Friends, I'm always moved by the comments you leave here on my blog. I never take for granted the way you show up with honesty and a willingness to share your perspectives and stories. It's an honor, really, that you feel like you can. That you want to.
Recently, when I read a comment from Robin, I felt my heart cracking open. Not just because of her circumstances, but because of how her words spilled over with universal truths. It cuts to the heart of so many things we talk about here. Specifically, what going our own way--the way that feels true and right--can cost us, and why it's still worth it.
Thank you, Robin, for agreeing to let me share your comment. Here's her story:
I can tell you that I lived in a very verbally and emotionally abusive marriage for 16 years to a man who also struggled with mental illness, abused alcohol and abused our older two children. I "covered" for him for most of those 16 years for fear that my train wreck of a home life being exposed to the "world" (or at least my little corner of it) would come as a huge shock and disappointment to so many people who believed in the perfect Christmas photo card they received from me each year.
After 3 years of begging him to get treatment and giving ultimatums (and praying and praying), my heart just knew I could no longer carry the burden of this masquerade and I had to make a better choice for me and my children. When he left, the first few weeks were the most peaceful weeks of my adult life. The peace that settled in was indescribable. The ease of "authentic living" felt like my favorite pair of old jeans. It was like I had been holding my breath for YEARS and I finally had the ability to exhale.
BUT, and this is a big BUT, once the dust settled, and there was no turning back for me in terms of no longer living a lie and no longer "covering" the truth, the road became anything BUT smooth and effortless. People that I believed would be there to hold me up and have my back, turned their backs and walked away...both family and close friends. Many relationships that were valuable to me have become estranged or were severed all together. I was not prepared for the "loneliness" of authentic living.
JOY does come, but not the kind of joy where everyone finally sees that your path is the right path for you and suddenly people are celebrating with you. It's the kind of joy that brings inner peace. Once you have fought so hard for that, your heart is open to all kinds of places and spaces that were never touchable before. I have remarried an amazing man who is "authentic". He loves and adores me and my children and with him, what you see is what you get. It is a refreshing gift to be in such a loving relationship.
I will forever encourage people to live their truth, their path regardless of the ripples (pain) it may create in their lives either financially, professionally, or relationally because none of those things can touch the gift of inner peace.