Seventh rest stop, here we are. We’ve been at this over 300 days, 10 months now. You’ve come so far, yet I know that at some moments it still feels like it may go on forever. For this rest stop we are going to take several days then we’ll return to our series on sexual intimacy.
I’ve been reading a book called Iron Heart by Bill Kavotsky and Brian Boyle. Brian was an eighteen year old recently graduated stud swimmer who was headed to college on scholarship. On the way home from swimming one day a dump truck T-boned his black Camaro at an intersection. His pelvis was crushed, among a litany of other broken bones. His internal organs all suffered significant trauma and jumbled around inside him. His intestines were forced upward in the crash, his spleen and his gall bladder had to be removed and his heart, his heart was moved three inches to the right inside of his chest.
Iron heart is the story of a young man who had his life planned out to go a particular direction. But life happened and he was forever changed. From being paralyzed to completing the Ironman in Kona, HI, his story has many parallels to those recovering and battling from the trauma of an affair. I wouldn’t want to minimize his physical and emotional trauma, but I also don’t ever want to minimize it for those dealing with betrayal.
After the revelation of the affair the world is flipped like a pancake at a campout. There is a stunned confusion for both husband and wife, regardless of who had the affair. And though your body may still work, there are the sensations of numbness and immobility.
For Brian Boyle, he couldn’t move his hands or feet, he couldn’t breathe on his own, he couldn’t even blink. He said this, “Every time a nurse or doctor enters my room, I can only stare at them like a wax, figure. Motionless as a corpse, I can’t talk, nod, lift a finger or blink. When the doctors look right at me, they seem to be trying to read my mind. What I would give to have a simple conversation with theses strangers. Instead, I’m lifeless, unmoving, unresponsive—a silent body trapped in a bed, with my arms spread out like a crucifixion on a mattress.”
Eventually, he can move his eyes and then he can blink. He can only blink once because to do it again feels like lifting a steel girder.
And so begins his journey towards new dreams that he doesn’t even know he has. And so it is for those emerging from the immobilizing blast of an affair. People sometimes ask me, “What do I do? It hurts so bad!” I tell them to hurt and to do what you can without causing further damage. It’s my version of ‘just try to move your eyes around and then see if you can blink.’