I have included this from the Tao because life is like water: you cannot contain it, you cannot hold it tight, you have to go with it and let it carve the way forward for you.
Just something I have learned over the years.
I am behind with my posts, life has surely done that to me over the past few months you can see more of it over on my other blog. I have a series of blogs to share but I am letting life lead the way and this post is in reaction to someone interact with a lot, she is a kind and caring lady, who despite infidelity in her life has put all she has into recovery with her husband, who has been contrite and despairing in equal measure. But over the past week she has struggled, and cannot understand why over four years in she seems to be going backwards. So I thought I would look back at where I was four years in and read a journal entry from my book for October 2010 three and a half years in from ‘The War’. In my journal I wrote:
‘I have often asked myself over the last couple of months whether staying with Danny (interesting I meant to say the other way around!) Danny staying with me, is really the best thing for him. If Danny were being honest with himself and asked himself that question I wonder what he would say. I say this because I can see that he seems to be so desperate to keep me; so afraid of losing me, that I question whether this is really making him happy because sometimes I cannot see how it can be. But it’s not just about me is it? ‘
I then went on to write ‘Now I thought about that and questioned how I have been feeling lately because the past has been coming back into my head. I have wondered whether it is because I am closing down.’
It is fair to say that even at that stage I was still wondering if it was the right place for me to be. In fact in 2013, which is not covered in my book, I questioned again whether staying was the right thing to do. Looking back the way I felt was, in my head, all about the affair. When in fact that was just one of many things. I had changed so much in finding myself: new career (that’s another post in the future) new identity, or so I thought. But it wasn’t the affair it was that I was thinking differently. Life had changed me. Yes the affair was one of the biggest things but it wasn’t the only things. I also thought that because I was changing that Danny would not keep up and I would leave him behind. How up my own arse was I?
But he did keep up, and importantly I gave him the chance to. Why did I give him the chance? Because I stopped and asked myself if I wanted to throw away all the good things: He made me laugh, he loved me more than I would ever know as pointed out by ‘The Barmaid’ Small things: The things we do not see. The Barmaid. We had built a life together: Ethan, the animals, the house, the way we interacted. In fact ‘The War’ had made us tear some of that down and build it in a better way; and I had to ask myself at times, when the anger took over if I wanted to throw that all away. And the biggest question of all was ‘Will it make me happier?’
I knew that the answer was no. But for those struggling who may not be in the situation I found myself I asked myself that question honestly: if the answer had been yes then I would be writing a very different story today.
But in our situation the answer was clearly no. I had a man who was contrite, I had a man who would do anything to make it better, would go back in time if he could. But you see at that point I did not want him to go back in time in change it; because I had changed and I did not want to lose the person I had become, and going back would have taken that away from me. So to move forward I had to accept that. I had to accept that I wanted what I had in the here and now and I did not want it to be changed no matter how painful the past that had got me to where I was.
I wrote in my reflections of this entry ‘The strange thing is the affair actually kept Danny and I together because we both changed, but we changed together.’ I would add to that ‘we knew what we didn’t want to lose all the good things that we had.’
A year later I wrote about how our son left home to go to University, how it was the end of an era, how I felt sad about that; and how it was only natural to feel sad about that. And that’s it isn’t it? It is only natural to feel sad. But it doesn’t mean you are going backwards just that you are are sad, but still moving forward just the same.
Will we ever all go through life without feeling sad? And if we do how will we know we are happy?
More to come…
Making This Better the book is now available including the journal entries for the first 5 years of our recovery & the whole 21 days of ‘The War’. Available internationally in paperback and ebook at Amazon and Barnes & Noble also available at Xlibris and Apple Books for iPad and Waterstones Bookstores for click & collect