"Someday when you're married you're going to love being a wife."
And there it was. In one short, well intentioned sentence I was yanked back to every break up I've ever experienced where a man had told me he wanted to marry me but because I am so wonderful (which I am) and they are so unworthy (which they were) they just couldn't in good conscience make that type of commitment. In one confused blink of his eyes, mine filled with tears and we looked at each other as only a man and woman can. Both completely baffled as to what the other is confused about. She feeling hurt to her core questioning how she could love such an unfeeling brute, he wondering what in the world he had said that had landed him on the on-ramp for one of those discussions.
Being the independent, hates being vulnerable, swore to the heavens that she would never put herself in this position again kind of girl that I am I had to fight back my initial impulse to get up and run. I did a little self therapy, told myself to brave and then...clammed up.
My sweetheart, being the sensitive male that he is will do anything in his power to make me happy. It kills him when I have a problem he can't fix, and as far as I can tell he means it when he says that he wants me to share everything with him. I have to admit, that is new for me. I'm much more accustomed to something like the following: "I love you with all my heart! I would do anything for you! Of course, this is contingent on the requirements that you don't come to me with any problems, never confront me about something that is bothering you, and whatever you do never suggest that I am not 100% perfect."
After some gentle snuggles and a head rub (I'll do anything for a head rub) I was finally cajoled to connect the dots for him. Of course, I had to first figure it out myself and why I had such a primal, immediate reaction. What I realized (and what I finally shared) was that I had heard something very different then what he had said. While he was making a statement about our future life together I heard:
"Someday (a long, long time from now) when you're married (fat chance sister, it's never going to happen) you're going to love being a wife (because finally someone will have chosen you back you sad, sad thing. But don't hold your breath. By the way, I'm telling you this so that you'll read between the lines and know that I'm not interested in marrying you even though I've told you that I am. I just like watching you fight back all that hope and even giggle when I see you trying to resist the urge to pick out paint colors for this living room you're never going to live in. I secretly wonder how long you'll let me string you along, but I'm going to milk it for as long as I can. Cue evil chuckle...hehehe...")
That's quite a journey those few words took from my ears to whatever part of the brain stores memory and emotion. But that's the path I took and it happened so fast I didn't even realize it until the tears were falling down my face. That's the traumatized part of me I suppose - flashbacks and triggers to my most painful experiences. In an instant I was alone again and the freshness of those feelings was powerful.
I think of the times that I have let myself believe and opened up that protected part of my heart that I have (unfortunately) learned to guard with Xena Warrior Princess fierceness. By allowing myself to be vulnerable I have experienced those moments most of us would do anything to avoid but which I've started to wonder just might be important to our eternal development. Most of us have never been asked to cross frozen plains without food or shelter or deal with tyrannical leaders, or watch our families starve to death. We have been asked to deal with loneliness, hopelessness and depression and just like those faithful pioneers have been encouraged to be cheerful and keep going believing that our promised land is real and will soon be in front of us.
I just have to ask - why is that so hard to do even when all the signs around you say This Is The Place?