Our spirits, when the heavy things have been lifted, soar with new lightness. Now that his new job allows him to be home at 3:30, we are often together for the golden hour, the place and time where I feel the soaring most wonderfully. We walk for ice cream, or sit at the table for a shared supper, or clumsily toss a football in the yard. With all of it there is deep joy and celebration. If there is pain, we say it, and we soothe with more words and tactile grace. At the end, when the sky is dark, we sing and pray and read of Christ and our hope.
These heavy things I keep whispering of, the struggles of our marriage, the wanderings of our hearts, the wounds we are still healing from, we are not afraid to tell. But I want to speak it all with care and respect, and be sure to pull out the shards of beauty that are splintered through our story of the past two years and are being pieced together for the good of today and the glory of our future. You may only see parts and glimpses of us at times, and they may be dark. Always try to see the goodness and the light, though. Even if it is just that spark of hope that comes when you realize that you are not the only ones.
And so many times, I have felt that no one can know my pain. Maybe someone distant, unlinked to my life, is going through this. But never do I imagine that the people I see and speak to at church on Sunday, or at work on a weekday, are facing this, or would know what to say if they knew that we do. That has started to change, ever since Seth has asked for an open ear each week with our friend and pastor. At the beginning of the year, he put words and terms with his struggles. He stepped into the light of accountability, and ever since has been doing the hard work of laying the truth on the table, and of doing whatever it takes to overcome things that have fought tooth and nail for our marriage and our lives.
“I’m a binge drinker. If it’s in the fridge, I can’t stop.“
“I’ve been smoking weed while you were at work for the last month.”
(The confessions that were needed but so very painful. So much hidden, yet so much known.)
A night in the hospital after an alcohol-induced diabetic coma.
And other terrifying nights where we were in different frames of mind and body– and all I felt was a wall between us while I frantically grasped for the right words and the right feelings.
(The nights and days where I trembled for his life and our future.)
In these hard and lonely days, my soul has felt stretched to tearing. I have experienced deep pain because I have heard the darkest, loudest lies shout in my ears, telling me that I was not strong or useful or worthy or loved. That I was utterly alone. That because we couldn’t fix this, we had failed and there was no hope. I have struggled for a heart of grace, freedom from bitterness, and the ability to believe the best about my husband. [How do I love him, even today? Even in this?] I have made myself sick with worry that I would lose him. I have been tempted to stop believing that God is good.
This has been our night and our sorrow, in just a few words.
Yet we have also glimpsed magnificence:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes with the morning. And with the morning comes the cry to be satisfied with the steady love of God that never left. (Psalm 90:14) In each and every valley where we gasped for air and strained for the smallest glimpse of light, God has held us. He has torn down the glittering hopes we placed in each other for wholeness, and is showing us that we cannot save each other, or fill each other’s every last missing part. (To really know this is freedom.) Jesus is our fullness, our strength, and our morning song.
I am confident that this is not our only and last season of weeping. And some of this is still fresh and painful. Addictions do not go away from us cleanly and finally, most of the time — There is ongoing and real struggle every day, and will be until the day when Jesus comes to heal all wounds and wipe all tears. But please be tender and quick to see the glory being made in us. Please help us remember and believe that the best things are true and that we are never alone.