn’t have). But one day I said, “I think we should celebrate making 29 years even if we are getting divorced.” He didn’t say anything, but I noticed him step back. One night after we were in bed, I asked what he thought of that, he said he didn’t think so. So I put my hand on his arm and said, “You don’t stop loving someone, just because you can’t live with them,” and went to sleep.

Getting rid of stuff has been overwhelming. I started with the room that would be least disruptive, and in 45 minutes I was overwhelmed. I told God, “You’re going to have to help me. I can’t do this.” And His answer was, “Just take it an hour at a time,” and gave me organizing ideas. That has helped.

But neither of us has gotten any papers. I don’t think either of us want a divorce–it just seemed like a good way to handle an impasse created by crisis. For the first ten years it was his go-to. Since then the D-word has rarely been used.

He finally agreed to celebrate and we had a good day. We actually talked while driving an hour up the coast to one of our favorite breakfast places. We had plans to celebrate today too–we’ll see what happens. There is more freedom, but somehow more responsibility–no obligation. I think I’ll wait to post this till next week.

The day after writing last week I couldn’t walk. My family has a lot of arthritis, but I’m usually not bothered by it except for crooked fingers that get stiff if I eat sugar. This was a flare up I didn’t know could happen! My joint was so sore it throbbed! One of my alternative-health friends texted and said “Hips are supposed to have to do with emotions.” Made sense. We had a talk that day in which he told me that I was rude and ungrateful. When I asked “To whom?” He said my daughter and son-in-law. I was crushed. Soul searching time.

Just praying how to proceed–is confrontation needed? Our reading in my small group this week was all about giving thanks in everything. I started there.




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When Feelings Rule

Somewhere I learned that emotions are the strongest force in a person. When you’re “in a corner” or “under the “gun” feelings rule. You will go with what gets triggered in your feelings library every time. Stress does that.

Sad but true. I’m there. I don’t want to be there, but I am. Two hours ago I was looking forward to a lovely quiet evening with my husband, and now I’d rather write than be with him.

My husband doesn’t like pain of any kind. And for the past two weeks he has been in physical pain with a knee injury, unable to walk. So I’ve been trying to take care of him and do both of our chores too.

Most of us get cranky when we are stretched emotionally by physical pain. I do and he does to. Today he was doing very well, and we were both very happy with his progress, but I made the mistake of challenging his decision to cancel two of our grand kids coming for a week. And now I’m dealing with triggered stored emotion and blew our lovely quiet evening together.

Isn’t it weird how that happens! I don’t even remember what he said, but I am still in the feelings it brought up in me. Definitely hating the way I am, wondering how many other people hate it, and what am I going to do to change it? Or should I just sink back into a twisted acceptance, put it all on him as “his issues” wherever I can hang it?

Just now he called from the other room asking if I would make him a piece of toast. He is probably wondering why I’m not there with him. I wanted to say no, but I didn’t. Because I don’t think he was trying to be mean. He is obviously fine.

What do I do with this “gall” stuck in my throat? I ask myself.

And I decide to put it on the shelf till morning. So I distil the feeling into his point and make a mental note to ask God what to do about this “I-know-best” attitude. I know it’s there, I know where it came from. I’ve dealt with it before. This is just a variation on a familiar theme.

So I said to God when we met this morning, “What am I going to do about this? You know how I dislike it in others; and I hate it in myself!” Then my mind took off and went all through everyone else I needed to pray for. (I think that happens because we don’t really want to face… or are afraid He won’t say anything. But He is faithful if we are willing.)

And finally I focused and He said, “Can you say to your husband, ‘You know I hate it. Will you point it out to me when you hear it? You can say “there it is”.’ And I said, “Yes, I can do that.”

Then God went on, “Can you trust Me with it too? That I will help you see it when it comes up? Before you get there I will say ‘Be careful here.’ Like last night. You knew afterwards you could have said it differently. Richard noted a ‘harshness’ that sometimes you see later.”

So I said, “I will.” And I asked Him to bring up any lie underneath so we could heal it. And I already have a feeling it has to do with fear of something–from when my older brother used to laugh at things I said. More will be revealed. God is faithful.

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Sometimes Silliness turns Profound

This will undoubtedly be the silliest example of perspective you’ve ever heard, but for me it is profound because of  the truth that comes from the obvious. My husband bought a new shower squeegee because the old one had never worked well and I’d finally had it with it. I asked him to get a good one. So he did and came back and assured me he had spent the extra money for a good one.

The first time I used it, I was intrigued, it didn’t even work as well as the old one! And he paid a lot more for this? So I thought it must be the angle. I must not be holding it up enough. I was puzzled after a few uses, and then one day in a hurry, grabbed it and used it backwards–so I thought. And it worked perfectly! Now that’s odd, I thought.

The next time I looked at it, I discovered that I was what was odd. The squeegee was designed differently than any I had used so I thought it was backwards, I had only used ones where the handle curved down, but on this one the handle curved up when you held it right, and then it did work much better than any we’d had! It actually made more sense when I thought about it. I’d just never seen one like that before–had no mental map for it–no experience to validate that reality.

This morning God helped me walk through some reality of my own. Reality that wasn’t lovely but necessary. It seems most of my life I have been unnecessarily harsh as a protective mechanism. I didn’t even realize it. I actually think that somehow I had made a virtue of it in my own mind. Something like a “shooting straight from the hip” perspective. It was quite painful, but when I saw that fear was behind it, I was more than glad to embrace it as a means to letting it go. Crazy, but that is how it works. See it, own it, release it.

As I looked at it squarely, no excuses or quick switching to someone else’s responsibility, I saw how long God had been trying to get my attention on this–20 years? Maybe longer. It had to get in my face to see the pattern and ramifications of it.

The good news is, now I can expect to be different. Healing is like that. So why are we so afraid to look at our ugly places? It’s because we don’t want to have them. Don’t want to admit we are ugly.

I’ve written before about how crazy it is that we would rather be in denial when most everyone else already knows what we don’t. But we hate to be seen as bad, wrong, or broken. It is painful to admit.

Yesterday we had a whole broken, distant day because it was painful for my husband to admit he had made a spot on the carpet and made it worse by trying to clean it. We both already knew it, but when I referenced that I would clean it because he had already tried, he got defensive. Why was that painful? You’d rather ruin a day over it?

Yet we ruin our lives rather than look at ourselves honestly. Maybe it’s because we don’t think we can do anything about it. We feel hopeless to change. I do understand that! That is scary. It isn’t really that we don’t want to change; we think we can’t. We desperately feel the need to be loved just the way we are.

The best news is that we are loved just the way we are, and that Love makes it possible for us to discard the things we hate so badly that we can’t even look at them. Yes, we have to be willing to look, it’s a little painful–always is to look at yourself without your blinders firmly in place. But you can be free. And God is kind when it hurts. It’s good to come into the light. Everybody else already knows and celebrates! We’re usually last to see it.

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