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When I Was A Falling Down Drunk: A Love Story

tomhanson_bwIt’s only been a few days but I feel it.  In the hidden, hard place where I keep my little girl heart that learned to be scared too early.  That place in my heart has shifted.

It might be that I am writing out the story of how I once was a falling down drunk.  I’ve been looking for ways that I was loved through it, and I’ve been realizing

over and over how I was so loved. My husband

lived out this incredible, sacrificial, life-giving, endless, kind, patient, generous, soul upon soul holding of my precious life when I wasn’t into or able to be caring for myself

at all.  Didn’t believe I was precious or lovable at all. I guess you can say I couldn’t possibly, since I was more and more consumed

by booze.

And here’s shit’s honest truth: I will never, ever–not ever–be able to repay him.  Every ounce of love that I can give, a life time of kindnesses, every selfless act of thoughtfulness—all of it,

none of it will ever make up for his saving my life by helping me through the drunken years.  Trust me I have walked back over every ugly moment that I can remember. And when I couldn’t remember I interviewed him. Phew that was hard on us both.

And that is what he did.  His love saved me and it was totally undeserved.

Kind of like what God does in sending Jesus and that’s so amazing I’ve just had to sit

here in my writing chair.

Hours on end, sitting.

Feeling my thankful feelings for sobriety. And for Tom. For my children surviving (though we can all see a toll in their minds and hearts, but that’s another story.)  I’m just

unabashedly

thankful.

So whether it actually was the practice of stopping and writing down what I’m thankful for, I’ll never know.  Sometimes God works by making two things collide bringing a providence of actions and

then it is on us how we respond.

How to love a drunk is a love story.  Yes, a valentine.

xoxo,

Melody

An excerpt from the article I have been writing:

It is breathtaking for me to think how much Tom loves me and showed it both with his long-suffering gentle care.  And, in the act of telling me he couldn’t take it any longer he faced his greatest fears.  He was potentially losing me either way. That letter confronting my addiction was selfless love.

After drinking an entire bottle of white wine the night before, I was scared to death. And God’s spirit had been graciously preparing my heart, perhaps for years. Tom’s letter and my readiness collided and became the catalyst.

I was ready. That was our miracle. That’s what it looks like to love a drunk.

Honestly there are no sweet guarantees.  But Tom never gave up on me.  When we married twenty years ago, pledging in sickness and in health neither of us knew what a high price IN SICKNESS contained.

On Motherhood: Searching for Meaningful Metanarrative

I keep crying out that I want a bigger purpose for my life.  

The universe cries back, your purpose is right in front of you.

I cry back– it’s not enough.  It’s not enough.  This is not enough!

I cannot pretend. I’ve been up and down, sometimes miserable lately. And I’m ashamed of myself. Why is it that I just cannot figure out how to be happy? I had an interaction with E yesterday that spun me into these gloomy thoughts.   We were talking about cheerful people – you know the kind.  The people whose voices go up when they talk to you and they always smile and they are mostly cheerful and helpful!!  They seem to have an inner glow.

It’s just not me, I am mellow, solidly so, but she really likes those sorts of people! (Even though, or perhaps because, she isn’t one.)

I don’t like them, necessarily.  I doubt people’s sincerity, strangers, when they behave like that. I find them hard to trust.  People that I know in my real life, who are like that, I take with a grain of salt. But it is hard for me to accept that they are always UP even as I try to believe people like that are sincere, not putting me on.  But I have to admit they can grate on me.

But I realized yesterday that I long to be that sort of Mother. Oh, I encourage, I hug, I kiss, I affirm like crazy – but I don’t slather on love or exude joy.  I’m not all over my kids, thrilled that they simply exist and I’m just lucky to be their mom!  (Though I am, very fortunate to have them.)  And I don’t serve pink Valentine’s Day meals or even give valentines to my kids.

But my daughter wouldn’t let me even try yesterday – pushing me away when I smothered her with kisses and smiles.  “It’s just not real, Mom.”  Saying that I was making fun of her, which I definitely wasn’t.   That got me really in the dumps yesterday.

I woke today with gloomy, anxious thoughts.  My body physically hurts from my heart racing so much.  I even thought I was getting sick, so I laid down yesterday.  Just as I dropped off to sleep – probably ten times – a jolt of adrenaline woke me.  I know this, it is anxiety.  (And I start to wonder if I should return to my shrink.  Damn it, I haven’t seen him in a good long while and somehow returning solidifies my failure.  Failure to stay calm and maintain my mood. )

Even as God did a beautiful thing just last week or was it the week before?  And he brought me out of the depression that clung to me from November to January.  It seems that I cannot maintain any peace in my heart. 

Reading through the Bible with my church.  We’re in the book of Numbers.  And I am struck by the Israelites inability to trust God.  Even as they had miracles – Clouds leading them, and manna provided for them and plagues cursing them … and I think to myself, if God spoke to me like that, I’d have more faith that he’s got a plan for my life.  (Um, maybe.)

Perhaps it really is simply that I don’t trust God with my days – with my future.

I think, I just need to be struck with some horrible punishment like Miriam when she challenged things (Nu 12) and then I’d believe.  Then I’d stop complaining. Or would I?

And every time the people do something stupid, Moses and Aaron’s response was to fall face down on the ground.  Hm…..

Is that what I’m doing?  Am I just complaining when I say I just want to be happy.  I find the days I am living — the sweeping up endless dirt, cooking and washing up, washing and folding, the damn whiny dog, the endless homework, and children who really don’t want to achieve, trying to be helpful and failing,

endless, same, same, same…

Being at home is about giving up my rights, serving. But perhaps I am not principled enough to get meaning out of any of it.  Not much anyway.  

Phooey, I can’t stand myself right now.

A friend keeps telling me to read the Bible for the metanarrative.  I think to myself.  I cannot even live life in the big narrative. 

I’m sweeping up dust bunnies and resenting every minute. 

I’ll regret this grumpy post.  I always do. Definitely not living in the light!   But I need to be truthful, even if it’s not cheerful!  Some days that is all I’m holding on to — being a person that is straight and honest.   Some days.

A Poem: I Never Knew Love

 

I never knew
that love would be so good.

Our beautiful chaotic life
of music, creativity and ideas. Of
trust, values, and goodness.
Of dreams.

I’ve learned
what it means to give up yourself, yes die
to self. That’s love
to me.

Often the world says
otherwise. But they don’t have
this beautiful chaotic life
we share.

I thought we had to fight,

and disagree
more than not. I imagined
we would be in constant friction.
Because the house that raised me
burned to the ground.

But I learned
the way to live is to give. Then
you get it all back without even realizing you are loved.

My dear, you are, everything.
And from you I have learned
to live.