Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: ROAD TRIP (vacation) (07/02/15)
TITLE: A Glance in the Rear-View Mirror
By Marilyn K. Smith
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My love of the mountains was not just an ordinary, “Oh, let’s go somewhere and do something” outlook. My abundant imagination soared! I love the mountains with all my heart! I adore the brisk autumn breeze, the winter snow, the spring wildflowers and the splashing waterfalls in the summer. Unfortunately, I only got to enjoy this wonderland for three days a year. Daddy would load us up in the car on Wednesday and very early on Saturday we would be headed home. I could not help, while looking behind me, the tears that ran down my cheeks every time.
After I was married, I would beg my husband to take me back. My husband, like my dad, was ready to be home and back to work early on Monday morning. We would leave on Wednesday and be headed back on Saturday and again, there would be tears rolling down my cheeks as I watched the mountains disappear in the rear-view mirror. I would be so disappointed in his lack of understanding how much these trips meant to me.
As a child, however, I never questioned why my daddy was this way. I grew up in a generation that didn’t question what daddies, or husbands for that matter, decided. However, as a wife, I felt the sting of resentment and bubbling anger. Disappointment reigned. Why did I always have to give up what I loved? Did he not really love me? I attempted to talk with him about it but there were always excuses about money or whether our home would be alright while we were gone or even about whether other family members might need him. He always said, “We’d better get back.”
For years I resorted to stuffing that anger and disappointment. Fortunately we eventually found a program called Celebrate Recovery but things would get much worse before they got better. I had become increasingly bitter over time and recognized this as a real problem in my interaction with my husband. I was sarcastic. He was not a good communicator and had many hang-ups and hurts in his past. He had become more withdrawn and unkind to me when we did try to talk. I had repeatedly shared that I was unhappy, frustrated and weary of what our marriage had become but now I shared that I would no longer be able to live like this. I was beginning to have serious health issues. I believe God caused him to hear me with his heart this time, not just his ears. He agreed to go with me to a Celebrate Recovery (CR) meeting because I had scared him. Later he would reveal that I was the most important treasure in his life and he couldn’t even think about losing me.
Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered 12-step program for people with any hurts, habits, hang-ups, or addictions. That just about covers everyone. By looking at your past, Step-5 wisely instructs “Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.” CR is also a safe place where nothing you share is repeated and no questions are asked. Trusted people just listened to us. The freedom felt by just being able to express oneself is awesome! It was a process but eventually I was able to realize that my tears during the ride home from all those mountain trips were signs of sorrow; a result of my needs not being met for many years. I learned of my co-dependency and how it had added to our difficulties. My husband explored his control issues and lack of self-worth. We learned our value in Christ and that only He could make us whole again as a couple.
We recently celebrated 46 years of marriage. My husband wakes me up every morning and says, “Hello, beautiful!” Our last anniversary trip was to the mountains and we stayed a week! It was wonderful and I didn’t cry one single tear on the drive home!
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