Monday, October 27, 2008
Twenty two years. That is how much of my life was wasted. Hurtful years, lonely years. I’d go to work by myself, I’d come home to an empty house. I’d cook and eat and go to bed. In between I’d walk the dogs and clean the kitchen and talk to myself. Oh, occasionally this man would show up. He’d complain about the dogs, the house, the mattress on the bed, the food I cooked (if I bothered to cook, past experiences showed me the futility of fixing a meal for two). If I bought something he’d explain how I wasted my money, the furniture I ordered (and designed, wow, was that was fun!) for the sunroom was tacky, bad workmanship, just thrown together. Everyone else loved it; south western décor is in, at least here in Texas (his native state, by the way). He had been consulted about the furniture but made noncommittal responses so I had to work with my own judgment and likes.
He wore the clothes I washed weekly, ate the groceries I brought home, washed with the water, read by the electricity and enjoyed the health care I paid for, but bike trip vacations he had money for. Vacations that didn’t include me, but that was okay, really, it gave me time alone to relax free from criticism and negativity. I paid for our twentieth anniversary (I was surprised he could fit it into his schedule) weekend in a nice resort motel. I paid for the dining and sightseeing. He just came along for the ride: to complain about the directions getting there and getting home.
Now he was packing up and leaving, at my request. I had prayed about it and decided it was my only remedy. And I was crying, resisting feeling better. Why? Because of twenty two wasted years. I felt God had abandoned me. I felt like I wasn’t saved (after all Alex had pointed out my Christian failings often enough). I felt lonelier than ever. My heart felt like it was being pulled apart by laughing demons with sizzling claws who were straight out of the fire pit I was sure to call home some day. Why? Because I couldn’t shoulder my cross any longer. I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) support Alex for the rest of my life. I couldn’t take anymore censorship and tactless words. I couldn’t accept watching him act sweet and divine at church, in the choir and with the kids from the church bus he drove and then come home and unveil his alternate ego with me.
Oh I cried. I begged God to help me but got no answer. I wanted help now, not later, because this was an emergency call, a 911 call to heaven. This wasn’t the kind of hurt that could wait for an appointment; it needed to be treated immediately. But what did I want?
As Alex loaded up the last of his belongings and drove into the sunset I was gasping for air. Alex had been right about everything he’d said about me. I was useless, unstable, stingy, unlovable. Probably not even Christian! I begged God for help again and again. Tears spilled forming a moat about my feet. I’m sure my carpet was mildewing and rotting the wood underneath.
I got on Guidepost.org to request prayer, and then I read the prayers of others in pain. Children with cancer, parents dying, hurricane victims, joblessness, drug addicts, and people praying for lost (not missing) relatives, alcoholics, pregnant teenagers, miscarriages, AIDS victims, Lou Gerrig’s disease. Wow, there sure was a lot of hurting going on among fellow Christians. My prayer was one of many leafs in a bonfire. It certainly could not get as much consideration as the life and death prayers.
I went to bed in the customary fashion, “Alone, again”, I proclaimed. My dog Scruffy, who has excellent understanding of the human language, shook the dust off of his feet and moved to the other side of the bed to let me realize he wasn’t just chopped liver. This time I knew Alex wouldn’t be traipsing in from doing all his good deeds after I was asleep and he wouldn’t be staying in bed in the morning while I fixed the coffee, breakfast, washed his clothes and cleaned our house. Why did that sound pathetic? As I drifted off to sleep I felt something soft and feathery brush my face. I assumed it was Scruffy snuggling up to forgive me; I was too deep into somnolence to rouse. Not even hours later when the phone rang and rang and rang. Why wasn’t the answering service picking it up after four rings? Keeping my head buried under the pillow I stretched my arms out to the receiver.
“Is Marcy there?” an accented voice asked.
“You’ve got the wrong number,” I mumbled stretching the phone back to its home.
“Is this not……”The voice read out my unlisted number, (you don’t think I’d write it here for the public to know, do you?)
“Yes, but no Marcy lives here.” My voice croaked, after all my vocal cords were roughened from crying.
“I’m sorry….(pause)..Are you alright?” The voice asked after I sniffled. It seems I was even crying in my sleep.
“What? Oh, yea, fine thanks.” I wanted to go back to sleep to re -anesthetize myself with unconsciousness, the question of the hour was why didn’t I just hang up?
“I don’t believe you.” Who was this voice with no physical substance? Calling the wrong number late at night and not letting me off the phone. What rudeness.
I don’t know how it happened but before long I had revealed my life history. Years of not getting anything right, from how I walked the dogs, did the laundry, cleaned the house, bought pots and pans, warmed up the car. And worse yet, how I thought I had been a Christian till Alex kept calling me a hypocrite. Oh, I fought back. I had a sharp tongue also, when provoked, but his words settled in anyway and grew roots deep into my subconscious sprouting products of doubt and insecurities.
“Your husband seems to suffer from heart failure,” my confessor responded.
“Failure to have a heart, Alex claims he loves God but doesn’t treat you with love. How can he possibly love someone he hasn’t seen if he can’t love you?” The voice quizzed. “Besides, it’s not his job to judge you; you’re God’s servant, not his.”
“But I can’t say I act any better, I’m pretty sinful, if I make as many mistakes as Alex says I do, how can God love me? If I can’t please humans how can I please someone totally holy and just?”
“You pleased God that day in June as you lay in bed when you accepted Jesus, the day your girlfriend introduced you to the prayer of salvation.” Funny, I must have told him that but I can’t remember doing so. That’s what comes from talking in your sleep.
“Could he love me even if I was only 90 percent good?” I had high standards for myself.
“He’d love you if you were only 80 percent good.”
“What about 70 percent, surely he’d expect more from me.”
“No, you could be only 10 percent good and he’d still love you.”
“What about 9 percent?” Talk about testing the limits.
“Don’t push it. My patience is running out!”Was the answer I got. I detonated into laughter. Oh, how good to know I could still laugh.
Getting serious again I stated, “I’m just sorry I wasted the last twenty two years of my life.”
“You’re a cup is half empty kind of girl, aren’t you? Look at it this way; at least you’re not going to waste the next twenty two years.” Astounding. Brilliant. I hadn’t looked that far yet.
I awoke in the morning feeling rejuvenated. I couldn’t remember why I had been crying…oh, yea, Alex moved out. I didn’t feel like crying anymore. Wow, awesome. I pressed my hand against my chest. No pain. No symptoms of a broken heart. No tenderness, swelling, or aching. Something had happened last night, but what? I tried to get my brain to gear up which is pre-coffee-hard-to-do. Something had…oh the phone…a stranger…..
I grabbed the receiver to inspect the caller I.D. Whoever I spoke to last night deserved a thank you card, maybe with a gift certificate. He had been better than any paid counselor.
The caller I.D. said “Out of Area”.
What did I smell? Coffee? Just what I needed but I hadn’t started any last night. I was too upset. I followed the smell to the kitchen. The table was set with pancakes, eggs, and sausage. The dishes used to prepare the repast were cleaned and on the drain board. There was a new peculiar area rug around the table. Unnerving, to say the least. A card on the table beckoned to me.
Looking around to make sure I was alone I read, “Have a blessed day, love Gabrielle.” I dropped the card and passed out onto a floor layered in glowing feathers. God had answered my 911 call and sent a heavenly paramedic. My problem was just as important to Him as anyone else’s at Guideposts.com!Gen.
1 King 19:5-8
Forms of mental and emotional abuse:Mental or emotional abuse can take place in varied situations like these:
• Extramarital affairs
• Excessive criticism suffered at the hands of your spouse
• Excessive humiliation
• A provoking tendency of your partner
• Miscommunication or refusing to communicate at all
• Sarcastic and taunting comments
• Unreasonable jealousy
• Reduced affection and intimacy
• Frequent mood swings • Deliberately isolating and ignoring the partner’s presence and needs
• Continuous threats
Cycles of domestic abuse: Mental, Emotional or PhysicalMental or physical abuse gradually tends to acquire a cycle of events and behavioral patterns very distinct to a person inflicting suffering on the other. They include the following:
• A constant effort to show the other that he or she is the boss of the house.
• Resorting to fear and guilt about others coming to know of his or her abnormal behavior.
• The abuser is always aware of what he or she is doing and also recognizes them to be wrong. So he or she is well equipped with justifications and excuses.
• The abuser will always behave in a way that he or she is normal and there is nothing going wrong.
• There is always a tendency to plan and set things up to blame, fight and hurt the partner.
Tips to recover and end mental or emotional abuse:Experts suggest some practical ways to recover from and to put an end to mental and emotional abuse. They include the following: • Recognize the warning signs of domestic abuse and free yourself from them • Try to heal the old bruises
• Respect each other • Try doing things your spouse likes more often • Respond with a relaxed outlook or character
• Realize your own capabilities and wants • Fight to achieve peace and love in your relationship
• Try breaking the cycle of events and behavior
• Bestow the seeds of a doubtless and an unconditional love
• Develop and initiate more intimacy • Cope with the circumstances while your partner grows out of it
If as a partner you can make a positive difference to the relationship then never give up and fight to stay together. But when you cannot handle things then you need to get out of the situation soon. Also reporting domestic abuse can be of much help for the couple, so always intimate concerned people about it.
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