Keeping it together became my new life goal. Go to work. Sleep. Eat. Pray. Just keep moving. Stay positive. Don’t imagine the worst. One day at a time. Don’t focus on the hurt. This too, shall pass. Yadda, yadda, yadda. And on it went for about two weeks. I thought I had been doing a miraculous job at pretending everything was fine and going on as if life were normal (whatever that means) until the day my boss sat me down to have a chat. We were in my little office that was only big enough to share with one other human. We sat down and he turned to me and he said, “Go home.”
He didn’t mean to go back to my apartment. He wanted me to book a flight right then and there and go to my family in Tennessee. He had already figured out that I had a week of vacation days coming to me. But instead of one week, he wanted me to take two weeks. He wanted me to be able to rest and grieve and heal around people who loved me. He could tell handling the everyday grind of work and my failing marriage was making me a wreck. He offered me an escape from life…and I took it.
My parents were thrilled to hear I was coming home. Lord only knows how worried they were about me. My husband and therapist even agreed it was a good idea. My therapist thought it would be “healthy” for me and I’m sure my husband needed a break from my constantly trying to “fix us.” I remember how good it felt to put up my “out of office” message on my work computer. Rest was so close. Safety was so close. I was going home.
My father picked me up at the Nashville airport. And I felt strange. I was his adult daughter who had to come home and be taken care of. Our relationship was different than it had been when I lived with them as a teenager. There were boundaries now. I looked at him and knew I had nothing to give. I couldn’t talk about it. There were no words to use to describe to my father what my husband had put me through. I knew he was waiting on me to make the first move, following my lead, but I had nothing. I was ashamed to even be in this situation. Embarrassed that he had to save me. Sad that I didn’t have a solution.
We drove the two hours to my hometown and pulled into our driveway, where I knew my mother was waiting for me. Of course she was. Waiting to see what state I was in. Waiting to make a plan. Waiting to see what kind of damage had been done. Hell, waiting to feed me. They let me unpack and gave me space and eventually my mother came in to check on me. I remember looking up at her and saying weakly, “I don’t want to get a divorce.” And then the tears started. I was home and I was safe and I was loved and I was exhausted and I could finally say what I truly wanted to say. I didn’t want to get a divorce.
God not only gave me a safe haven when I needed it, he facilitated my being able to reach that haven. He was with my parents as they dealt with a broken daughter. He gave them the wisdom to stop and listen to me say the thing my heart desired most. Looking back, I can’t even imagine what kind of nightmare that must have been for them, plus having to know that I wanted to go back into the fire and try again and again and again to put my marriage back together. And they had to let me. They had to let me at least try. But I could only have the courage to try because I had the knowledge that no matter what, there would always be home.
Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”