"We'd only just bought this house a year ago. Hadn't I wanted this nice house? Hadn't I loved it?...Wasn't I proud of all we'd accumulated - the prestigious home in the Hudson Valley, the apartment in Manhattan, the eight phone lines, the friends and the picnics and the parties, the weekends spent roaming the aisles of some box-shaped superstore of our choice, buying ever more appliances on credit? I had actively participated in every moment of the creation of this life - so why did I feel like none of it resembled me?...The only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying; the only thing more impossible than staying was leaving. I didn't want to destroy anything or anybody. I just wanted to slip quietly out the back door, without causing any fuss or consequences, and then not stop running until I reached Greenland." Ch. 2 pp. 11, 12
Unfortunately, in the book (and in real life), the author goes on to experience a painful divorce. And, while my husband and I have chosen a different route (reconciliation, as opposed to separation), the feelings that the author describes are no less potent or real to me. In fact, anything I quote on here can pretty much clue you in to the fact that it is EXACTLY how I have felt at some point in my life. Sometimes a quote says more than anything I could ever say. But it does leave me wondering if every married person feels this way at some point in their marriage (but who would ever admit it out loud?) or if there are just certain marriages that are more difficult (and we were lucky enough to get one of those)?
Is it a common thing for people to lose themselves in their relationships and become defined by them or are we just dysfunctional freaks? i.e. I'm Scott's wife. I'm Anika's mom. I'm Red Door Church's tech person. I'm Kuali's Administrative Assistant. I'm BHRG's writer. Eventually, I begin to feel that these labels are superficial and not real. They have nothing to do with WHO I AM.
I think this is why the author felt so lost. For one, all the "stuff" in the world wouldn't make you love yourself more, so the house, the appliance, etc...they are nothing. By proxy, MY house, my job, my appliances, etc...are nothing when it comes to understanding who I am.
But, as far as the marriage, I differ from the author in one way...and I am not putting judgment on this one way or the other...we just chose a different path. I choose not to walk away. My struggle with the hurtful feelings and overwhelming hopelessness that the author describes is the same. Yet, I've decided that a large part of my problem is that I don't know myself. It seems unfair to throw out the baby with the bath water and just get a new life, no matter how tempting that may be at times. It has been with quite a bit of contemplation and prayer that I have decided that I'm willing to discover who I am, while remaining true to my husband and our marriage, rather than run away from it. Not just because of some arbitrary "it's the right thing to do" (oh geez...if only I were that good!) but because it seems like it's something worth fighting for. And it doesn't seem to me like I need to run away to find what I happen to be looking for...considering everything I'm searching for is here...inside of me. It only makes sense that Scott should get the chance to support me and help me, as well as reap the benefits of any positive changes that come about because of it. Poor guy has held in there so long with me (10 years!). I'm sure he's just about at his wits' end with me and my crazy habits/behaviors/faults.
So, we're having grace for each other and for ourselves. And, well, we'll see what happens, eh?