Saturday, January 3, 2009

Romanticizing the Past

"For I know the plans I have for you. Plans for good and not disaster. Plans for future and hope." Jeremiah 29:11

I know this verse well, but having my friend Jennifer Instant Messaging it to me on facebook reminded me of its significance in my life. It's a recurring scripture for me.

"But I wish I had a morsel of what His plan is," I lamented.

"If you knew the future, it wouldn't be worth living," Jennifer wrote.

That stopped me in my tracks. The wisdom in that statement was overpowering. I had been frustrated. Here we are, the first work day of January, 2009, and my employer--the owner of the company--literally screamed profanities at me. It was embarassing, it was uncalled for, and it was not how I had hoped my year would begin. I immediately feared this would be indicative of 2009, and I was depressed. Would I endure this all year? Would I ever remarry? Would I ever have kids?

I relayed this information to Jennifer, and she explained to me that God is in control, but I have to trust Him. Yes, I know. But sometimes, it's really, really hard. I've felt completely let down by God in the past. And, well, I don't trust anyone. It's a defense mechanism to assure I'm not hurt again.

Then Jennifer, rather randomly, brought up something from my past--my divorce.

"It must have been hard on you. I know you were hurt. I remember you crying," she wrote.

I didn't think she remembered the last time we physically saw each other. I was still living in Texas, a few cities away from her. I was getting a divorce. I had come to see her family before I moved back to Oklahoma. I was in turmoil. I don't remember talking about my divorce, but I had to have discussed it.

"I remember," she responded to my surprise. "You said he got angry at you because the tines on your fork scraped on your teeth when you took a bite."

That, I didn't remember. Not immediately anyway. It's still rather vague in my mind. But it reminded me that we tend to romanticize the past. We gloss over it in our minds, or delete sections of it, in order to cope. I have actually started a blog on my divorce, which I haven't posted. And I realize now why--I've forgotten the impact it had on me. I've forgotten the intensity of the self-loathing I had in me, for failing at the most basic role--wife.

I stared at my laptop and tears began streaming down my face. But not a bawl or cry with gasps. Just a mellow, deep, sadness. I wiped away a downpour of tears as I assured Jennifer she hadn't said anything wrong. I was just overwhelmed with the reality of the sad person I had been. That was only one of the many little things that he suddenly seemed intolerant of. He didn't just comment on my flaws, he blew up over them. I felt completely inadequate as a person, and I didn't know who I was supposed to be for him. As my dad would say, I was a "whooped pup".

I look back at Kristi Kueter, and I see a woman who was horrifically insecure, but who married a man who refused to give her the satisfaction of a compliment. I see a girl who was afraid to be authentic because her husband was not, and she didn't want to be the only vulnerable person in that relationship. We both held back, like acquaintances instead of lovers. I married a man that I was great friends with, but who didn't show me the love I needed. And over time, our differences that had seemed like hairline fractures while dating, had become deep crevasses. He began to nitpick me. I was suddenly not up to his standards. He spent his evenings on the internet and drinking wine, in the opposite side of the house. I found porn in his briefcase. He refused to tell me he loved me. He never touched me. I would rather he hit me than ignore me the way he did. But on January 2nd, 2002, he told me he didn't think he ever loved me, and we weren't going to make it. The tiny fractures I had noticed in our relationship early on, had not been addressed and had taken over our marriage. The signs were there, but so was the denial. And the result was a deep sadness that followed me for 4 years, as I finally accepted my role, my denial, my ignorance, I was able to let go of the anger I had toward him. And then I was able to shake that cloud of sorrow, little by little. . . .atom by atom. . . .moment by moment.

So, the realization of the hurt I had endured brought back a flood of emotions, exactly 7 years later. I was a broken person in 2002. I had been broken for years before I met Todd, and that marriage did the opposite of empower me--it made me even more insecure. If my husband can't stand me, who can? My sister says that relationships either help you or hurt you, and nothing else. That marriage did not help me. . .

I look back and realize how far I've come. How much I've overcome. I'm a stronger person now. I'm a more determined person now. Much of it is due to what I went through in that marriage. And hearing those little things amaze me. I believe it is good to let go of the past and to not let it define you. But sometimes memories flooding in are good, because they remind you of where you've been and how far you've come. It keeps us from romanticizing the past a little too much.

Although I prayed for God to heal my marriage 7 years ago. Today, I'm thankful that it did not happen. I've found myself. I've found God's love. I've found God's grace and mercy.

Now, if I could just find his crystal ball . . . . . . .


Naida Lee said...

if you find his crystal ball, pass it along to me!! ;)

FHL_Always said...

I learned in my social psychology class that when you remember things, you remember what you want to remember. It's not that you've made up's just what sticks with you over the years. It's a heuristic to help us function.

I was watching my favorite soap opera, General Hospital (I know I'm lame haha), and one of the characters said that she didn't understand why everyone at the new year was always looking forward instead of looking back. I kinda agree with her. If you never look back, you never get to recognize and learn from mistakes and to remember how you got to where you are today.

I'm sorry your boss was yelling at you...that's not fair and not warranted. Hopefully things will look up!

Phyllis Renée said...

Sometimes it's necessary to look back so we can see how far we've come.

BTW, you've been tagged.