Stories of Hope

Since I shared about how bad things were, I thought it would be good to share about how good things are today. Know that things are not perfect: I’ve come to accept the fact that it’s good to enjoy the process — that although I have a definite end in mind, walking the path and enjoying the moment is a good thing, even amidst difficulties.

First off, it’s important to know that a fundamental part of the Dialectic is relationships, as I’ve said before. The most important relationship (after my relationship with the One, of course) is that with my lovely and glorious wife. She’s been my constant support and companion, quietly and constantly supporting and encouraging me.

I shared how not too many years ago, she was calling 911 for the deputies to come and take me away. Today, thanks be to God, that doesn’t happen, and it’s a very remote, if not nonexistent, possibility. Today we have disagreements, but we face them head on, do not resort to manipulative tactics or passive aggressive coping mechanisms, and clearly state what we need from each other.

From my perspective, I’ve seen my wife develop from a woman who was frequently afraid of me to a helpmate and companion who shares her heart with me and I with her. She’s grown in many ways, the foundational married relationship grows stronger, her emotional needs are being met by me, and it seems to me that she’s becoming much more of her own person.

On one occasion, I was giving a presentation for the National Alliance for Mental Illlness (NAMI) when someone asked me what my wife thought about my recovery. She happened to be in the back of the room at that presentation, so I said, “Ask her.” She willingly and energetically said, “He’s back to the man I married.” That’s high praise, I think, and I can say the same about her. During my dark days, it looked to me like she was frequently acting out of fear. I don’t see that in her today. She’s become much more self-confident, self-assure, and she’s regained her own poetic insight into life that attracted me way back in October of 1989 when we met.

My kids, too, are growing in a lot of ways. I rarely see fights among them. Certainly, they have their disputes, but they don’t fight and the level of rancor in the home is pretty minimal.

One particular story I’ll share was an interaction between me and my 18 year old son. We were both rather busy, at our computers in the same room in the house, and he asked me a question. Instead of asking him to wait until I was done, I gave him a half-hearted response. He asked for a clarification, I made some kind of observation of whatever, and we both began staccato sentences. About the same time we both turned to each other and almost in unison said, “This conversation is not working. It’s not worth it to get upset right now. Let’s talk when we’re both free.” Not the exact words, but I hope you get the point. Just a couple years before, had the same thing occurred, we’d have been yelling at each other. That’s progress.

Another time when we were all at table and a friend of mine was over for dinner, my youngest daughter spilled water on the table and it splashed on her older brother sitting next to her. A few years back, had that happened, the table would have erupted in shame and blame and a considerable amount of yelling.

In this instance, however, when the water spilled, two or three kids got up from the table and got some towels. The young man who got soaked stood up in surprise without any yelling, name-calling, or acrimony, and began to organize things on the table to localize the spill. In a matter of a few minutes the mess was cleaned up, the room was restored, and dinner continued.

After order had resumed, my friend said, “Wow.” I asked, “What does that mean?” And he said, “Let’s just say that the response from my kids had their youngest sister done that would not have been so charitable.”

I could recount a lot of interesting and healthy interactions that I have with my family and others on a daily basis, however I think the accounts given above indicate that there is a possibility for healing and for the restoration of the relationships that are in the home.

As always, thanks for reading today. My next post will be on my other blog in a couple days about Spiritual Warfare, then back here for part two of Negativity. Peace and blessings in your life and in your Work!

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