Life isn’t a fairy tale. I know that.
Prince charming doesn’t usually ride up on a white horse to carry you off into the sunset. Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. We struggle.
You know that saying, “Life’s a bitch. Then you die.” Although this saying isn’t entirely true and there are so many more amazing, beautiful things in between those two small sentences, some seasons of life seem to resonate more with this phrase.
If you’ve read my blog much or know me personally, you know I’m a pretty hopeless romantic type person.
I believe in love. I believe in miracles. I believe the good guy wins. I hope beyond hope. I have faith when it doesn’t make sense. I dream impossible dreams and believe they can happen. I fight for the underdog, even when it hurts me. I hang in when everyone else has given up. And I always believe it’ll be worth it.
I went into my marriage this way, and despite the wreckage that resulted from it, I am still that person at my core.
I like this about myself, but I hate it at the same time. It sets me up for a lot of heartache. It peels open my heart for others, even if they don’t deserve that much of me. It makes me work harder for others than they work for themselves. At times, it makes me look like a fool.
Throughout my separation and divorce, I’ve had to work hard to merge my head and my heart. My head has gained strength faster than my heart, and I’ve struggled at times to protect my heart from the person who destroyed it.
Because my head is strong, it has been able to compensate for my weak heart. I’ve been able to present an image of bravery. An image of strength and indifference. I’ve been able to convince even myself that I could no longer be moved by the cunning cajolery dispensed by my husband in an attempt to keep me in his grip.
Underneath my undaunted appearance, however, lied the same hopeless romantic, miracle believing, love story dreaming girl who’s heart still partly resided in someone else’s chest.
That is, until this past weekend.
This past weekend, something inside me changed. A person can only see evidence of dishonesty, proof of manipulation, and confirmation of true unyielding sickness so many times before their heart has no choice but to change.
I’ve held out hope for the miracle to occur within my husband for the last 4 1/2 years. I’ve spent the equivalent of months on my knees for this man. I’ve tried to convince others he could be sincere. I’ve tried to believe his words and ignore his actions. And in the midst of a divorce and repeated proof of his true intentions and the truth of his heart, I still wanted to believe some sliver of his lies could be true.
After my predictions of what he’d do in terms of visitation with my sons held true and I not only caught my husband in the thick of his lies and excuses, but saw him in it, something inside me shifted.
I’ve wanted to protect my sons from the heartbreak their father caused me. And for a while, I thought I might be able to. This weekend, I realized I cannot. Their sweet, innocent hearts will inevitably be crushed just as mine has been and there is close to nothing I can do about it.
My husband broke a promise to my sons just as he has to me for years. It wasn’t the first, and it won’t be the last. But going to his door to find him in the exact same pathetic, hungover, lie infested state he was always in prior to the birth of my sons, after seeing his deceit all day long as he tried to create excuses for why he couldn’t see his boys as he promised, did something to my heart I wasn’t expecting.
The piece of it that still belonged to him died in that instant. That part of my heart that ached for him, fought for him, and believed in him was shut down. The truth and reality of who he is swallowed me whole and I could no longer run from it and pretend it might change.
While I will always believe in miracles and trust in God’s power to change hearts, I know that in order for Him to work a miracle, the heart must be surrendered. My husband’s heart may be surrendered to something, but it sure isn’t God.
As I looked into his eyes, this man who at one time held my whole soul in his hands, I felt every emotion in a matter of seconds. My heart dropped as the truth of what I knew in my head sunk into my heart and the two collided.
Not two hours earlier I’d said to a friend, “I think my heart may always hurt. I may always love him and feel pulled when he flowers me with his sweet, manipulative words.” In that moment, standing in the doorway of this sick, drunken individual, I knew that statement was no longer true.
It was a moment I’ll never forget. A moment my hope stopped. A moment truth slapped me in the face and the sting shut the lights of my heart off. The moment I truly released him. The moment I realized my heart wouldn’t be the only one broken by this man. The moment I knew 3 other tiny hearts who anxiously awaited his presence as they sat in the van beaming with excitement to see their daddy, would be shattered over the years as they endure his broken promises and empty words as I have.
Until that moment, my heart, though broken, still sang a silent melody for this man. But this past Saturday was truly the day the music died.
All that’s left now is the remnants of a life I hoped he could live. Faded notes of a song my heart once sang.
I will continue praying and believing that God will somehow break the wall surrounding his heart so that if nothing else, he doesn’t destroy my son’s hearts as he did mine. But I will no longer hold onto the ache of love I felt for him. The ache now is for my sons. And for the loss of a dream, both for myself and for my husband, knowing only he can change his circumstances and let God’s love in.
My heart and my love shifted this weekend. In a way I will always love my husband because he gave me the greatest gifts of my life. I have forgiven him for the pain he caused me in the past, and I trust God will give me the courage to forgive him for the pain he will surely cause me and my sons in the future. But I will no longer carry the burden of hope for a changed life while he actively fights against it. I will no longer allow my heart to faulter when the smooth lies leap from his mouth. And I will no longer let my heart beat to the music of love I once held for him.
The sting of a lost love, a broken heart, and a shattered dream may last a while. But I now know it’s time for a new song.