Most of the time lately, I cruise along just fine. Better than fine, actually. It feels like so much hard stuff is behind me now- and while I still have hard stuff in front, it’s hard stuff of my choosing, and not someone else’s mess anymore. I’m not foolish enough to think it’s all smooth sailing from here, but I’ve been in such a hard season for so long, and I know seasons change- so it can’t stay this way forever.
I’m in school. As a matter of fact, I’m killing it at school- I have a grad program picked out and a better than fair shot of getting admitted. There is even a potential plan post grad school, in two short years, about which I am reservedly excited. My kids are doing pretty well- I mean, they act like regular kids, which is a good thing, right? We have Little House, and a paid-for working, decent car. The roof doesn’t leak and we live in the best ward in the entire world. My kids have great teachers and wonderful friends, and I do too. I have intellectual pursuits and grown-up stuff that brings me happiness and satisfaction.
So how come, sometimes, when I have a difficult day, do I still feel like I have failed? Tonight, I was talking with a good friend, and he gently pointed out- the way only a good friend can- that I needed to stop beating myself up for marrying David. It stopped me short and suddenly my eyes were swimming with hot tears. Because he was right. There is a tiny part of me that secretly feels if only I had done more, tried harder, been better… that somehow, I would not have lost everything. There is a tiny part that feels I should have known better when I chose whom I married- like I should have seen and heeded signs that I missed. And I blame myself. Intellectually, I understand the folly of that thinking- I understand and recall all too well how not true reality makes that idea. And yet it’s still there, like a rusty, forgotten bucket that I trip on in the dark.
I don’t know how to fix this. If I know what needs doing, I am unflinching and fearless about tackling it. But this? Here? I have no idea how heal that part of my heart. Bitterness has mercifully been absent from me for most of this process- a fact for which I am profoundly grateful. I don’t want bitterness within a country mile of my heart… but how do I cull the seeds of rust from that old bucket and keep my heart supple and open? How do I keep my heart from turning to stone? How do I forgive myself?