Our Story

I’ve been asked many times over the last few weeks here, in email, or on IG what “my story” is. What my struggles are. Looking back to the start of this blog, its kind of a jumbled mess. But, that’s where I was at that time so its really not surprising. Today, I had some free time and decided to organize “our story” a bit better for everyone (me included). I’ve updated the My Story section of my blog with it also, for future reference, but wanted to share here for those that have been here with me. Thank you all for that.

I spent over 10 years living a happy life with my best friend, nearly 9 as his wife. We had a lot of crap go down in that decade: job losses, money struggles, 5 moves, school issues with our kids, and the normal day-to-day stresses. But never an issue with us. Ever. We were that annoying couple that seems to hit it off from their first date. The kind of couple that single me hated, until I was part of one – then I appreciated every second of it.

I had no idea he had a secret addiction. No idea that it had taken a turn for the worse and no idea that another woman had managed to destroy what it took us a decade to achieve in only a few months. To say I was blindsided by his confession and the fallout that came from it would be a huge understatement.

“D-Day” for me came in April of 2018. I’d sensed some things were off for months but thought it was just stress from my husband’s job taking its toll on him. Until I came into the living room on that Sunday evening and saw him lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling, hugging one of the throw pillows from the couch. I always hated those pillows, they just came with the couch and I never bothered to replace them. I really hate the look of them now.

He took a deep breath, covered his eyes with the heel of his hands and uttered out “We’re in money trouble. I lent out a large sum of money to a friend and it was supposed to be paid back but its not going to be.” My heart sank hearing this. My husband is one of the most frugal and money smart people I know. I’m the reckless one. I also couldn’t fathom how much he would agreed to lend or think which friend would have put us in this boat.

His answers shattered me – the amount was somewhere around $50K and it wasn’t a “friend” I knew. It was a porn site webcam model he’d been having a Snapchat/Skype affair with for a few months. I didn’t know what to do or say. I walked to the bathroom and threw up everything that was in me. I stared at myself in the mirror, trying to rinse the vile taste out of mouth, and noticed the paleness setting into my skin. With shaking hands I texted my boss that I had an emergency and wouldn’t be reachable until Tuesday. I knew I couldn’t go to work.

The details of our story are not completely important to the story. Besides, there are so many of them, some big, some small, that it would be nearly impossible for me to put them into any sort of easy to follow order. But over the course of the next few hours, bits started to trickle out. The lies she told to get the money, the video/chat “perks” he was getting, the secret credit cards he had taken out to try and keep us afloat. I was at a loss and felt shook to my core. How could the man I love, trusted, and knew so well be telling me he did all these things? Looking at him, I just saw my husband. My best friend and love of my life. What he was telling me didn’t match up with what I knew and saw.

Before bed that night, I squeezed him tight and told him, I’m forgiving you. We’ll fix this. We’ll figure it out. Out of that whole night it might have been the best part. The part with the least confusion or regret linked to it. Even though I was totally terrified and confused on how we got there or how we’d get out of there.

I laid next to him that night, awake most of the night, unable to sleep. The next morning, he went to work and I went to work at our dining room table. I had accounts to deactivate, passwords to change, numbers to pull, budgets to work on, prayers to pray, and people to call. That’s who I am. The kind of person you really want on your side in crisis. I’ll gather info, pour over it, work out as many solutions as I can, bring in experts, and not let up.

By the time he came home, I was down to two options. He could file for bankruptcy alone (thankfully the loans/credit cards were all in his name so we could keep the house and car since my name was on them). We’d be stuck on a tight budget and need to watch our spending for a few years but could get through this, fix us, and hopefully be better than ever.

The second option, the one I didn’t want, was that we divorce. Sell the house, split the proceeds. I have a good career, good credit, and I’d have a down payment. I could get something good for the kids and I. He could live with his parents, we would take time to figure ourselves out – and maybe down the road try again. I didn’t want that for so many reasons. I didn’t want to hurt the kids, I didn’t want the public shame, I didn’t want the hurt of not having him by my side.

We talked with our pastor, a social worker at our church, our lawyer, and a bankruptcy lawyer before deciding that option one was what we wanted. We’d been through much before together, we’re committed, and both want the outcome to be better than we were before. Since the initial “D-Day” confessions, we have realized with the help of our therapists that he has a pornography addiction, my depressions was raging in full force, and we were struggling more than either of us realized.

This is our story of hope, recovering, and healing to (hopefully) help others dealing with their story too.

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Christmas Ghosts

I tried to get away from my thoughts for a bit. They were overwhelming me and ruining my Christmas spirit. I wanted to escape and wrap myself in something good for the holiday. I decided to revisit the Christmas classic “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Halfway through the book, it dawned on me: I am jealous of Scrooge. I want these spirits to visit me and guide me through my life with their hint of wisdom. My effort to “forget” my troubles for now failed and I couldn’t help but imagine what I could learn if I looked at my life through the eyes of Scrooge’s visitors.

The Ghost of Christmas past wouldn’t need to do much work to get to the most pivotal holiday in my story. Not going back far at all, but only to last year, when the world was falling apart around me but I didn’t even know. I wonder what I’d see if I could look at it now, with the clear vision I have now. I know there were signs that I ignored. I remember them. I noticed the cracks but never imagined they were symptoms of such a cancer in my marriage. Every day I didn’t demand answers or look closer at accounts, even though I felt something was “off”, I regret deeply.

I would look at that woman and feel pity for her. I would pity her for not loving herself enough to feel confident enough to ask questions about the feelings she was ignoring. I would pity her in her innocent ignorance; decorating the tree, worrying about gifts, and thinking she had finally found the secret to happiness. I would want to scream at her and shake her. To warn her of the danger that was coming. To tell her she needed to speak up and fight now, or the fight would be so much harder down the road.

I know I couldn’t do any of those things though, I’ve read the story to know that’s not how it works. I don’t honestly know if she would listen anyway. I can be stubborn that way. Instead, I am trying hard to be thankful she had that time and those feelings. I want to remember her smiles, happiness, and love. To cling to them and wrap myself in them as a reminder of where we came from. The joy we’re capable of.

From where I am now, I think The Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come is the wild card of the three. Its scary to think about it to me. I can see so many possible scenarios – both good and bad. I think that makes it the most terrifying. Knowing how easily it could from one extreme to the other. I could probably fill this blog with 1000 possible outcomes quite easily – but here’s what I think the top few most likely outcomes look like:

Possibility number one: everything falls apart. I’m not sure when. But at some point it does. My Christmas is quiet, tidy, in a small condo. It’s mostly me and the cat, waiting for the afternoon the kids (and their families?) will come by for us to do Christmas. But, they will both have so many to attend to that my time will be limited and the season mostly quiet. Not full of joy or love like I knew in the past. I would be comfortable with myself and proud that demanded to be treated with respect in life. Able to do and say what I please. I would know where I stand at all times and not have to deal with the pain of betrayal, loss, or feelings of inadequacy. I would love to avoid those feelings so badly. But, I also know I’d be replacing them with feelings of loneliness, sadness, and regret. It doesn’t seem fulfilling.

Possibility number two: Everything is the same. Same house, same tree, same ornaments. Same traditions. Cookie making with the family (maybe even grandkids as we all age). Trips to Christmas plays at the high school, just like we’ve always done. The house full of lights, loud voices, laughter, and good smelling food. I have my people, my things, and my place – although I’m not as whole I used to be. I swept it all under the rug. From the outside I look happy, like everything is fine. No one knows the shame and emptiness I feel sitting on the couch with my husband. I regret not speaking up. I regret not demanding more for myself. I regret not loving myself more and demanding that people around me do the same. But, my life is still easy and together. My children happy. It could be worse.

Possibility number three: I struggle for a few years. Working through the memories and reminders that trigger painful feelings. Adding some new traditions – an untainted part of Christmas. I can see me sitting on the couch with my husband, enjoying the scene of flying paper and kids in front of us. The lines on my face make it clear that I’ve had struggles in life that have changed me. But the twinkle in my eye and smile on my face are clear signs that where I am in life is good. Its happy, fun, loving, and warm. Was it easy? No. Was it instant? No. Was it worth it? Yes.

Which of those three futures I get, is totally dependent on the Ghost of Christmas Present. Where I am right now. Where you are too. Every decision we make in this current time, contributes to which future we get. I can ignore, never heal, and pretend – but remain unfulfilled. I can be furious, abrasive, and demanding – but end up alone. Or I can do the hard things, with love. I can look inside me and heal my past hurts to keep them from the future. I can cherish the good feelings from the past and hold onto them when I feel low. Knowing that I can get them back. Or new versions of them. And while I pity the woman I was last year, I can also protect her, fight for her, and keep her safe – but I will also make sure she is loved, valued, and forgiving.

That is both the blessing and curse of hurt and betrayal. We have an opportunity to address the things we didn’t like in our previous life. To express our needs and wants to our spouses with raw honesty. We can look at all the little things and make changes to have the marriage we always wanted (maybe even the one we thought we had). This definitely means awkward conversations, tears, soul searching, and difficult times lie ahead of us, but isn’t it worth it to try?

The curse of this is knowing all we did lose. The feelings of innocence, complete trust, and safety that are gone. I’m not convinced those parts every do come back as solid as they were before. Perhaps though, in a slightly different manner than before. We know all our spouses demons (I hope) and they know all of ours (I hope). The fear of the unknown and of not getting back what we wanted to badly can be overwhelming. Can we really blame anyone if they choose to take the lessons from their betrayal and move on? I certainly won’t.

I don’t know what you will pick. But I hope, like Scrooge and like me, you go with the ghosts. Walk through the past, the possible future, and align your present as best you can to find happiness. If it means to stay, stay. If it means to go, go in peace. Me? I’m choosing to do the work. I know what I had, I know where we came from, I know how good we are, I know what we are capable of, and I know that any life filled with that much love is worth doing hard things for.

The Anger Returns

There isn’t one single event that I can pinpoint that has brought the anger back into my life, I think its just a lot of little things paired with this time of the year. I hope that’s it, just so I know it will likely pass sooner rather than later. I know it will pass eventually – all bad things do (and good too…) but I’m running low on energy to keep hanging on right now.

We have two children with multiple emotional issues. I think I’ve mentioned this before. Our days are dictated by O.D.D., A.D.D., and anxiety disorders. Any moment can go from good to a meltdown of epic proportions in the blink of an eye. And, if it happens in public, the judgmental stares or those around us are almost more than I can take.

The 24 hours have consisted of one huge meltdown from each kid. Last night, we spent half an hour dealing with a flailing, screaming, crying, punching, kicking kid. I can’t even tell you fully what set her off, other than the fact that we were going to Store A for something when she felt we should be going to Store B. Nothing like being assaulted by a child you love with all your soul and cannot seem to help.

This morning? The other one started in. He wasn’t going to school today, according to him. He was not ill and had no valid reason. He sat there on the floor screaming and crying. He was nearly an hour late for school, I was 30 minutes late to work. Because there’s no better way to start the week that a verbal abuse and looking like a complete parenting failure to both the school and my employer.

My job is a joke. I hate it. I used to like it. But I’m tired of working around the clock. I’m tired of watching less qualified people move ahead. I’m tired of completely unqualified people being hired and quickly becoming my chore to “help them improve”. I am not sure where the idea of letting someone go when they can’t do the job went…but we apparently don’t do that here.

At home, the house is too big and too full of things we don’t need or use. And why am I working so hard for a house and things, if I’m so miserable all day and don’t have time to enjoy them? It’s literally NOT making sense. Why do we work ourselves to death to create a “great life” that we’re too busy, tired, and frustrated to even enjoy? This is literally the stupidest thing ever.

And like a freight train of awfulness, “she” is back in my mind fiercely. The comparison of last year to this just can’t leave me. The opportunities and choices that I cannot take advantage of because “she” is a home-wrecking whore and he gave into his weaknesses of her temptation. Just when I think I’m too an acceptable place with this (I struggle to say “good”) it creeps back in. This voice that reminds over and over: I wasn’t enough. He had to go looking. I wasn’t enough to stop him from saying yes to her wants – even when I meant I got less. I wasn’t enough for him to protect from her outrageous requests. Telling me no for things that were a few hundred dollars was easy for years. Years and years. Ruining our future for her after just TWO MONTHS “together” – not a problem. And now I’m left here.

I don’t want to go home. I don’t want to look at the house I am trapped in because we cannot do anything with it because he gave our life to her. I don’t want to go home to deal with children that I am not mother enough to help. I don’t want to sit at this job and keep working in a place where I am never enough and never advanced. I don’t want to continue working myself for to death for all these things I am do not want, cannot enjoy, and am not enough for.

I know there are ups and downs in this “process” or whatever the F you want to call it. I know, I need to keep my faith. And trust me when I say I am trying. I am trying with every last little bit of hope and strength I have left in my being. But I also spend many days crying. Like now. And its getting to be too much.

I want to ruin her life. I want to take out an ad in her local paper with screen shots of what she does. I want to send dvds of her videos to her parents, her friends, and her in laws. I want to show them that their loved one is a prostitute. Who knowingly ruined our lives and doesn’t even feel bad about it. Isn’t even trying to pay us back and of course lies that it was a gift, so there’s nothing we can do. Aside from letting the IRS know so they can check and make sure she reports that. Which I have done. But its not enough. I want her miserable. I want her going without. I want a $5000 Christmas this year while SHE gets $60. I just want some justice and I want things to go in my favor for once.

I’m mad.

NOT a good day.

Today is not a good day for me. Or for anyone else in the family from what I can see. I try to remain hopeful and see the good, because I really believe in the power of positive thinking, but some days its just too much.

And that’s ok too.

Our two children both are diagnosed with multiple emotional disorders. One child is medicated, one is younger and just starting the process of getting evaluated for meds. Somedays, I feel like a failure. One kid with these issues and meds? Well, that happens. But two? Clearly, something I am doing isn’t right. I’m ruining these kids.

This morning, they were both raging on – one about a duck toy and one about the punishment he received for not coming upstairs to leave when asked. I stood in the chaos, hating everything about it, and I wondered “why?”

I don’t want to be up arguing at this hour. I don’t want to go out in the cold. I don’t want to deal with the daycare people. I don’t want to sit in the middle school drop off line. I don’t want to go to work. I don’t want to have to talk to those people. I don’t want to be away from my books, cat, and couch. I don’t want to go to the store tonight. I don’t want to run children to events all day tomorrow. I don’t want to go to church Sunday. I don’t want to go out with family Sunday afternoon. I don’t want to deal with Youth Group Sunday night. I don’t want to clean the house. I don’t even really want this house. I don’t want to be the mom of children that cry all the time and are verbally abusive to her (and others). I also don’t want to be the one mother that somehow doesn’t tip toe into her kids rooms and marvel over their sleeping bodies and who doesn’t cherish moments since she knows they’ll grow fast. I mostly just day dream about how great life will be when the house is quiet and I’m retired and can stop doing all the things I HATE.

I have a marriage that isn’t what I thought it was. I’m still dealing with the wounds of my husband’s lies and secrets. How he went to someone else when he was stressed and looking for relief, even though I was sitting right there. The wounds are scabbed over, but not healed. Sometimes they get bumped and break back open. Sometimes I can’t stop poking them and the healing is interrupted again. I am doing my best, I know it will eventually heal, but looking at this giant sore is such a reminder. And hard not to pick at – why is it taking so long?

And now, I have a husband who is hurting and feeling awful. I’m not shocked. We’re busy, which is stressful, and this is the time of year when everything was going down last year. While dates and specifics might be foggy, the general season still carries that reminder. And again, I can’t seem to help. I am not enough to make him feel better, to talk to about these things, or to help turn it around. I wasn’t enough to be considered before he started this crap, I wasn’t enough to make it stop before we were ruined, I am not enough to fix it, and I am still not enough be included in it. And I’m not looking for pity. Not at all. But I’m started to see the writing on the wall enough. As badly as I want to be enough – I’m not. Which hurts, but its ok. No one owes you love or inclusion. No one owes you their inner thoughts or demons. And even if they DO give you those things and want you to be enough….I also know that sometimes that just isn’t how things go. No one’s fault. Just. How it is.

I need life simpler. I need fewer things in my house. In my life. Less things to do. Less things to clean. Less things to care for. I loo around and none of this is what I signed up for. Its nothing like I wanted life to look like. And while I can find good moments within it, on the whole this isn’t what I want.

I want a small, simple, easy existence. I want to wake up without dread each day. I want to be less and feel more. Have less and find more. I want time to breath, think, read, write, and love.

Sitting at this gray desk in my office with the gray walls hating the people that come in here with problems they should be able to handle is not what I am meant for. I sit here thinking that I don’t want to go home either. I don’t want to see the mess or the laundry or the clutter. I don’t want to hear the fighting. I don’t want to be kept in the dark.

I see people living likes they love. I wonder what their secret is? What do they know that I do not. How can I find time to discover it too?

Thankful Thursday

I skipped last Thursday. I figured, we were all celebrating a day FULL of thanks, so our hearts were good and I wanted to just be present with my people. It was good. My daughter and I curled up in the living room under blankets and watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Its been a few years since anyone has watched with me – her brother has outgrown in and she was a bit young – but this year I had a partner again!

I’ve been focused on season and changes lately as I sort through my life. Change isn’t always an easy and welcome thing for me, but I know that change is inevitable so I’ve been making an conscious effort to find some good in it. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

– I am thankful that this hurt has forced me to slow down and clear my life. I am not constantly rushing, ignoring my needs, or forgetting my passions in life. In fact, I’m finding new things that make me really happy. So while the road that led me here has been awful, I am thankful that life has slowed down and I’m getting to know myself.

– I am thankful that my eyes are being opened to the fact that we do not live in a black and white world. There’s a whole lot of grey out there. Multiple shades even! I have not always been good at that. I have been really cut and dry, judgmental, and unwilling to look closer at views that differed from mine. I was carrying a lot of anger, grudges, and disgust within me. I don’t think that helped my spirit and probably even contributed to some of my physical ailments too.

– I am thankful for the hard conversations we have had to have and will likely have in the future too. In the moment, I do not enjoy them and they hurt. Bad. Deep down to my core. But, by falling so soul-crushingly apart we have now gotten closer than ever. Like, we’re making the marriage we wanted (what we actually thought we had) and its stronger than ever. I will never say that I’m thankful for all that has happened, but I am thankful that the work we are doing is creating something better than before.

I hope you can look around you too. Every day, make it a habit to find at least one little thing that is good. My friend Amber has been sharing her “pennies from Heaven” she’s been finding lately – a small token to remind her God is here. My daughter likes to look for large groups of birds on the electrical lines in town – she’s convinced they’re there just for her and they always make her smile. I like to find areas of improvement, even if they’re little. Today, I saw an owl on my way to work (pics on my Instagram!) and I love owls. No matter what else happens today, that bit of happiness is mine and cannot be taken away.

Find what makes you smile, the smaller the better, and hang on tightly. Those are the things to be thankful for. I’d love to hear from you in the comments too – have a great day!

You Sin Too.

Sometimes I feel silly for keeping this monumental event in our lives “secret” from so many people. Its an isolating feeling and I don’t think that the loneliness does much for my recovery. I find myself withdrawn from groups and watching the people around me. Wondering, do they have secrets I don’t know about? How can’t they see I’m different now? Would we all be better if we sat down and were vulnerable with our deepest struggles?

Probably. But its not human nature to be vulnerable. I’m not sure that will change.

Sometimes, I regret sharing it with anyone at all. We shared our story with four family members. One of which previously cheated on another habitually for four years. We figured they’d get it, support us, love on us, and forgive – since he’d been forgiven for doing far more and far worse (not that this is a competition). I’m not getting into the specifics, but I don’t feel that happened. I feel like our vulnerability really just left us being judged and moderately eschewed.

Why is that? I know we’re not the only ones in this boat – I’ve talked to many others who feel the same. Feeling this shame and regret when we tried to come clean and get help. Why is that so hard?

I decided to look into adultery more in my Bible. There are plenty of verses discussing adultery and how we shouldn’t do that. There are plenty of verses discussing other sins we shouldn’t do either, but many of us do. I wanted to see what the Bible said about how we should approach adulterers.

I found what I was looking for in John 8 verses 1-11. If you’re not familiar, go check it out, but basically a group of accusers bring an adultering woman to Jesus to ask what should be done with her. They believe they should stone her for this sin, based on their laws.

Jesus listens to what the accusers are saying, but stays quiet. Instead, He bends over and writes in the dust. They keep after Him for answers on what to do and He stands up and tells them in verse 7 “…let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” He then returns to the dust and writes again.

I think this is such an important moment for us. For all sin, not just adultery. Jesus knew exactly who He was dealing with when He said these words. He knew that He was the only one who has never sinned. He knew the sins of the men accusing her, along with her sins. He did not condone her behavior, He fully supported a punishment, but He made it clear that only someone without sin should be handling out the punishment. The accusers slipped away one by one until only the woman and Jesus were left.

I wonder what he wrote in the dust. Was it a list of the accusers sins? Or more of hers? Was it a warning to mankind that none of us were without sin? An list of transgressions sentencing all the gathered people to be stoned at that moment? We don’t know, it doesn’t say anywhere what it was. Clearly, whatever it was, when paired with His words, was enough to send the men running.

We don’t serve a God that wants us to attack, judge, and condemn each other. He doesn’t want us to devote our time to worrying about every transgression that every person makes. Its not up to use to demand to be the judges for every single sin someone makes. We serve a God who wants us to live for Him and to focus on bringing our lives to Him, while loving each other.

Obviously, murderers and some crimes require intervention for our safety and justice. But, should every single mistake we make be treated the same? Every time we are envious, gluttonous, or tell a lie – should we be tried as severely as a public stoning?

Jesus sent them on their way because He knew she did not need the public shame or stoning. She needed to come to Him, hear His words, receive forgiveness, and fix her life to life according to His word. He loved her and supported her, just as we should love and support those trying to redeem themselves today.

Jesus did not absolve her of all guilt or tell her it was no big deal. He was very clear with her in verses 10 and 11:

“…’Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No Lord,’ she said.
‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

Jesus doesn’t hide the fact that she sinned. He said “sin no more” not “if you really did it…” because He knows! He knows the truth of her sins and ours. As the only sin free person He was the only one who could have thrown a stone at her according to man’s law. But he didn’t.

He said he wouldn’t condemn her. He only wants her to STOP her sin. He holds no grudge. There are no caveats or strings attached to His love. He won’t hold it against her, He only wants her to stop. He only wants us all to stop. That is His order.

At the end of the day, sin is sin. It is not our place to say someone else’s sins are worse than ours. We have ALL sinned. But if we admit to Jesus, owning our actions and working to redeem ourselves, He forgives us. He knows we are not perfect, that’s not our job. He wants us to learn and grow closer to Him in love. And to give the same to those around us.

I have lied. I have stolen. I have been envious. I have been gluttonous. I have been lustful. I’ve used God’s name in vain. I have gone against God’s word. I have been forgiven by God and strive to live in a similar manner. It is not easy. It takes consistent, constant, conscious effort but it is also how I would hope others would treat me if my sins were put on display for the world to see.

Sin is inevitable. Coming forward is brave. Asking for forgiveness is a vulnerable act that should never be seen as anything less. It certainly shouldn’t be judged or scorned. Anyone walking away from sin and doing the work to redeem themselves with those around them should be embraced and loved for that.

And those who choose to continue the sin? To walk away from those willing to help them? They should prayed for. We don’t have to agree with what they’re doing, but its still not our place to try and destroy them. Its not up to us to judge them and shame them to the world while hiding our own sins. Our focus should be on living in God’s way and our own journey. He will handle everyone else.

Snowy Beaches

I went to the beach yesterday. Not for some fun and sun, its late November after all, but on a mission to spot a Snowy Owl that is rumored to be hanging out here. I’ve always had a “thing” for owls, but over the last year or so my interest and love for them has really increased. I really want to see one in the wild. 

I had no luck finding the owl, I’ll keep trying, but I did have a relaxing lunch hour at the quiet, still beach watching the waves crash onto the snowy shore. The snow fences are up now – an attempt by the State Park to limit the blowing and drifting of the snow. 

The playground equipment stood silent, no swings left on their chains and buried lightly in the few inches of snow that fell this weekend. No footprints were anywhere near it or down the beach. It was a perfectly pure,  untouched blank canvas. Only the birds in the sky and water’s edge, gulls and one Eagle diving into the water for food, were moving about. 

I sat quietly and just stared. Watching the clouds moving quickly in the sky thanks to the strong winds off the lake. The waves crashing on the pier and shore. Snow blowing and catching on the fences, all of which were doing their job for now, and thought about how many times I have been to this beach in my lifetime. 

I live in the same town I grew up in. I probably always will. I love it here. I can look at the beach and see where I used to build sandcastles, my family had pictures taken when I was a kid, where my senior pictures were taken, where I sunbathed with friends at a teenager, had many picnics over the years, and have played with my own kids many times. A lot of living has happened there for me and a lot more likely will. 

But right now, its cold. Its gray and white and bleak as far as the eye can see. There’s no warmth, no playing, no sunshine warming my skin. If I were to get out of the car and walk, the cold air would burn as it cut across my body. The howl of wind would be nearly deafening and it would definitely not be a place I’d want to say for long. 

It kind of reminded me of my whole life right now. 

I can look around its all the same place. The same house, car, buildings, people, and locations that have been around me for ages. In previous seasons of life, they were full of more happy times than bad. Birthday parties, Christmases, movie nights, dinnertime laughs, school projects, road trips, and vacation memories filled a lot of it. Sure there was laundry and cleaning all those “fun” things – but that season was still mostly good in those places. 

Kind of like the beach in my town. Sunshiny memories associated with all the landmarks on its sandy shores.

But now, I see my life different. I can still see where the good things happened, but it doesn’t feel the same right now. I see the places that were warm and happy, but right now they’re cold and harsh. Some days I can feel the harshness of the situation wrap around me like a strong November wind, making it hard to put one foot in front of the other. Some days, its easier to move along the new, untouched area and remember that eventually, the sun will come back.

What was one bright, warm, and full of laughter sometimes goes through a cold, freezing, quiet period. That doesn’t mean its bad or seriously wrong. It just means its time for a season of nothing. A season to remember what is good, focus on maintaining around you, and looking forward to the future you know will come. 

My beach will thaw in due time. Not soon enough for my liking – I’m not a fan of the cold – but when its the right time it will. It always does. The same can be said for the cold seasons in life. Things may not return to their warm state fast enough, and they’ll likely be a bit different than before, but the sun will come back. At the right time. Because it always does.