A strange thing happened last night. In the midst of an old and cyclical argument a few words came to me: “ You’ve never had to wonder if I was coming home.” At first I wanted to fling these words angrily at my husband. If he could only see that this panic I have is deep seated and not something I do to keep tabs on him, then maybe we could stop having the same argument.
I really, really wanted to say all of those things, but I didn’t. Instead I went downstairs and wrote those words down, with the intention of strategically leaving them in a place he would see it. And then something happened as I wrote, “You’ve never had to wonder if I was coming home.” More words came to me:
That’s the heart of my middle of the night anxiety. It just dawned on me-that’s why it’s so panic inducing-old feelings of wondering about you coming home surface-years of wonder are hard to combat at zero dark thirty. I want understanding that this life we lead isn’t all about you. I live with the effects of war-the being at home side of it. There are a lot of things I’ve been through as your spouse that I could use some grace on- waking up afraid of your absence is one of them.
Instead of leaving these 5 sticky notes stuck around his belongings on the counter, I went and curled up on the couch, and let the cool midnight air calm my soul. As I sat there feeling the breeze from the open windows, more words flooded my brain: “A peace that passes understanding…” and I knew I needed to fill myself with some Truth. So, I read- I read someone else’s story about how God has worked in her life, then I read a couple of chapters and commentary on the book of Esther. The more I read the more calm I began to feel and the truth of the last hour set in.
I would like to believe that in household that is currently experiencing more post traumatic growth than post traumatic stress, that I am fixed, healed, not so busted up from living with untreated PTSD for a few years. But truth is while there is great growth and recovery I have some deep-seated fears and experiences that I don’t even realize I have until they come crashing in and jolt me awake in the late hours of the night.
Before heading back up to bed, I sat for a while with the realization that my panic and my neuroses about my husband’s whereabouts is an old panic-one that no longer serves me well. I went back to bed with a sense of peace and calm that can only come from rooting out what is no longer mine to carry.
I awoke today with the awareness that I have some deep sadness surrounding my realization from the wee hours. I have taken time today to grieve the time I’ve spent carrying a burden a that isn’t mine to carry and to be gentle with myself because it has affected not only my sleep but my relationship with my husband for far too many nights.
As I sat with this, I opened one of my daily readers to start my reading and writing routine and this is what I read:
“There are many things that I can do to improve my life and to further my recovery, BUT I CANNOT HEAL MYSELF. Today I can ask for help in becoming free of all that blocks me from my true self.” –Courage to Change (emphasis mine)
No coincidence that this is the reading I read today after the night I had-the date of that passage is June 9-I didn’t have the chance to read it yesterday and now I know why. It wouldn’t have made sense yesterday, but today it makes perfect sense and I am grateful for the reminder that I don’t have to do this recovery thing alone, my Higher Power is always there to listen and guide, even at zero dark thirty.