Clinging to My Blessings
Sunday, November 27, 2011Tweet
I apologize for my silence on Thursday.
I had planned a traditional Thanksgiving post about what I was thankful for, but it was hard to find gratitude when our Thanksgiving morning started with one of my husband's family members waking up on our couch, hurling insults and anger at my husband, then getting in their car and driving back to Ohio.
And then we put on happy faces and went to spend Thanksgiving weekend with my family.
It was a rough day. A rough weekend. Not helped by the fact that 1) Mike was working most of the weekend, so we barely had time to talk through what had happened, and 2) the rest of his family offered little support, and many hurtful words, about the situation.
It shook me to the core to see him hurting so badly and to have absolutely no way of making things better.
If he were being harassed by some random bully on the street, I could call his bully names and talk about all the terrible things I wanted to do to him until I could make Mike laugh again. But when it's his family, I have to keep my mouth shut. It's only because he loves them so immensely that they can wound him so deeply. It's like watching someone in an abusive relationship, except there's no walking away, no breaking up. They're in this for life.
Which means I am, too.
"I do" doesn't just mean I marry you as you are, with all your quirks and fears and flaws, with all of the baggage of your past. It means I will be here for your future pain; I will stand by helplessly while you hurt. It means that I hurt in a reflection of your pain that is a reflection of your family's pain.
My note from the Universe on Thursday said, "There are absolutely no worldly circumstances, Jessica, under which you can't or shouldn't be making the very best of things."
So I've been trying to do that.
Mainly I've been praying constantly, an alternating stream of petitions and thanksgiving.
My little sister was a huge blessing this weekend. When we forgot to bring bedding for the rats, she gave me some of her old T-shirts to use. She and I whispered and giggled when my great-uncle, who works or used to work at a wine shop, talked about wine all through Thanksgiving dinner and on and on after we were finished eating, until she and I finally volunteered to clear plates, pack up the leftovers, and wash dishes in the kitchen, where we could laugh and laugh together. I forgot my swimsuit and she let me borrow one of hers to go in my parents' hot tub. All weekend she was cracking jokes and making me laugh.
My brother was also great this weekend. I was never very close to him growing up; he basically entertained himself by tormenting me, until our little sister was born and he could taunt her instead, then he spent his teenage years being silent and sullen. But he's grown into a respectful, intelligent, and fun adult. He went with Mike to play Wallyball with friends on Wednesday and ended up being a sounding board for Mike in dealing with his family stressors. My brother also made us laugh by borrowing my mom's laptop (logged into Facebook) and posting that he was her favorite child, which she didn't find out until about four hours later, at which point seven people had "liked" it. I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard when we finally let her in on the joke.
I'm clinging to my blessings. And it's helping.
This morning I went to church and laid it all out for God. And He helped me see what to do, what conversations Mike and I need to have, and how I can help him.
I also called my best friend, who helped me talk through finding a balance between taking care of myself and giving of myself in love, as I'm called to do as a Christian.
The hardest part is being in a situation where there is so much pain and yet no clear source, nowhere you can point and say, "There, that's the thing we need to eliminate." Or even "There's the thing we need to do to make it better." Everyone is hurting and so is making everyone else hurt more as a result. I am desperately trying to keep Mike and me on the same page, to prevent the pervasive pain from turning us on each other.
This weekend, I'm grateful that God is good. That when I am willing to listen, He is willing to give me a new perspective.
I'm grateful for my family and for the time I had with them this weekend.
I'm grateful for my friends, including all of you, who are there for me when I'm hurting.
I'm grateful for my husband, God's greatest gift to me, and I am praying that he will find a way to have peace in this storm.
Your prayers are welcomed.