Better Plans

When I was a young teen, my father was a professor at the University of Colorado for a couple of years. We lived in the amazing, green-belt-wrapped town/city of Boulder, tucked neatly into the valley with the beautiful Rockies looming to the west, and foothills part of the landscape.

There were strong winds that swept down over Boulder off this eastern slope of the mountains. Winds that were called the chinook – after the Pacific Native Americans – and, according to the Earth Systems Research Laboratory, are some of the highest peak winds in the entire country. The winds were sometimes strong enough to blow roofs off, down trees and melt a foot of snow in less than an hour. But for the most part, the chinook was something brief and interesting and part of the lore of living in Boulder.

boulderco2

So for Christmas one year, my parents had rented a condo at a ski resort for a week. Believe it or not, the day before we were leaving, it was in the mid-70s in Boulder – a perfect day to lay out in the backyard in my bikini and get a tan. Dad was at work, and mom was running around getting last minute items for the trip, and our house was filled with a crew of 4-5 men painting the living room and dining room. I was on my lounge chair, soaking up the sun and the phone rang…and this was prior to cell phones that are perched by our sides…so I jumped up and ran to the door…a sliding glass door…and grabbed the handle to slide it open with my right hand touching the glass with my left hand…and

CRASH

The entire 72 x 80 inch door shattered with a deafening sound. Shards of glass were there – inside the door and outside the door and sticking out of various places on my body.

slidingdoor

I was stunned, shocked, completely confused how this could have happened. I did not fly into the door with my body weight, or press hard on the door with my left hand. I opened it the same way I always opened it, lightly touching the door with my left finger tips to stabilize the opening procedure while pulling on the handle with my right, yet this time the door lay in little pieces all around me. Then I realized that numerous places on my hands and legs and feet were bleeding…some small spots of blood, but a couple quite vigorously.

I ran into the kitchen (to this day have no idea who was on the phone), turned on the sink, threw my heavily-bleeding-hand under the sink while telling the very-shocked-painters to hand me some paper towels that I pressed onto my worst-bleeding-foot wound with the other foot. They began to sort-of-panic (isn’t that just like men? Sorry, didn’t mean to be sexist, but I guess I really did) and I took the role of calming them down.

So why this story? There was no man involved, no relationship, no HUSBAND or cheating or loving or even family-of-origin stories here.

Right after the door crashed down, everyone (mostly my parents) blamed me. It was surely my teen-crazed desire to answer the phone…I had crashed into the door…I had wrenched the door open with force. I replayed the incident over and over and over in my head while nurturing the physical wounds, and knew this was not so. Eventually, we learned that it was very likely the glass had been weakened and bore cracks and fissures due to the winds…cracks we couldn’t see…cracks that were actually the cause of the shattering which could have happened to anyone.

Some have suggested that for me to go back and examine my marriage may cause more pain, stunt healing or lead to self-blame. For me, on DDAY, I was the glass door. I looked healthy and clear and shiny with no cracks or hints of instability. But it wasn’t true. And as much as I am me, and I am separate from HUSBAND, WHICH I FULLY BELIEVE, because we were married we were also inextricably woven into one in a mystery I cannot fully understand, so any brokenness in him really was brokenness in me. Those crazy chinook winds had blown over and in my life and over and in his life and over and in our life, and left microscopic cracks and fissures and schisms that I glossed over or thought would be better tomorrow or could not see because they were just so small…but then

CRASH

The entire 27 year marriage of HUSBAND and me came crashing down. Shards of my life were strewn across the years and the dreams and the reality of all that I was.

That gaping hole where the door once stood, where the marriage once stood, has to be rebuilt. It could be a single-hung glass, or perhaps a double-pane, but either way if it is going to stand the chinook bearing down again and again as life does, I want to understand how the original construction allowed those cracks and fissures to form. I want to change the plans, to be able to withstand the winds and not be in danger of shattering again, and to do so, I am willing to take apart every bit of the process and rebuild step-by-step with stronger, smarter, better parts. In my case, HUSBAND also wants that for himself, which is what is allowing us to consider remaining married, to work toward a whole marriage which I can see now, we never had before. If he wasn’t willing to invest and to dedicate his heart and mind and being to both going back with brutal honesty, and moving forward with humble bareness, I would be on this journey alone. Because that is what I am doing, and now, we are doing – going back with brutal honesty, and moving forward with humble bareness.

Looking back, for me, is the only way to build forward.

foundation

 

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27 thoughts on “Better Plans

  1. Yours are not shared shards, the shards belong to your H. No doubt with you taking control of the rebuilding the foundation will be stronger. Gotta love a woman in a hard hat.

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  2. This is such a beautiful picture and speaks so loud and clear to me, and I believe to all of us who have their glass doors shattered unexpectedly, unknowing of those microscopic fissures. Thank you for visualising it so beautifully. I wish you and your H strength in taking the faulty product apart and rebuilding something much better and more beautiful! Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I enjoyed reading your analogy and agree that with looking back at what needs “fixin”, your marriage will be rock solid. My husband and I have both changed the way we used to treat each other by looking at our past behavior.
    This has changed our marriage so positively
    I gave this quote to my husband that I found online. “Find the guy that will pick up every piece of your shattered heart & put it back together; keeping one piece for himself and replacing it with one piece of his”. Thought I would share it with you as well.

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  4. I’m in a state right now where I’m envisioning my life without him – like paying attention to ‘for rent’ signs. It jars me. I haven’t done that since 1995. So I get how shattering it all is and how the glass can’t ever be fixed, just replaced. I guess I’m sad not because I believed in the fairy tale as much as I never believed I was worth the fairy tale. That was for other people – I told myself I didn’t want it instead of admitting I wasn’t worthy. So I stayed with a man I was sure wouldn’t give it to me. And the tough outer shell just got harder. The more my needs weren’t met, the less needy I became – what a strong, independent woman I was.

    Thanks for your writing, I love how it stirs something different inside of me each time.

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  5. My husband and I were married for over twenty years before he cheated. Like your door, I never once saw or even suspected that he had tiny cracks forming. While I knew we had gone through some tough things in the two years before the affair (lost two parents, business near failure, two new babies, financial issues) I thought our relationship was made of bullet-proof glass. While I leaned INTO our relationship, he crumbled inside. He jumped to the easy escape of a ho-worker who admitted she had been pursuing him for a long time. It is so very sad now to see the damage done to our marriage, our souls, our children and our family. Even as we rebuild, there are losses I will always mourn. Things damaged by the flying glass. I wish he could have felt himself giving way. I wish I could have had x-ray vision and detected his cracks before be blew apart and nearly destroyed us in the process.

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    1. Oh grace…I feel your deep pain. It is so strange…HUSBAND and I are healing, yet today on this oh-so-beautiful-day, there is that deep sadness in my soul. I’m believing that it is the loss of the naivety… I hope you find great peace for your heart and life. HUGS.

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  6. I kind of feel like this is where we are now. We are not on the same page, but we both want the same thing, LOVE and STABILITY in our household. I can’t see why sometimes it seems so far out of reach!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I lived a little further west of Colorado but the beauty… oh, it is majestic! I miss it.

    I totally get what you are saying even though I’ve gone the opposite way. As long as he is doing his part and not putting it all off on you I think it’s fine that you are willing to look at what changes you could possibly make or how you think you contributed to this.

    My wish for you is healing, hope and prosperity.

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