To make it this far you’ve had to walk through many obstacles. The rocks and storms and holes and challenges abound. We don’t expect the words of our friends, or those helping, to be the worst barriers, but they often are.
As the betrayed maybe you’ve heard from a well meaning friend that once someone betrays you it’s impossible to really trust him or her again. Or maybe it’s, ‘past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.’ How about as the one who strayed? The subtle lie may be, ‘since you had an affair it must mean that you really didn’t love your spouse.’ These and others like them can sound so reasonable.
But they are lies of the enemy to send your marriage tumbling into oblivion.
Brian Boyle, on his journey from coma to Kona, had to face many doubters along the way. Many assumed he would be dead to begin with and he fought and willed himself to stay alive with the aid of dozens of caring medical professionals. After his long stint in intensive care he was able to begin taking a few steps with assistance. He said, “ They lift me. I rise, like Lazarus from the dead. My unused joints make loud cracking noises, like popcorn in the microwave. It takes more than a full minute to stand.”
But it wasn’t easy at all. It took heroic strength for him to take steps as it has for you to fight through the pain, hurt and confusion. On a subsequent attempt he says, “Sitting on the bed, I raise my left foot about two inches off the floor. I do the same with my right leg. I place my hands on the hollow metal rails of the walker, feeling its smooth cold surface. I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and pull myself off the bed. I stand. All. By. Myself. “
Brian Boyle has gone from not being able to blink to standing up by himself. It’s amazing progress. Though a little over a month prior he would have thought standing to be the simplest thing. So you too have been relearning the ‘simplest’ things about relationship and love and sacrifice and grief.
He was released to Kernan Rehab in Baltimore when he no longer needs 24 hour nurses care. In a moment of humble clarity he realizes how much he is alike those who would have made him uncomfortable before his accident. “As I look around at everyone, a fraternity of fellow sufferers, I notice that some are smiling and waving at me. I return their welcoming gestures, feeling an immediate acceptance.”
And it is acceptance of ourselves as fellow sufferers that provides the strength to endure and make it through and beyond. Owning our weakness, somehow allows us to draw on the strength of others and our God. Owning our weakness, in a grand paradox, gives us the strength to push through the doubts of others.
Brian wants to swim again. He is relearning the simplest of tasks, tying his shoes now takes him over 15 minutes. Yet, he dreams and has vision in where he wants to go. Some don’t share that vision. His physical therapist, Derrick is one of them.
As I continue the balancing exercise while holding onto a wall for support, Derrick asks about my sports background. I mention I was on my high school swim team and that I’ve been thinking about getting back in the pool—especially since I found out that the center has an indoor pool. He shakes his head and tells me swimming is unlikely due to all my injuries, “I’m sure you have a lot of fight in you, kid,” he says. “ You’re definitely a survivor, but this is reality we’re talking about. I have looked over your medical file, and it says that you were on life support for two months. Hell, man, you’re an animal and there’s no doubt about it. But getting back in the pool with the way your body is now, I just don’t think it’s likely. You’re living, you’re walking—you’ve got a future ahead of you. You’ll find something else besides swimming, I can promise you that.” I complete the therapy session in silence, keeping my anger in check. I have a strong inkling that there will be plenty more naysayers like Derrick in my new life, telling me what I can’t do rather than what I can do.
And you’ve had plenty of naysayers for your marriage. No doubt you’ve both heard somewhere to just cut your losses and start over fresh. But keep building your vision and dreams for your marriage. It really can be that good. Have the intention to keep moving forward through healing, retraining yourself, and growing more and more each day. The means will come to you to accomplish this. You’ll find those in your life who are for you, that believe in you, believe that you can and will journey with you. For the health of your soul, continue to leave the naysayers behind.