I’m ready. Finally.
Well, honestly, I’ve been ready for a while. At times wanting to shout some of this from the stage or the top of a skyscraper. But I haven’t. And I realize those of you reading this most likely weren’t waiting with bated breath to hear these things…but I was to say them. I need to say all of this.
The truth about endings is that they’re often incredibly gut wrenching and simultaneously glorious. I’ve experienced a lot of endings in the last several years. Some were by very deliberate choice, and some felt as if there was no alternative in sight for a thousand miles.
One of those things was my marriage.
Let me start this off by making something 100% crystal clear – there was no affair or infidelity. On either side of the equation.
I’ve been waiting to SCREAM that publically for years. While my heart and life were disintegrating, I was standing in my spot on stage at a church where I led worship, Sunday after Sunday, trying to keep my shit together all while hearing rumors and gossip about my own life that was, incidentaly, FAR more wild and interesting than reality. I heard things said about me that broke my heart, made me roll my eyes, and at times actually cracked me up. I wanted to yell from the microphone that the things people were saying were simply NOT the truth. I wanted to defend myself and confront the people spreading lies face to face. It hurt so badly to be misunderstood and misrepresented.
But I didn’t.
I didn’t corner anyone or talk about the pain unless I absolutely had to. Somehow I felt I owed it to everyone else around me to keep it in. I felt I had to try to deflect the chatter, keep my chin up, be strong, and protect them from how I actually felt.
Some of the lies told were told by people who seemingly couldn’t wait to see me fall on my face. For a couple of people in particular, it was as if they had been saving up their best venom for “such a time as this.” As rumors spread, I found myself working harder to stay ahead of the growing tsunami rather than turning to face it. Slowly people at this church who had once embraced me and seemed so happy to encounter me on a Sunday, started to lower their gazes when they passed me on their way to the donuts. People called the pastor to schedule meetings about MY life…how they had heard this or that…didn’t approve…weren’t sure if they could continue attending the church with me leading, ect.
But those people didn’t stop and ask me if I was ok, or how all of it was affecting the kids.
Funny what we can find time for, huh?
The lies and gossip had caused a shift in my relationships with people at the church, in my band, then eventually my businesses. It literally cost us some accounts with people who’d been listening too hard to the clamor as well as others who had been instructed not to use my businesses anymore by people in power.
We stopped being asked to play at different events and I wasn’t being asked to speak or play at women’s gatherings anymore. Eventually I found out just how far the reach of the lies had spread when my then 7 year old daughter was being questioned about my relationships at her elementary school - by adults. Wow.
Why is it that we rejoice when someone else has fallen down sometimes? What’s that about?
Please know, I’m not angry. Truly. I’m not mad at anyone for filling in the blanks…I get it. We’re ALL human and we do and say things sometimes because we don’t see or feel the direct effect of our words. Maybe we don’t think past the conversations we have (or don’t have) to see the ripple effect spreading. This has all been a good reminder to me that those ripples eventually reach the shore, strike something solid and head back to the source with more momentum than they started with. I will forever attempt to be more aware of my own wake.
This wasn’t written in search of condolences or to stir anger. I just wanted to finally say it all out loud. And, to acknowledge that change and endings are hard. This huge ending was also mixed in with us (cedars) leaving that church (in a way that was NOT by our design) and both of those endings touched many people. The wake became even bigger. I still feel that almost daily.
But on the other side of pain, IF we’re willing to learn from it, we find the good stuff. The really good stuff.
I still have loads of work to do, but I was shown in all of this, that I have people around me who see me. Who love me. Who stand next to me waiting to help absorb the next wave headed my way. What a lotus in the proverbial shit that is. :) But if we don’t ask those around us about their endings, we can’t be invited to hold their pain with them. And let me tell you something, holding someone’s pain, and conversely, having someone carry some of yours, is just about as sacred as it gets.
I’ve also learned over and over though endings, that if we’re vulnerable, willing to lean into the grief and pain they can bring, something inside us unfolds and gets brighter. We get stretched, but we don’t have to break. It’s like the hurt somehow wraps us up and holds us if we don’t deny its existence. When we’re vulnerable, we find so much connection, compassion and beauty.
I’m looking for that here. With you. Reading this.