31 August 2013

Whose will is it anyway?

1 Peter 4:19:  So if you are suffering according to God's will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you."

The SU is gone for the entire Labor Day weekend.  He's visiting his father and learning what his dad wants of him as executor of his will.  I'm here at home and, honestly, kind of enjoying the time alone.

Had an individual session with our therapist, K, yesterday.  Although he and I have made the decision that I don't need to see him regularly since I've made my choices about my marriage and am now working on living them, I can still see him when I feel I need to, and I've been feeling like I need a bit of a tune-up to make sure I'm still reacting and acting as I should.

The one thing I really hate is that he can always make me cry.  I give K crap about it and I'm sure that's partially a deflecting mechanism on my part since I don't like to cry in front of people (not that I haven't, you understand, I just don't like to).  He says I cry because I need to - because I need to grieve and I need the catharsis.  He says I need to grieve the things that are gone - the SU the way he was, what our marriage is not and may not ever be, my aloneness versus having a partner, and so on.  I've cried over parts of these things but I've never grieved them as deaths and he says that's what I need to do.

What started it was when we talked about (again) how, even though I am married, I am functionally alone in a lot of important ways because my spouse is selfish and self-centered in his own dysfunctionalism and alcoholism.  He asked if I would stay alone if the SU dies.  I told him that, yes, I would for quite a long time if not forever.  K had a couple of responses to that:

- it would be difficult/a new experience for me to be with someone new who treats me like a priority whereas right now I am not being treated as such.

- and the one that started the tears going was K's understanding of the whole dichotomy that exists between the husband I knew and the one I have now.  I said (and K agrees) that the SU has been a very important part of my life, a hero in many respects.  He taught me a lot about functional versus dysfunctional behavior early in our marriage when my only previous examples had been my parents (oh boy!).  He prayed and waited for me for ten years to get my act together and come back to God.  He has been instrumental in my job search, cheering me on, looking at job descriptions that I forward him and saying things like, "No, don't apply for this one.  It's beneath you and your abilities."  He has supported my slog towards my Master's degree (December 14!  Yay!).  All that is now mixed with someone whose main characteristics now include selfishness and emotional abandonment.  BUT there is still that other side of the SU and the loss of that would be devastating - even more so because the person in question is choosing his own destruction.

I told K how I hate watching alcohol carve itself into my husband and he likened it to watching the progression of a terminal illness.  Cue total and complete waterworks because, yeah, that's it in a nutshell.  I see more and more physical issues that tell me the SU's body is not able to deal with what he's handing it.  I see more and more life draining away each day and watching that is probably the worst experience of my life.

That led to something I don't ever really admit to out loud - that sometimes I think it would be easier if the SU just...did it fast instead of this slow, passive suicide.  I do not want him to die by any stretch of the imagination.  As I've written about, my absolute hope is for restoration and life for him but, sometimes, the thought that all this would be over is there.  K gets it.  He likened it to someone with cancer.  You know they are in pain and you want them to live, want them to get better, but at the same time, you want them (and yourself) to be free from pain as well.  I told him it feels like I am an unwilling witness to an execution.  I am made to watch.  It is not my choice.  And it hurts.  So much.  Nouwen said that anyone who enters into any degree of discipleship with Christ not only doesn't avoid the world's pain but penetrates into its center and I feel like I'm there.

I have now spent parts of last night and this morning being all teary and crying (thanks, K!).  This morning out on the patio, I spent some time with God and looked back over the past few days of my journaling.  There were two verses I wrote down - 1 John 5:14-15 and Mark 11:24.  When I went to look at the commentary, what it stressed was that there are two things that need to be a part of prayer: (a) ask in faith and (b) always add a particular qualifying statement which is "nevertheless, thy will be done".  This is because prayer is petition and asking for God's will is to submit both myself and my requests, wants, hopes, dreams, et cetera to God.  It doesn't mean I shouldn't bring all that to God but it does mean that I need to pray for them to be answered according to his will and not mine.

Brennan Manning, the author of The Ragamuffin Gospel (and also an alcoholic) points out that "compassion becomes a tad easier if you are conscientious in taking your own inventory rather than someone else's."

As I read back over the verses and commentary last night, I found myself wondering if, in all my prayers for the SU, I had remembered to turn them over to God and ask that his will be done versus what I wanted to see happen and...I'm not sure.  Did I submit or did I just give God a laundry list in the nicest, most respectful way?  I certainly believe God wants to see the SU restored and full of true life and that those are good things to pray for.  But if I just toss them out there and do not submit myself and what I want to God's will, I don't think I will be open to how God may go about that because I haven't given up how I want the story to end.  Just because I'm reasonably sure what I'm praying is what he would want also doesn't mean it's going to go according to my plan - and I might miss something he's doing if I stick to my plan and don't give it up to be part of his.  And what appears to be my part in it are the thoughts and actions God keeps leading me back to:  Be obedient.  Be faithful.  Love.  Love furiously.  Be Jesus.  Don't miss now.

AA's Big Book says, "This was our course.  We realized that the people who wronged us were perhaps spiritually sick.  Though we did not like their symptoms and the way these disturbed us, they, like ourselves, were sick too.  We asked God to help us show them the same tolerance, piety and patience that we would a cheerfully grant a sick friend.  When a person offended, we said to ourselves, 'This is a sick man.  How can I be helpful to him?  God, save me from being angry.  Thy will be done'."


  1. Boy this hits home today - because I am forever praying for what *I* think should happen. And how could I be wrong?

    Thy will be done indeed.

    P.S. the analogy to a terminally ill spouse is just so very painful! I totally understand the desire for it to just be over - if he is ultimately going to do himself in why does he have to torture you in the processs? Well, these words you're writing might be the reason - so powerful. You're the strongest person I know right now.

  2. Thanks. Some days I don't feel very strong...I feel weak and tired and afraid. Those are the days I find myself praying a lot for help. Tonight is a school night so I know I will be praying all the way home for what I might walk into when I open the door.

    And that whole "how could I be wrong?" thing...I just have to laugh because God kinda poked me and said, "Hey, you know..." while I was reading the things in my study that made me realize it.

    Nouwen talks about not adapting the God of our prayers to our own needs and concerns and that is so hard - especially right now because what I want is good, right? It would beneficial for the Spousal Unit. Some days "thy will be done" are the hardest words to add to my prayer.