Barefoot in the Chapel

Baptism of Christ

This past couple of months has been so busy…and so beautiful. Since our trip to Hawaii, Will has met with our church leaders and it has been determined that his heart, from a spiritual standpoint, has been changed and softened considerably. Enough so that he was confirmed to be worthy and redeemed through the repentance process to be re-baptized as a member of our church. During this time, I took 10 days to go and visit our daughter and mother of four of our grandchildren in another state. My son-in-law had been deployed with the military leaving them for six months. Needless to say, she is a bit overwhelmed on her own. After a week and a half, we drove home together with the kids and prepared for the onslaught of out of state family who wished to attend Will’s baptism. My son flew in to perform the ordinance. And it was amazing and powerful and so faith-affirming. Time with all three of my grown children was precious and so fulfilling. They are all such incredible human beings! Every one of them is accomplished and happy and such wonderful parents to my grandchildren. My heart is full of love and gratitude for them all.

Prior to Will’s actual baptism, there was a short program in the chapel of the church building. Will and my son were dressed in white and were prepared to enter the baptismal font. As I sat next to them both, I noted that they were both barefooted and it struck me that in the Lord’s house, instead of Sunday finery, they were in the most basic dress they could be in. No adornment, no embellishments, no shirt and tie, no shoes. Simple, clean, pure, white. This is how we will come before God. No pretention, nothing hidden, no distraction from our most pure selves. Barefoot. Vulnerable. Honest. For He knows all and sees all without the filters we use to live this human life.

I contemplated how much simpler life would have been had Will been this open and vulnerable and honest throughout our lives together. How much pain and shame and sadness and hurt would have been avoided had he only been able to be “barefoot” with me and those who have loved him no matter what? I had come across a C.S. Lewis quote a few days prior to this which suddenly popped back into my head.

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

This. This is why we go through pain and sorrow and hardship. Because we all have the potential for greatness and to be extraordinary. Because we come into the world barefoot and vulnerable but life teaches us to be guarded and clothe ourselves in a facade of what is deemed acceptable by society. We cannot let go of all the trappings of our humanity, but we can re-learn how to become as a child again. This is done through heartbreak and loss and trial. God sees us as he created us…as His children…open and teachable and meek and humble. Hardship teaches us these things again and we become again as a child and dependent on His mercy and love. We are again willing to be barefoot.

Leigh ❤️

 

Aloha

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View from our hotel room

Will and I just returned from a week in Hawaii. We had never been and this was totally Will’s idea. He took upon himself the planning, the reservations, the itinerary…everything. Our fortieth anniversary is this month and so this was our celebration of forty years of marriage. Forty. Years. That is a lifetime.

Sadly, out of those forty years, Will has been faithful to me for only four. He has been present and sincerely trying to be married for about the last three of those years. Forgive me if I am sound skeptical about full recovery…but, history. On balance, the odds are not great given his past behavior and my past ignorance.

However, that being said, we have now what we have never had. Hope. When one is stuck in such an insidious, destructive addiction, there is literally no hope in sight. The addict feels that he will forever be “broken” and out of control.  When the spouse becomes aware of the betrayal resulting from that addiction, hopelessness is prevalent and anger, hurt, and despair are the emotions which rule our lives. The overwhelming feeling of being shattered is constant.  Hope is an illusion and seems forever gone.

Then something happens. It does not happen suddenly or even at a reasonable pace. It happens s.l.o.w.l.y. Painfully, heart-breakingly slow. Hope begins to infiltrate one’s conscience. Sometimes at odd times or in odd ways. Sometimes, most times, stealthily, catching one unaware or unready.

This happened to me in Hawaii. During a visit to the Polynesian Cultural Center, there was a Tahitian village wedding vow renewal ceremony that visitors take part in. The vow was not an “I do.” It instead asks the question, “Will I ever leave my spouse?” To which one answers, “No, I will not.” As Will and I took part in this vow with the rest of the crowd, we looked at each other and said these words in answer to the question posed. At that moment, hope jumped in. Will was sincere and actually had tears in his  eyes when he replied. I felt his honesty and with that, felt a great hope that I hadn’t really felt before. I knew at that moment, that there was a future for us and our marriage. I don’t believe that I have known that with any certainty before. It was good. So good.

We had an amazing trip together. I had few triggers and those I managed with little effort. We spent every minute together eating, swimming, shopping, exploring. It was so good for us. I put my wedding ring back on. For the first time since D-day. I never thought I would wear it again. I looked at it as something shamed and broken. A symbol of betrayal and pain. It’s matching partner, worn on Will’s ring finger, had been taken off so many times to assuage his guilt while acting out that it was rendered meaningless. To him and to me. But, he has worn it faithfully since D-day and has the tan line to attest to its constancy. And that is where hope again comes in.

Consistent, honest effort breeds hope. Hard work towards meaningful, lasting recovery breeds hope. Acts of selflessness and caring breeds hope. Sincere repentance and forgiveness breeds hope. These are the things that never were, but are now, present in our lives together.

It is no secret that Aloha means hello, goodbye, gratitude, good luck and a multitude of other interpretations in the Hawaiian language. The overwhelming meaning though is described by natives as love. Love for a person or a place or an idea. But mostly a love of life. With hope, comes aloha. A deep love of life. An appreciation for all that is good and beautiful and wonderful in our world and in our lives. Although there have been so few “good” years out of the forty we have spent together, I can say now with a great deal of hope, that we are now learning to enjoy these aloha years. We are blessed. 🌺

Leigh ❤️

Four.

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Today is May 17, 2019. Four years since D-day. Four years since my world was shattered. Four years since the day I became irrevocably changed. Four years since life, as I knew it, was over.

And four long, difficult, heart-breaking years of grueling recovery and healing.

And it’s not enough.

I don’t know where I am on my journey. I don’t know where my road is leading. All I know is that there are horrible memories that still overshadow the good memories. That balance has not been restored. I know, also, that it is hard, hard work to make those good memories that used to come so effortlessly. But, I still try.

Maybe in another four years, or eight…or twelve, the memories will shift and the bad will fade and be less painful. Maybe the good memories will be overwhelming and wonderful and crush the bad from my recollection. Maybe rain isn’t wet. 😏

I came across a numerology chart the other day which describes the characteristics of numbers, and while I don’t subscribe to numerology or really even understand it, I thought the associated description of the number four was interesting and perhaps apropos to my current state:

Those who walk a life path with the number four have an almost unbreakable spirit and astounding capabilities of self-control. 4 reminds us that equality of all sides created the strongest structures. It’s energy is that of stability.

Hmmm…Can’t really count on all of that.

What I can count on is myself. What I know for certainty is that I will keep working on healing. I will keep doing the best I can with what I have. And I will keep looking for more. More happiness, more contentment, more gratitude, more grace.

I think I’m getting there. Slowly.

Leigh ❤️

Before and After

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Today is the last day of April. Which means that tomorrow begins the month of May. In seventeen days, it will be four years since d-day. How I wish I could erase that day from my memory! EMDR has not done it’s job where that memory lives in my brain. It is still as painful and vivid as it was when it happened. There are few things in my life that are sharp and clear as my memory of that day. Every word, every action, every feeling is embedded within me. The clarity with which discovery of Will’s profound betrayal provided me was no less than earth-shattering. I felt it in every. single. fiber. of my body. I still feel it as acutely now as I did then.

So, has anything changed? It has been nearly four years. Why does that day, that moment, those emotions still feel raw and fresh? Will I ever be able to erase them completely? No. Not ever.

The difference is that I can now experience them and absorb it all as part of me. That day changed me. It changed who I thought I was. It changed who I thought Will was. It changed everything. How I thought, how I felt, how I reacted to events, how I approached relationships, how I expressed myself, how I saw the world. Everything.

And sometimes, I miss the old me. That girl was perpetually optimistic (on the surface.) She felt loved by Will, her kids, her friends (at least, what she thought was love.) She was content with life, even though it was really hard at times (although she didn’t understand WHY things were SO hard.) She was fulfilled with a life of family and church and home (Will was not foremost because he was so distant…she accepted his excuses that he was busy with work and was grateful he worked so hard.) She was happy (but, given what she knew about happiness, this was SO misguided.)

I am clearly not that person anymore. I am optimistic still…but it is measured and not the blind unrealistic hope that I used to have. It is more rational and less…desperate. I am beginning to feel love again..from Will and my children and a few very carefully vetted friends. I have a few old friends that I know love me. They know about Will and love and support me the same as they always have. Contentment is nowhere to be seen at this point. I don’t know that I will find a level of contentment for a very long time. I am still less trusting of people in general and of Will in particular. I cannot be content without trust. That will take way more time than just four years. I am not completely fulfilled yet, but I am getting there. My family is still my everything even if they don’t love me as fully as they once did. That does not diminish my love for them. Will has become more present and more a part of my everyday so that has definitely been more fulfilling.

But, happy? That is a difficult one. The old me was not truly happy. I was happy with what I *thought* was my life. It was mostly a delusion. It was so full of gaslighting and lies that it was no life at all. At least, not a real life. Now, life is real and difficult and exciting and boring and joyful and frustrating and funny and absurd and maddening and fun! It’s become such a mix of experience and emotion that there is no one word that can describe it. It is still hard and sometimes overwhelmingly sad. There is still regret and anger and grief over the past. But there is also a lot of hope. And clarity of what truly is and is not “Life.”

I think that possibly the best way to describe myself before d-day was that I was existing. I was existing in a life that I had convinced myself was optimistic, content, happy. Now, even with all the trauma, the loss, the betrayals, the illness, the ups and downs…all of it…I feel like I am living. I am living my life with a full awareness of who I am, who I am becoming, and who I want to be. I am no longer who I was (or who I thought I was) and I am okay with that even if I miss that naive girl sometimes. I am much wiser and stronger now and able to withstand the things that come my way. I am clear-eyed and compassionate. I am tougher than I ever thought I could be and my heart is healing.

I am a walking, living, breathing  “before and after” ad for betrayed spouses. 😂

I can live with that.

Leigh ❤️

Erase, Adjust, and Carry On.

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So, I took a few days to run away recover from Will’s horrible treatment of me. It has been a wise decision. I took the whole day yesterday to treat myself to an all-day spa treatment…mani/pedi, massage, facial, lunch. I have NEVER done that before. Never.   I had one slight tinge of guilt for such an extravagant expense…but soon realized that the cost was about the same as one massage parlor visit by Will in the past..so, really, it’s all about perspective. Anyway, I am currently at a resort hotel locally where comfort and indulgence is a priority. And, I have to say, I am having such a lovely, peaceful, reflective time. I need to do this more often…regardless of Will and his issues. This is healthy and so, SO good for my soul! I have treated myself to wonderful food, downtime, and an abundance of time to read, sketch, and hike. Things that I don’t do enough. And while sketching, I realized a profound concept…the eraser!

I am very much an amateur artist. I sketch things that inspire me now and then. I am not very good, but I enjoy it as a sort of therapy.  Sketching, for me, is a time to reflect, relax and it provides a good outlet for my sometimes inhibitive side to be released. As I was surfing the internet yesterday (for what, I honestly don’t remember 🙄) I came across a beautiful site of southern Italy and amazing photos of the stunning fields of sunflowers that are so prevalent in that region. When Will and I traveled through Tuscany many years ago, I was impressed by these same fields and bought a beautiful hand-painted plate of a single, perfect size flower which still graces our dining room wall. One photo I came across as I surfed particularly struck me and I decided to sketch it. As I began my new drawing, I sketched, I erased, I considered my perspective, I re-drew, I erased and I re-sketched, until I had something that pleased my eye and my sense of proportion and balance. And then…the epiphany! I erased! I obliterated the ugly, the disproportionate, the “oops” that regularly occurs when I sketch. And I made it better. I re-evaluated and took stock of the picture as a whole and I adjusted. To make the end result as close to perfect as was humanly possible. It is a constant process. Sketch, evaluate, erase, re-draw, assess…and then carry-on to the next phase.

You already know where I am going with this analogy, but for me, this was such an enlightenment! Why, if I can expend so much thought and time into a trivial endeavor like a simple sketch, can I not take the same care and considered reflection when it comes to my marriage? Yes, I get that it is a much more emotional and personal issue, but it should be basic precept for something that I have spent over forty years working on. (Even if Will has not been much of an active participant in this same project called marriage 😏.)  This is less about Will and more about me and my mindset. I have spent weeks, even months, on an intricate project like a drawing, a needlepoint piece, a refinish item or a sewing endeavor. True that these are material things and are not of an everlasting or eternal nature, but during the process of creating, they require focus and attention and a certain amount of dedication to complete. Why then, in creating a solid marriage or relationship, something that should last a lifetime and beyond, would I not employ an equal or, indeed, a greater effort to ensure success? Arghhh!!! Why has it taken me this freaking long to figure this out?!?!

*SIGH!”

Sometimes, I wonder, not if Will is ever going to “get it”, but whether I will ever really be in a place where clarity and simplicity of thought takes center stage in my life. Not to deter from the fact that Will behaved in an unacceptable manner…he clearly did. But, to re-focus on my own reaction and response. Which is still a work in process. As we both are. One does not survive four decades (or longer) of dysfunction without deep-set scars and ideologies of life unscathed. But, that is not to say that one does not possess the very basic utility of an “eraser.” We can (and MUST) utilize the God-given gift of the eraser (or, in other words, Christ’s atonement) to undo the ugly, the unfathomable, the hurt, the “oops” of life! Much like a pencil which sometimes takes a deviant path from what the artist intends, life can take a path which is errant and unacceptable. We can then either allow that path to obstruct and distort the whole, or use our eraser to re-evaluate, re-assess, delete the error and correct our course.

We can re-draw our future. We can erase the ugly and focus on what is next. It is not simple. It is not without shadows of regret or missteps or remnants of hurt pain or bad decisions. But it is a positive move towards a better and brighter tomorrow. Those who know me know that I am not about platitudes or Pollyanna optimism, just plain and simple facts of life. Like a project of skill, or hope, or faith, marriage and happiness is something which requires endless reassessment and readjustment. Using the eraser which we have all been given is the most powerful tool we have.

Leigh ❤️

 

Healing

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I am healing. Not just physically from my recent surgery, but from the trauma of betrayal. I am struck, though, by the speed (or lack thereof) of healing emotionally and healing physically. And I have always thought that unfair. Healing faster is better right?

As I heal from major surgery, I can feel myself get stronger. I can see results on the scale. I can walk farther and longer. I have regained some of my energy. I just simply  feel better.  I have not had any instances where I have felt worse or even the same as before the surgery. The progress is all forward with no relapsing. And I am only about six weeks post-op. To me, this is amazing.  But regarding the devastating betrayal, I am over three years post-D-day and it has only been recently that I feel I have made noteworthy progress. Have I seen and felt myself change? Absolutely! But it is agonizingly slow and painful. And I feel like there are relapses way too often.

Today, I was in a grumpy mood and didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything. I didn’t want to take a walk or even get dressed. When Will got home from work, he cheerfully asked if I wanted to go for a walk. And so we did. Partly because I knew I needed to walk for my continued recuperation, but largely because in the past, Will would never take a walk with me and I’m not about to pass up that opportunity. We walked, held hands, picked up the mail and talked about everyday stuff. It raised my spirits somewhat but I still had a dark cloud that I couldn’t quite describe hanging over me.

We sat outside under our new pergola and watched the sunset and shared silly videos with each other on our iPads. It was a nice quiet evening. As we said our prayers together, I prayed for the Lord to protect us in our sleep and in our dreams. It was at that moment that I remembered my dream from right before I woke up this morning and realized what it had done to my mood all day long. It was horribly vivid and seemed so real and it put me right back to the rage, the disgust, the sick feeling of betrayal, the absolute feeling of broken-ness of D-day.  And the hangover from it stayed with me all day. It made me so angry that my brain and my sub-conscious would torture me this way. Why?!?! Why can’t my mind and my emotions heal like my body is doing?

Then, I began analyzing it all, like I do 🙄, and have come to this conclusion:

A body is really just a vessel. A relatively temporary thing for our use here on Earth. It is easily bruised or broken and, for the most part, there is generally a medical remedy, like stitches or casts or surgery to put one back together again. It takes some effort to heal, but the body does most of it on it’s own. We can not control how the bones knit together or tissue regenerates. It just does.

The mind, however, is far more complex. It is part of our spirit, our personality, our intellect. It is WHO we are. We cannot rely on the miracle of healing in quite the same way. When one is mentally or emotionally damaged, there is no chance that the brain is going to “fix itself” and heal on it’s own. There is no third-party like a doctor or nurse that can stitch up the gaping holes caused by years of false memory. No one can put a cast on the broken heart or broken trust and allow those things to knit back together. Healing from trauma is s-l-o-w. It is painful. It is So. Much. Hard. Work!

Healing is not for the impatient. And that is what I keep reminding myself. I keep telling myself that I am worthy of grace. I am allowed to take my time. I have earned the absolute right to feel the pain and anger at times, but also revel in newfound joy and, dare I say it, happiness. I am learning to accept the relapses and then put them behind me. I am learning that a relapse does not impede forward progress or even slow it down like it does with a physical injury. It is actually a PART of the progress and makes one stronger. Every thought and emotion and even dream is something to process, to digest and to learn from. It is all part of healing.

So yes, I am healing physically faster than emotionally. That is a given. But I am healing well on both counts…and that is what is important.

Leigh ❤️

 

 

Musings from the Trailer Park

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Life in a travel trailer….in a Colorado winter….in freezing temperatures, is….interesting. We have been without heat a couple of times due to running out of propane once and a bad regulator on another occasion. But, we have electric blankets and hot cocoa. We have had frozen pipes so no water a couple of times but we have a space heater which thaws things out fairly quickly and a daughter who lives only a couple of miles away in a true “I gotta shower right now!” emergency.  All in all, though, it isn’t fun. Not like camping in a travel trailer in the mountains or on the beach is fun. It’s not even fun like staying at a KOA because you are heading to somewhere fun. No. It’s just not fun. At all.

You know what is also not fun? It’s not fun to want to have a few minutes (or a few hours) to yourself to take a leisurely bubble bath and process something your sex addict husband has done…only you can’t. Because, well, you don’t have any privacy in a 30 foot trailer, or any bubble bath…or a tub. So, that’s not fun either. The closeness is really, really close. All. The. Time. There is no bedroom door to close to isolate for awhile. In fact, there isn’t really any door. There is a privacy curtain…but it’s just not the same. I know that recovery, for both of us, is all about finding the closeness and emotional intimacy that he has been incapable of for so long, and I completely get that. But, may I just point out, that there is such a thing as overdoing it?!  When winter weather set in, our outdoor space was no longer available so our actual living space is literally 30 feet by 8 feet. Which we share with our 70 pound Collie. And in that space there is a sofa, a dining table and a queen size bed. And a kitchen and a bathroom. So….small. Puny. Tiny.

In case you haven’t guessed, I am completely over this trailer park life and am counting the days now until we can move into our new home (23!!). But I will say this: throughout all of this ridiculous adversity, I have grown into someone I respect. I did not have a meltdown when we had no water. I did not rage when the heat went out (although, I may have made a crack about it being a cold, cruel world 😜), and Will has not become the victim of a murderous insane spouse, pushed beyond all limits….so that’s a win. I have been able to maintain my sanity and dignity (except for the pooper scooper incident which I will not go into here).  And even more satisfying for me is that I feel like this was a major hurdle or challenge that we have conquered. Living in a confining space for an extended time, over 6 months for us, is difficult for anyone. For a couple who is trying to recover from addiction and trauma..well, most folks would say that it was a death wish. But, we are doing it..have nearly done it…and not only survived, but grown in our recovery and in our marriage. We are going to be okay I think.

And, for the record, I don’t ever want to go camping again. Like, ever.

 

Gratitude Ain’t Just An Attitude, It’s a Way Of Life

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We made it through Thanksgiving…no, no…actually, Thanksgiving was really wonderful. Will came out and joined me and we had a lovely time. I picked him up from the airport and it was GOOD to see him. I actually MISSED him! And I didn’t have that weird uh-oh-something-isn’t-quite-right feeling. It wasn’t even a passing thought. Does this mean that all is fine and dandy in sobriety land? Oh, no. Not by a long shot.

You see, a year ago, I was visiting this same son and daughter-in-law when Will came out to visit as well. Only, we were in a completely different place in our relationship. He was still big time into the manipulation and gas lighting although he was not acting out in his addiction. While there, he snuck my journal and read it, hacked my phone and read my texts to friends, and lied continued to lie/conceal things he had done. It was during this time last year, when my doctor’s office called to tell me my test results for an STD were positive. So…there were definitely triggers. A LOT of triggers.  But, oh, what a difference in how they affected me. And my reaction. And my behavior. And my emotion! I was able to instantly recognize a trigger when I took the grandkids to the pond to feed the ducks, just as I did on my last visit. As I approached the same bench on which I sat listening to my doctor tell me my test results last year, I felt a cold sadness coming over me. I clearly heard the words and felt the pain of that moment. I took a deep breath. And in the next moment, it was gone. I quickly realized that I was healthy, I had become stronger than that bad moment and could deal with the aftermath. I was grateful for where I am now and the people in my life that I love. AND THAT WAS IT!  In the next moment we were throwing bread crumbs to the ducks and making silly duck calls and then continued our walk home. I did not even think about it again until I said my prayers and gave thanks for the healing I had been blessed with.  The many other triggers in the three weeks I was there were so fleeting that I scarcely remember what they were. Something Will did caused a panic in me and I lashed out with a snarky remark…and very quickly apologized for it. He, also, realized what he had done to trigger my panic and apologized. Then he held me.and he kissed me. And he told me, as he does so much now, how very much he loves me and is grateful for me.

We have our moments. Believe me, when we got “home”to our tiny little trailer to find it without heat or hot water in 36 degree weather, it was not a good moment. But it was also not a moment where either of us got upset with one another, or engaged in any blame. We simply turned the electric blanket on high and tried to stay warm enough to sleep til morning  so we could find and fix the problem in the daylight. Trust me when I say, this is a completely different dynamic in our relationship. It feels healthy, and loving and like a true team effort. We are now two people in this marriage, both equally committed and both giving 100%.  I would not have believed it possible a year ago in sometimes have to remind myself that we are just 18-months post D-day. I know there is So. Much. More to do to get where we want to be…and NEED to be. But I am happy and grateful that we have come this far. I know we both still have a lot to learn about ourselves and each other and our relationship, but I have so much hope for our future.

I really have a true spirit of Thanksgiving and appreciate all that I have been blessed with. I pray that, no matter what our circumstance, or where we are in our recovery process, we can take the time to be truly, deeply thankful for all that we have. I pray that through this Christmas season, we can focus on the love and peace of the season and find joy in our circumstances, no matter what they may be. I love each of you and the amazing healing and support that this amazing community has provided me. I would not be here…as many of you know…without your outpouring of love, friendship, guidance and wisdom. Happiest of Holidays to everyone. I will check back in before Christmas! 🎄

 

I’m OK…Really!

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I’ve been apart from Will for a full week. And…meh…I’m good. Really. I have not once had that urge to try to check up on him, grill him about his day to see if I could catch him in a lie, or even ask him how he’s doing, ya know, with his *whispers behind hand* R.e.c.o.v.e.r.y…..

Of course, I have been busy chasing a couple of the cutest little grand babies around while mommy and daddy are at school and work. So, I’m a little too busy to dwell on what Will may or may not be doing. Plus, I have been writing for another blog, as a contributor, and that has been a great outlet for me. I am finding that I can miss him but not yearn for him in a co-dependent way. I am really perfectly fine on my own. How liberating is that?!?! I don’t just survive without Will anymore, I continue to thrive. I continue to grow and learn and strengthen myself in heart and mind and I feel closer every day to being a full person again.

Will is coming to join me, the kids and these two littles for Thanksgiving and it will be good to be all together. Our house will be completed in January and it is beginning already to feel like a home…a real home. Our forever home. I will be thrilled next year at this time when hopefully my whole gang will join Will and I for the holidays. Together, really together, for the first time in two years. I look forward to that. I look forward to a lot of things these days, and I gotta say, after the devastation of the last year and a half, looking forward with joy and not dread feels pretty good.

I hope you all are finding joy with the upcoming holidays. I hope that with Thanksgiving being next week, we can all be thankful for the blessings we have. Grateful for who we are becoming and even the trials that have made us so strong. I am particularly grateful for this community and for the amazing, inspiring women I have met here who I am honored to call friends. I thank you all for your compassion, your trailblazing, your advice and your love. May God Bless and keep you this Thanksgiving. Hugs to All!

Leigh ❤️

 

What’s Important

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I haven’t written in awhile. . . Not since I returned from my week on campus (which was incredible! I will post about that later) because in life there are priorities. Upon returning, my sweet little 3-year-old granddaughter developed an eye infection. Not a big deal, one would think. Neither did any of us. My daughter treated it with a salt water compress and since there was no accompanying fever or other symptoms, assumed it would run its course and her body would process the bug and her immunity system would fight and win. After a couple of days, however, her eye became swollen and she refused to open it. She also stopped moving her other eye, choosing instead to move her whole head to change her view. A trip to the doctor provided some eye drops and advice to keep using the salt water compress and to watch for fever.  The next day, our poor little girl was irritable and complaining of pain. As her mama was able to force the eye open for just a peek, it was clear there was more than just an infection going on. A trip to the ER resulted in an ambulance ride an hour north to the Denver Children’s Hospital for a sedated MRI. This was last Friday. . . My daughter and granddaughter have been there since then. I have been living part-time at her house as my son-in-law manages work and the drive back and forth to the hospital and I wrangle the other three children. Will and I went to see her yesterday and her cheery little self is much improved and her eye is healing. We are hoping she (and my daughter) can come home today. Her condition is called orbital cellulitis and hers was severe enough that they were concerned about it morphing into something which would cause a loss of vision or worse. We have prayed so hard for this little one. We are relieved and grateful she is healing.

I have shared this because I sometimes get so wrapped up in my own bubble of recovery, trauma, healing, forgiveness, resentment, repentance, gratitude. . .the whole cycle of emotion and experience that is my little world, that I can lose my own vision of the larger world. The important things. The life and death issues that are ongoing everyday and don’t just stop because I, LeighKay, happened to have married an abusive sex addict. I have been reminded that the really important things in life are  the ones that ensure our happiness. I endeavored to blog throughout August about my “happy” in life and I had quite a few entries although not as many as I had aimed for. While it is true that many things, many people and many situations or ideals can bring on the happy in life, I believe that true happiness comes from our connection. When we are connected, at a real, authentic level, we find purpose and meaning. We participate in each other’s joy and sorrow, we feel and empathize one with another. We share all that is beautiful and good and noble with each other but accept all that is flawed and imperfect as well. We appreciate the value of another just for being one of God’s children and are grateful for the opportunity we have to live our lives come what may.

I am grateful my little granddaughter is on the mend with no long-term damage to her sight. I am grateful for the opportunity I have had to be available and helpful when needed. I am particularly grateful that throughout this family crisis, my focus has been on this crisis without having to wonder what Will was up to, where he was, if he was where he said he was and doing what he said he was doing. Not because I trust Will.  But because I trust God. And because I have gotten to that place when I realize that THAT was the most important thing all along.