Wednesday 22 February 2012

Exposed by a baby tooth.

As the air settles, the tears dry up and life goes on, I find that I am at peace with my former husband.  I have chosen not to regard him as my enemy but rather an acquaintance with a common goal.  There are two young boys that are counting on us to get it together and take care of them.  To guide and protect them.  And when life permits, sit together and play a game of cards prior to a minor operation. 

I was certain I had forgiven him, just as I had forgiven myself.  I no longer replay the events in my mind.  I have tried my best to stop the slander.  Though at times, my mouth still does seem to have a mind of its own.  But I do not seek revenge nor wish him harm.  So yes, I had forgiven him.

American Psychological Association states forgiveness is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution. The Oxford English Dictionary defines forgiveness as 'to grant free pardon and to give up all claim on account of an offense or debt'.

Forgiveness had been a hard journey but as I dust myself off I can give myself a pat on the back.  I had forgiven my former husband.  Many are not able to come to this turning point but I have.  Many have stuffed their emotions and are blind to the embers still burning.  I was certain that God had helped me and I was free.  Resentment wasn’t hiding within this heart and than it happened.  Connor’s first tooth became loose.

As I anticipate the event and my scrapbook page, I take note of the weekend approaching.  The boys will be spending it with my former husband.  Something rises up with in me and I realize I must get that tooth.  He can’t have it.  It’s mine.

With the tooth still intact and the weekend soon upon us, I find myself wiggling multiply times a day and fighting the urge to give it a good tug.  I want the tooth.  He can’t have it.  He doesn’t deserve it!

There is was.  The hidden ember.  I was certain that I had resolved all matters with my former husband but this tooth upset would suggest otherwise.  How could it be that I had stuffed my unforgiveness?  How is it that my heart believes that the father doesn’t deserve the first tooth of his youngest son? 

As I sit in the realization that I had stuffed my hurt and that I am not yet okay, I felt the hand of God challenge me to leave the tooth alone and allow my former husband this gift.  I also felt challenged to expose more of this small ember, that really wasn’t so small after all and allow God to continue healing my heart.

When the boys came home from their weekend visit, I must confess that I was relieved that the tooth was still in place.  But I left it as is and fought the urge to try and snatch it.  I still wanted it but I wanted the     remaining ember to burn out more.  Not leaving a trace of bitterness or  any ugly resentment.  

 Although the tooth was still intact after the weekend visit, it was not in place after an evening out with Dad, later that week.  My former husband did, in the end, receive the gift of his youngest son’s first tooth.  I don’t know what was harder.  Letting it go or seeing my truth.  My former husband did deserve the tooth and my God needed me to know that.  And my God needed me to know that He isn’t finished with me, my heart or my mess. 

If there is one thing that I have learned about my God throughout this divorce, it is that when I am wrecked and don’t know it,  He is happy to point it out.  It amazes me that He used a baby tooth to show me what was still lingering on the inside. That He loves me enough to insist that I purge the poison, that will eventually cause me greater pain if left alone.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Horse Refined

Riding horses has always been a passion for Ann, but she never imagined that she would be entering an arena to examine her heart, with one of them.   What does a horse know about such things? 

A hay bag, four rails down the centre of the arena and two pylons, were setup.  Ann was required to label each item with a personal struggle or heart’s desire.  The hay bag was labelled “trusting self”.   Ann desired to have more faith in herself, despite her failures.   The rails symbolized “fear” which Ann was determined to eliminate from her life.  The pylons represented the “confidence” that Ann was lacking.  The activity required Ann to guide the horse to each item and reflect. 

Feeling a little foolish, Ann stood at the hay bag and considered her struggle with “trusting self”.   Smiling, hid the truth that she felt awkward and doubted the activity.  It was time to move on.

“Fear” was the defining emotion in Ann’s life.  Fear of the future and past.  Fear of failing and even succeeding.  Fear of relationships, having them and losing them.  And fear that one day she may not be able to protect herself and her kids.  Standing in the arena, even provoked a fear of being hurt.  Today it would end.  Fear was no longer going to paralyze her.

Holding the lead rope, Ann approached “fear”.  She stepped over the first rail and her partner stopped.  Ann asked again and gave a tug on the lead rope; nothing.  Thoughts of dragging the horse came to mind or choosing a more assertive approach.  Nope, she could not do that.  The rules were clear in that there was no bribing, dragging or intimidating her partner.  This  simple guideline could be used in any relationship.  But Ann was there hoping to extinguish “fear“, not refine relationships.  At that moment, her horse turned its head and looked back at “trusting self”.  Ann’s facilitator suggested that the horse wanted to return.  Ann was annoyed with her partner, but granted the request.

Standing back at the hay bag, with her partner, Ann was unclear of what to do next.  And then it happened.  A loud unstoppable noise was coming from, from where?  The roof!  The snow was sliding off!  Ann’s partner panicked but she desperately hung on to the lead.  It was her responsibility to keep herself and her partner safe and defuse the situation.  Someone had to take charge and work through the fear that was consuming them both. 

Recognizing the truth that they were safe, Ann relaxed.  Her trusting partner seemed to settle as well.  They stood together and as Ann’s body further soften, she cried.  Fear had threatened to overtake her, but Ann had triumphed!  Purging this paralyzing emotion from her world, would be next on the agenda.

With the activity incomplete, Ann was required to continue and lead her partner over “fear” and through “confidence”.  Ann floated through the pylons, with a new awareness of herself and connection to her companion. She turned again to approach “fear”, assured that the previous victory confirmed success.  But again her partner refused to follow.  Why?  Was it her approach? 

Ann examined the rails again and considered weaving in and out of them.  She asked and her partner followed!  Confused, Ann again reflected.  What had she missed?  “Trusting self”, “fear” and “confidence”; but wait the order had changed!  Ann needed to trust herself first and then her confidence increased.  What about “fear“?  Rather than stepping over the rails, Ann’s partner insisted she weave through them.  Could fear even be completely conquered in her life? Ann’s eyes widened and her heart swelled.  That was it!  Fear can’t be completely extinguished!  She will be required to weave her way through the emotion every time it shows up.  Ann’s perceptions had been refined!  Beautifully refined by the least expected; a horse.