I am sometimes amazed at the things God uses to teach me something. It began early this morning as I sat in the waiting room of the hospital. I came prepared to spend at least four hours while my husband underwent an outpatient procedure. My laptop proved useless since there was no wireless internet and a very noisy, small, and crowded waiting room. Thank goodness for my IPhone.
I checked my email to find a message from my friend Jan. Just yesterday, we spent time talking, sharing, and laughing. We talked about times when God may have something for us to learn before we can move on. She sent a link to a blog called Stupid Wait Time. The author talks about feeling led to do something only to have every door shut. I have felt that way for a very long time.
Something has changed in the past few months. Doors are starting to open, people are coming into my life, and something is changing in me. I am seeing and hearing the same message everywhere I turn. Near the end of the blog she says, “ We had to mellow out and dial it down and yield to what He (God) wanted to do within us before we would be ready to really give life to the message he trusted to us.” Could this be what has happened in my life?
I looked at my facebook posts and saw a post that caught my eye. The post was from a page called Touching Lives by Dr. Merritt. No legacy lasts longer than the legacy of being a godly wife and godly mother. I am sure Dr. Merritt had good intentions with his post; however, I got that rather prickly feeling when I read it. My comment to the post was, “REALLY? What about being a Godly woman/Human being? I feel a blog coming on!”
Had I read this a year ago, I would not have commented. I would have been afraid of the reaction. I would have been afraid of making someone unhappy. I would have been ashamed of my ideas and opinions; but not today. A couple of months ago I made the decision to stop hiding. I turned my blog into a public blog and after a few weeks started sharing it on social media. I believe God wants me to share my life with other people. I have believed it for a long time.
Last week in my blog, I shared a small piece of my story about my battle with food addiction and of my abuse. It is the first time I have ever shared any story of my abuse in writing. I have shared those stories with my therapist and a few chosen friends. How can I ever to do what God has asked me do it I keep hiding? The response to that blog has been eye-opening and overwhelming. Women have posted openly in the comments or emailed me privately sharing their own pain, abuse, or healing stories.
I took my husband home and headed to my appointment with Rachel for my massage. Rachel is one of the people who has come into my life this year. She is a gifted massage therapist with “magic hands.” I know some people prefer to listen to the quiet music with no conversation during the massage. If you have Rachel for massage you will miss something special if you do that. She has given me permission to share some of our conversation today. It was indeed another God moment.
“Rachel, I started taking Karate and really need to be able to bend this knee.”
“Girl-no way. I have been thinking about taking Karate. That is so crazy you would say that.” We talked for a few minutes about the studio, classes, and teachers.
“Cathy, you inspire me. When I start to tell myself I can’t do something, I think about all the things you’re doing. You are 60 and doing that.”
“I think it’s about time I stopped being afraid of doing things. Everywhere I turn, I am hearing the message about being and living an authentic life. That is why I have red hair with feather and funky blue fingernail polish. That is who I am. And my blog is really teaching me so much more about this . Rachel, you can’t believe some of the things women shared with me after that. That is why I want to write. I know I can touch people. When someone shares something in their life with someone else and they make that connection, it cuts away that feeling of isolation and loneliness.”
Rachel was quiet for a moment. “Next week will be eleven years since my baby was born.” (long pause) and next month will eleven years since she left us.” She shared the story and we were able to share our experiences with grief. We have both come to understand that sharing our grief with someone who understands helps to heal.
“Cathy, I know I can’t keep stuff inside. I decided I had to start telling people my husband was cheating. He has a problem. He likes to have sex with other women. I didn’t want to tell anyone about it. I felt ashamed. The other day someone asked about him and I just told them the truth. And I feel good about it. He has to solve this problem. I thought about going to therapy but since I started talking, I don’t feel I need to.”
Rachel was getting a bit intense. “Cathy, why do we do this? It doesn’t matter if we are black or white, old or young, where we are from—we are all women and we let something like shame keep us from reaching out to help each other.”
There it was—that word shame. I talked about shame recently in a blog. I told her about the blog and about Remy Diederich’s book Healing the Hurts of Your Past; a guide to overcoming the pain of shame.
We talked a while about not taking on the problem of someone else. This was his problem. It affected her but it wasn’t about her. She didn’t cause his problem, his behavior, or his choices. Sound familiar? It is just “poop on the windshield.”
I came home still thinking about the past two days and everything that has happened. Yesterday, I shared a part of my life with friends that I have kept absolutely hidden. I shared another hidden part of my life with complete strangers on a blog. I am learning to stop being ashamed.
When I got home, the TV was on and as I walked back to my bedroom, I stopped and turned around. The Ellen DeGeneres Show was on. Obviously, Larry had fallen asleep with the TV on. Ellen was interviewing Tom Shadyac, the visionary behind the new documentary, “Happy,” which investigates what, as humans, makes us happy. He also created the film “I AM.” I kept hearing the word authentic life. He said, “I thought I had it all, until I realized I had it all—wrong.”
Maybe I have had it all wrong. I wonder if all this time I have waiting on God to do something or make something happen, God has been waiting on me. Perhaps God has been waiting for me to be the authentic me. Maybe God has been waiting for me to have red hair with a feather and funky blue fingernail polish.