Maybe you’ve heard the saying; You’ve made your bed, now lie in it. No? https://www.theidioms.com/youve-made-your-bed/
I remember hearing it as I was growing up. My grandmother and mother would be sitting on the front porch snapping beans, or sitting out under the shade tree enjoying the summer breeze, a glass of sweet, iced tea, and chatting. They would discuss any variety of topics, but they also discussed what was going on with people we knew. Their conversations went no further, as neither were of a mind to spread gossip outward, but weren’t adverse to those between themselves talks. Being young, I usually paid them no mind as it was not something that interested me. It was interspersed in those conversations that I recall hearing the ‘she made her bed’ comment often.
How that comment from the past came back to haunt me. I was married to and separated from another before I met my now late husband. It was a mistake, and a series of lessons.
When I married him, he seemed to be a wonderful, caring person, but he hid a secret. Before we married, he was kind, considerate, he took care of me once when I was ill. It was after the I do’s were spoken and the paper signed that Dr. Jekyll became Mr. Hyde. Turns out he was an alcoholic, and a mean one at that. Now, I could go into all the reasons and examples as to how quickly I realized the mistake I had made, but I won’t. I will admit to the fact that at that time in my life, I was not the strongest or most mature of individuals. In my head, echoed the words I heard from long ago, she made her bed. In my head, that is how I felt. I had put myself in this position, I needed to do what I could to make it work. In my naivete, I thought it doable.
Looking back, (hindsight is often much more clear it seems) I realize how foolish that thought was. One simply cannot blend oil and water. Good and evil; dark and light do not mix. The root of his addiction to alcohol was deep and strong. The waves of his sickness, threatened to overtake me rather than the other way around. Often, I sat in a forlorn silence, feeling lost, feeling hopeless, feeling forgotten. The results of my position and the results of having become a prodigal child from my faith.
Instead of seeking the light, I was falling into the dark. I began drinking myself. As long as I was drinking, the demon left me be. But I was not comfortable here, that place was not where I had been brought up to live. It wasn’t living, it was existing in a fallacy. It took one night of horror, that brought me to the point of desperation. It drove me to seek help and escape.
I sit here now, almost forty years away from that time, looking back in wonder. At that time, I never imagined that I would reach this age. If I had stayed, I most likely would not have. But I was lead to forget words remembered and seek the light beyond. I stepped off that bus after a near twenty hour ride and immediately felt the healing begin.
There are problems though. Maybe not problems, reminders of the lessons learned during the time of suffering and distance. Wounds, especially mental injuries, emotional hurts, don’t fully heal and go away. They leave scars, reminders of the injury. Lessons that we can draw from in the pursuit and desire to help others. When we can show our own battle scars, which are nothing to be ashamed of, we prove our understanding. As a Christian, one who fell, who wandered, but found their way back into welcoming arms, understands better now. As one who in childhood lead a sheltered, protected life, and would have never had comprehension of reality, I walk with opened eyes.
Through immaturity and ignorance, I chose my path. I made my bed. It took the silencing of memories to walk away. It takes a great strength to walk away. One that is made more difficult if there are children involved. One made more difficult through a variety of reasons. One who has never faced this, should not make judgements or offhand comments, because unless you have been there, you don’t know. Can’t know. Can’t understand.
Abuse is a quit of many colors and designs. Threats, beatings, mental ghosting, emotional destruction, insults, financial lack, and the list goes on. Each item one more part of the patchwork, sewn securely in place. Fear, being the backing. To seek escape, one must find a way to begin the unraveling of the threads holding it together. To seek escape, many times, there must be someone willing to hand them the scissors.
I not only escaped what I had made, I set fire to the hold, making sure there never to be the temptation to return. It happens, but we won’t go there.
Nearing forty years. Its been a long road to this point. I look back only to see how far I have come. For each and every person, their journey is different. Their struggles their own. I do suffer some PTSD from that time, but it lessons as time passes. Very few things trigger it now, but then, I am living a solitary life but for the company of my son. I feel, that I have been given this time as a time of greater and further healing. While working I faced events that only reminded me of back then, now those have been removed.
My prodigal status even less than what was, even as I had not realized I had held onto portions. Every day of this life not working, every morning, every lap around the circle, there is a healing, a drawing closer to the peace that I had as a child, innocent, naive and unaware. Yet now, I hold a strength that only a heart and spirit once wounded can hold-understanding of the prodigal returned.