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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Growing Pains

"End of the Hunt" by Fred Machetanz

The further Bruce and I get into “Inside Out” [a “self-help” book we are going through together], the less I am inclined to write about my journey. I imagine anyone reading about it would be bored. They would be thinking, “Get over yourself, already.” And the deeper I delve into my layers, the less I want other people to see them.

Consequently, the fount that had previously been my muse, has dried up. So, I write this, with little to no intention of sharing it, but only for the exercise of writing; because our “assignment” this week for Writing Group is to spend at least half an hour each day writing.

Bruce and I had an “Inside Out” time last night, and it was very hard. In some ways I was mentally unprepared – there were no protective layers, or idealistic verve to soften the difficult words we shared with each other. I found myself cringing as Bruce invoked earlier “Inside Out” conversations, and I have to admit that though certain things have been laid out and made known, I detest their presence. I was getting comfortable with the elephant in the room, even so far as “forgetting” some of things we’d shared.

So last night was a dose of reality. When he said, in response to the question of feeling loved, “I feel love from the kids. I feel mostly irritation from you.” That hurt me deeply. I felt my defenses go up instantly. But, he’s right. I make excuses, but its true. I shared how difficult it is for me to accept him the way he is, in certain areas, inconsequential areas, like how tidy he is.

Then a common theme emerged. My key area of weakness is in the area of disappointment with other people. They constantly disappointment me, which leads me to anger and even, at times, resentment and wishing ill upon them. Why do they disappoint? Because they don’t meet my expectations. And what are my expectations? That they be an extension of my own will and desires.

This common theme is surfacing in almost all areas of my life; it is one of the common denominators of all my “issues”, and it is both surprising and surprisingly painful. It is something so deeply entrenched as to be almost invisible to me, and when the deepest thread of who I am is so fouled, it feels very hopeless.

I still sense God’s will in this path. Though it was only once, and several months ago, when I heard him speak directly to me, I had a very strong sense of His presence (He said, “Trust me,” and that was enough). He hasn’t been patting me on the back or hand-holding me or downplaying my responsibility, but has allowed the armor to crack, perhaps even so far as messing with my hormonal cycle. Much that I might otherwise have been able to keep hidden, is come pouring out, uncontrolled.

But what I know now, as I stand on the edge of a void, is that the pain is there for His good purposes. (From “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”: “He is not safe, but He is good.”) In almost every allegory of the Christian faith, the warrior must go into battle, must face overwhelming odds, must face the pain of death and defeat, and must abandon entirely the luxury of self-preservation.

I have long feared this battleground. I have sensed it out there, and have hid from it. I have felt in awe of “warriors” who seem unconcerned with losing themselves during the fight. I thought the field of war would be external, but I find it is internal. And it is a far uglier place than any I could ever see out in the world.

Last night, I had the impression of entering the forest. While I can still see the path behind me, leading out of the woods, turning back is not an option. The sun, what there was of it, is setting, and should I go back, it might never rise again. The only way to see the light of day again, is to move forward into the blackness. The first place the dawn will reach is the far side of woods.

It is hard to imagine ever finding freedom from the shackles I wear. As the light dims, they begin to become more apparent. I never knew there were so many.


At 3:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! That's a huge leap from "Out with the Old." Congrats by the way, it's beautiful. We almost bought a GMC Yukon just like it. (Yes, I have test driven and not bought a car once or twice.) All other friend concerns aside- great writing. Very evocative and vivid. You have and amazing way of choosing words. Good for you for pushing forward.-xox K

At 4:50 PM, Blogger Linda said...

I know, I can go from shallow to deep in the time it takes to jump off the diving board.


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