A few months ago I started a blog.  I kept it locked with a password which I only shared with a very small group of people.  The blog was taking a direction I didn’t want it to. Most of my entries were about the sadness and fear I was feeling and I kept it locked with a password.  But, really, I am trying to get away from living like that.  I will be sad and scared from time to time and I may share that but I want to share beauty and happiness and laughter too, and I don’t want to keep anything locked up anymore.  And so, I started this blog.  And I am deleting the other one.  But there was one entry from the other blog I wanted to keep and this was it.  Somehow it seems that when people treat us badly that our positive memories of them are magically erased.  I don’t want that to happen to me.  I don’t want to forget the good.


Sometimes I flutter my eyes as if I am going to wake up while I am already awake.  How could this possibly be my life?  How did I get here?   People, including me, especially me, have their theories and judgements.  Most would choose to believe that for the past fourteen years I have been blind, refusing to, or just blind to see what was right in front of me.  Some would choose to believe I chose someone who was similar to my father.  And, as with almost all judgements, this is a way of consoling oneself.  If Shanna did something to cause this, if she missed something along the way, then surely it can’t happen to me.  Because what if love can turn to hate?  What if one day our whole life can be turned upside down because of the choices and actions of one person?  What if the one person we trusted most with everything turned out to be the person who wants to hurt us the most?  As human beings we just can’t go around believing that things like that can happen.  And just like when others judge us, if we also put the blame on ourselves we are protecting ourselves.  If it is our fault then we are in control, if we are in control then it is not possible for anyone to hurt us so deeply.  If it is all my fault then somehow I can make it better.

But as with most things, none of those theories is 100% correct, but perhaps they all have some truth to them.  What is 100% true is that real love leaves us vulnerable.  That when we trust our heart to another person we cannot control what they are going to do with it.  In fact at the very essence of love is vulnerability.  Many will say to guard your heart, to never allow yourself to love someone more than they love you.   But, if we never risk that have we ever really loved at all?  How can you guard your heart but yet give your all to somebody?  How can you put someone above yourself but be thinking “I have to make sure I don’t give them more than they give me”?  How can you be willing to give someone all of you, yet try to balance it so that you don’t give more to them than they give to you??  You can’t.  That isn’t love.  So, as I sit here broken, so uncertain of the future, I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel regret.  But what I don’t regret is feeling love and giving real love.  Some people go through their whole lives without experiencing real love, giving it or receiving it, and without that ability to even understand what that is. or what it means.  And when you look at my life now maybe you doubt that love was ever there, sometimes I convince myself of the same.  Lately I have been convincing myself that what some people say must be true, that I must have been blind, that I must have believed that something was there that wasn’t.  And maybe he never really loved me.  But I loved him and I gave him everything I had.  So at least I have experienced that side of love.

This weekend I attended a retreat that focused on mindfulness and our goals (they used the word intentions) for the upcoming year.  With so much uncertainty ahead that was a challenge for me.  But what I was able to do was to relax and let my mind think freely for the first time in a while.  To acknowledge my thoughts and feelings instead of pushing them away.  On Saturday, at the end of a day full of  deep thought, we were treated to a beautiful concert.  And at the concert the singer began to sing a song I hadn’t heard in so long, but that I know so well.  A song back from our mix tape days.  A song I sent to him and that I meant with all of my heart.  And as I sat there just being open to the situation and to my feelings all of a sudden a tidal wave of love washed over me.  Love for him.  And all of the wonderful memories I have pushed away began replaying in my mind.  And then came the incredible hurt.  The kind of hurt that takes your breath away.  The kind of hurt you usually do anything to immediately distract yourself from.  But instead I let myself feel it and I let myself remember…

How he used to hold my long red hair to his nose and how he said it had magical powers.  How patient he was when I couldn’t find the words to say.  How he understood the underlying meaning of the song lyrics, I thought only I understood.  How he loved God.  How he understood being cautious yet being silly.  How for the first time in my life I let myself fall in love.  How he sent me new phone wires when my Dad cut them.   And how when that didn’t work anymore he bought me a cell phone.  How he left work early to cheer me at my high school graduation.  The long good night kisses on my Grandpa’s porch and laughing as we saw the neighbors watching us night after night.  How he taught me to drive and didn’t think twice about trusting me with me his car.  How we would drive down to the beach and sit on the rocks and just talk for hours.  Staying up all night to watch the sunrise and how he said my hair was the same color as the sunrise.  How he dropped me off at my dorm on my first day of college and how after I had a terrible experience he was the one who came and got me right away.  How we got our own apartment and filled it with flowers and love.  How we laughed as pieces of my car would fall onto my lap as we went over a bump.  How he loved me, flaws and all.   How fun it was to look for and buy a condo together.  How he supported my aversion to white walls and we painted our entire new condo in a weekend…and how as with most everything, we made it fun.  How we loved our bird and a cat…and a puppy that he advised me against but he fell in love with almost immediately.  How we would dance around the living room with them and laugh and laugh.  How I believed with my whole heart that everything I had been through in my life led me to those moments with him.  How we decided on a whim to buy a house in a town we had never heard of.  How we moved in and it all seemed like a fairytale.  How I chickened out of our big wedding and we called the justice of the peace at 11pm and he immediately came over and married us in the upstairs of our house.  How we wanted to be together every moment that we could.  How we spent our evenings hand in hand walking around our lake.  How we seemed to forget each other’s names and refer to each other as “love”.   How he was there for me when I was in pain and sick.  How he was there for me through my Endometriosis surgery.  How it felt like a ton of bricks had been dropped on my chest when I heard the word infertility but somehow his love made it okay.   How we laughed as I moaned to the nurse about how much my butt hurt in recovery.  How good it felt to build a home with him.  How proud I was of him.  How we supported each other.  How with the help of God we turned a 3% chance into a miracle.  How he never left my side through a very long labor.  How incredible it felt with him by my side when Caleb was born.  How proud he was of me.  How wonderful it felt to start a loving family.  How sure I was that we would be great, loving parents.  How much fun we had with Caleb as he grew.  How astonished we were as he took his first steps and said his first words.  How amazed we were that we could have a part in creating such a beautiful person.  How we couldn’t wait to make Caleb a big brother.  How we were just about to give up and were blessed with another miracle.  How we did everything as a family.  How much fun we had.  How much love there was.  How he voluntarily cleaned up my vomit everyday when I was pregnant with Noah.  How we laughed as I had to pull over the car and throw up.  How excited we were for the future.  How amazing it was when Noah was born and the four of us were together and we knew our family was complete.

Things aren’t always black or white, in fact they rarely are.  Things, or people, are not usually good or bad.  Sometimes the worst people have the best intentions, sometimes the best people have the worst intentions.  Sometimes the worst things have speckles of light and sometimes the best things are speckled with darkness.  As people our first inclination is to judge based on what is apparent or on what is presented to us.  Sometimes what we see as whole is only a speckle of the entire picture.  It is impossible to determine an outcome of something based on the speckles.  In fact, it is impossible for us to determine an outcome at all.   Sometimes the speckles of light spread and sometimes the darkness spreads.  And although we can have an influence, we cannot control the outcome.  What we can control is how we react and much light we decide to shine.

And today, in the midst of this mess, it is as if he still cares for me.  As Caleb and I did something nice for him and Noah he commented “What a nice family.”  I never thought those words could hurt so much.  Because they could be true.  They were true at a time.  How could he say those words now?  Now, as he openly admits his biggest goal is to hurt me.  How could the person who I built my home with try to make me homeless?  How could the person who saw me sacrifice and give everything I could for my boys try to take them from me?  How does love turn into hate?  Somewhere along the way my fairytale turned into a nightmare and I am not sure exactly when it was.  The dark speckles grew and grew and it got hard to see the difference between the dark and the light.

Now, I am trying to figure out how to make it through the darkness and not let my light get dim.  And I know I can’t do that by myself.  I keep thinking back to the poem Footprints in the Sand by Mary Stevenson and the line “It was then that I carried you.”  I know God is carrying the boys and I right now.

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