Every so often things seem ‘normal’. I thankfully have periods now without it. Sometimes, I forget. When it comes though, it comes rushing back and over me and I suddenly am aware what it felt like only minutes earlier to not have it with me.
It is during those times I am tempted to just put it away. Tuck it safely in the back of my mind and go about my life as though my husband awaits at home with a welcomed hug or kiss for me, an attentive inquiry as to how my day was, asks the children about their day, sharing too his challenges and triumphs. We might plan our weekend, discuss the weather, laugh, and eat dinner, sharing the mundane aspects of daily living. Go about figuring out finances, visiting our careers, encouraging each other; possibly even disagreeing. Maybe we’d get the kids on track for homework and bed, and then share privately one on one time, just he and I. Time to dream together and replenish one another, talk about how the kids are doing; and in my dream, quietly pray together.
For many, many women, it is a nightmare that unfolds regularly. They, too, go about their daily living. They start working on an exciting project, or have dinner with friends, watch the children’s sports, or even sit at a light in the car like I just did and for a short time they, too, forget. Only when it comes back their anticipation of what awaits them is more apt to be uncertainty as to his mood, trying to figure out how to fly under the radar to avoid his wrath, keeping the kids quiet and the pets out and dinner exactly the way he likes it at the right time and if the phone rings hoping he doesn’t grab it and throw it across the room. Making sure the house is clean and the dishes are done, and his shirts folded correctly and everything is the way he likes it. It never is.
There is little conversation during a meal because everyone is afraid to say the wrong thing; say anything that might begin the tirade of which she is always the cause, according to him. The only exchange in the room is that of fear. It is a war of which no one outside the walls knows. One where the enemy changes face and tactics and is expert at luring its prey. Even on quiet nights, when it looks like he’s in an agreeable mood, the fear lies just below the surface that it will only be one thing that triggers the free fall. That is what it feels like. Falling with nothing recognizable to grab hold of, no support in sight; never knowing how far, where, or how injured you’ll be at the end.
To remember that. To remember how I tried to create and maintain a life without insanity as the main attraction, curiously expecting him to graciously exit, with not the first bit of evidence leading me to believe that possible. I cannot forget living in it. I cannot forget how it ended. I may have a dream finally, but I can’t just clean up the dirty details, hide them away in a box and leave someone else to their own insanity, pain, isolation, hopelessness; leaving their children to that fate as well. It suddenly seems very clear I can’t profess to be a Christian while quietly abandoning my story. So here I am….again.
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35