Safe Place

Well folks, it’s been one very crazy week.  You know those weeks where you are sure that you have royally perturbed someone and pushed them to the point of sticking your photo on a voodoo doll, grabbing some pins, and getting after it?  It’s been one of those!

It could have been grand!  A week off work to get caught up, sleep in, and perhaps enjoy some much needed social time.  None of that happened.  It began with a decision to change anxiety medications.  With my doctor’s plan, I began on Sunday night.  I’ve never experienced withdrawal before, but I was having a few issues with my old medication, so I knew it would be daunting.  This was punishing.  With that said, I spent Monday and Tuesday in bed wondering how much worse withdrawal from Heroine could possibly be.  Let’s just say that my body hated me.   A visit with my doctor and a new course of action held hope that what remained of the week could be salvaged.

Tuesday night  some family arrived.  I had hoped to get caught up on work before then so that I could relax and reconnect, but instead I was forced to spend the next couple of days sitting at my laptop working at a snail’s pace.  My head still felt like I’d taken too much sinus medicine.  One day I managed to sneak away from work to spend a few hours shopping with one of my favorite family members, but then I spent most of that night working.

I think it was Wednesday when I finally opened the certified mail from the IRS.  I had two days to work some financial magic.  After several hours on the phone with my accountant and the IRS, we struck a deal.  Then I received the email from my divorce attorney stating that my ex had completely rejected my offer for a deal.  Anger and rage joined the preexisting emotional mix of fear, anxiety, and confusion.  Now we had a real party in my head.

Thursday was better.  I finally could think clearly and the work began to flow.  I had it under control, finally.  There were a couple of emergency issues at work, but I handled them like the pro I know I am.  I didn’t even get upset when a knife was stuck in my back.  I think I’ve actually grown some callouses back there.  Friday I went into work.  My lack of productivity early in the week, forced me to show up.  But everyone needed something from me and I didn’t get my hefty pile completed.  I made a plan to go back on Saturday afternoon while my son went to the zoo with the family members who were visiting.  Friday night I had dinner with the whole family and then spent a little time catching up with an old friend.  The crazy week was almost over … or so I thought.

Today didn’t begin well.  I overslept, but that’s not unusual for a Saturday.  I got my son dressed for the zoo and even managed to get my ex to bring over his tennis shoes so he’d be comfortable.  I dropped him off with the family and saw them off to the zoo.  I headed back home to clean up the bathroom before heading in to work.  Oh yeah, my son managed to clog up the toilet!  So I’m knee deep in $#!T when my phone rings.  It’s my sister.  They had an accident on the way to the zoo.  Everyone was okay, but I drove white-knuckled the 40 miles to pick them up.  My son was panic stricken, but otherwise everyone was whole.

During that drive to get him, I realized what I’ve been missing.  My marriage used to be my safe place.  When all the world was crashing down around me, I had that space where the water couldn’t seep in.  That space where all of me was loved – the good and the bad.  It was where I could lose it, cry, be angry at injustice, and still calm because I had something greater.  It was greater than the physical space and more than a warm embrace.  Even hundreds of miles of distance between us didn’t damper it’s hold.

We were Team ____ (insert last name here).  We knew we would survive and thrive.  We knew we would overcome all obstacles.  We were tough.

As I’ve thought about this today, I’ve tried to figure out when we lost that – when I lost that.  It was before I left and perhaps one of the reasons I left.  My teammate was working against me instead of with me.  Our goals were different and we lacked a common vision of the future.  I know it didn’t happen all at once, rather is was a slow erosion.  That night I saw him put his arm around another woman probably began the process.  But there were times after that when we were solid.  They just become more and more infrequent.  Eventually, there was nothing left.  There was no safe place to fall.

Think of a tire with new tread.  The rubber is a cushion between the rim and the road.  My marriage was my cushion between me and the world.  It was that safe place where I could fall.  It gave me hope for better tomorrows and loving acceptance for my flaws.  When I lost that cushion my rim began grinding directly again the road.  You can take it for a while, but eventually the damage will bring you to a halt.  The mangled mess serves as evidence of the trials surpassed.

I’ve found the divorce process to be especially excruciating.  The worst part, when children are involved, is that there is no room for error.  The slightest misstep could keep me from seeing my son.  Keep in mind that I’m a good person.  I go to church every week.  I rarely drink.  I live a simple life with few complications.  My son comes first.  I don’t engage in risky behavior.  But I have to walk this very thin line everyday.  I wouldn’t dare let my ex see me struggle.  And falling down is simply not an option.

So here I am with my rim gouging into the road.  My safe place is very small and sometime difficult to find at all.  I know I’m supposed to have some grand realization that God is now my safe place or that I’ve found it within myself, but tonight I just feel raw, chewed-up, and spit out.  This week is over, but another awaits.  How much longer will the rim hold up?  And, dear Lord, could it ever possibly hold tread again?


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