Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Story: Headed Towards Rock Bottom: Sorting Fact from Fiction

I truly believe I forced something that God did not intend when I married my ex-husband. I mean, how many signs did he need to give me? And when I chose to not work it out in the end my ex-husband offered counseling, he offered to have a baby, and he even said he would add Showtime to our cable package, but it was too late. I remember actually singing to him it’s too late to apologize, it’s too late. It was so true, I was so done and so pissed off. If I don’t stop myself I can still stew in ager today - How dare he do this to me? 

Recently, in a bible study I heard that God either allows things to happen or He arranges things to happen. There is no third option. 

I believe, in my case,  God said, “Oaky, my dear child, if you chose not to listen to my warnings even through you wise counsel then I’ll let you see where this will take you.” I thought my second marriage had completely broken me, but man, I as wrong. It would be another three years before I would cry “uncle” and say, “no more will I try to make my own path.” 

If you’ve been following along with my story since the beginning, you know that clearly I’ve had problems when making choices - especially in men.  Well, grab a cup of coffee and let me tell you how a somewhat innocent letter to an old friend led me to a night in jail. 

I should have sought out counseling at this stage (after my 2nd divorce) of the game. I should have gotten my head straight and healed from the last six years of my life. I should have focused my attention on Shelby’s healing. It’s those “should of’s, would of’s, could of’s” in life that keep us up at night, that lead us to despair. It’s those things that lead me to feelings of shame and regret. 

Instead of seeking out professional healing or even going to God to heal my wounds, I ran to the thoughts and words of another person to boost my ego and bandage the places that were causing the most hurt - not feeling loved. Remember, at this point with ending of my marriage I not only lost my ex-husband and his family, but also four of my closet friends, their spouses and their family. I felt very alone, very shutout, very shunned. 

During the last month of my marriage I started written correspondence (we are talking snail mail, not email) with a guy I knew from my days in South Texas. That really should have been my first sign to run, just about nothing good came out of my time in South Texas. The second sign was that I was mailing these letters to a prison. 

I feel like a need to say that writing this is making is me almost physically ill - I don’t like it at all, but I need to keep going. So, I apologize if any of this feel matter of fact - I just really need to get the details out. 

I really don’t know what to name this guy. I have many choice words to describe him, but don’t think that those would help lead me to any type of forgiveness. I believe I called him “this guy” in previous posts, so that is what we will go with. 

It’s amazing to me that this was just about a year of my life - it feels more like 5 or even 10 years. 

So, in January of 2008 I started writing this guy. I believe in the first, maybe second letter I explained the complete yuck that was my marriage and that I was about to end it with my ex-husband. This guy quickly swooped in with everything I needed to hear - I was beautiful, I was smart and most of all he loved me - he always had. Oh, Dana how could you have been so stupid? This guy didn’t know me, I had not seen or spoken to him in twelve years. And if you’ve been following my story a ton had happened in my life in those twelve years. 

Want to know what had happened in his life? Prison. When we first started writing he was on the end of his fourth (maybe fifth) stint in prison. We are talking Texas Department of Criminal Justice, so that number does  not include the time he spent in county jails. 

This is where I should discuss my absolute need to fix broken people. Except for my ex-husband (and Matt, of course) all most all my relationship were with people who needed serious help. There is a song that comes up on my Pandora by Dia Frampton called The Broken Ones, it reminds me so much of myself during this time. 

…I can’t help it I love the broken ones, the ones who need the most patching up, the one who’ve never been loved, never been loved. Maybe I see a part of me in them the missing pieces always trying it fit in…

Oh man, if that song was out in my teens, twenties or even my early thirties it would have been my theme song. And yes, at one point I was obsessed with saving all the animals at the pound, too. That’s who I am and it frightens me that Shelby is the same way. One of the top things I want to teach my girls is you cannot fix anyone. Now, you can lead them to Jesus, but that is it. It is His job to fix the broken, not yours. 

Yes, it’s very true that I still love broken people, but I have learned (through this story) that I am not qualified to fix broken people - I am not God. It took a long, painful time for me to realize that along with the truth that we are all broken. 

I wrote letters and drove an hour and a half every other weekend (those that I did not have Shelby) to visit him in a minimum security prison. Meaning there were no glass walls - we met in a space that resembled a cafeteria. He had an hour and a half of allotted visitation time. 

My family did not approve of this at all, and tried very hard to end this relationship, but I did not listen. I wrote hundreds of letters over a six month period, then he was released. 

I am a writer, I always have been. I communicate better written because I am able to have time to examine my thoughts. There are hundreds of thousands of professional writers in the world - some non-fiction writers and some who write just fictional stories. I do not believe my brain is wired for fictional writing (telling stories that aren’t true). I am creative, but not in that way. 

I am telling you this because it is true for any written word, even letters. I strive to be very honest - I believe people who know me can testify that I am the same person here, as I am in public (maybe less talkative since I am an introvert). Even though, we hope people are honest, we need to realize they may not always be especially when writing - it is one of the easiest means of lying. 

Why am I telling you this? It is because I made decisions, plans for my future, based on six months worth of letter writing. And I want to warn you to not make the same mistake. Even though in your heart you really want to believe people, they could quiet possibly be telling you what you want to hear. You never truly know until you match their writing with their actions - are they fiction or non-fiction?

Was this guy all he was cracked up to be or was he telling me what I wanted to hear? 

To be continued. I know you dislike that, but I have to - this is way too much to tell you in one setting. 

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