I sat in the waiting room. Waiting. It had only been a couple of weeks since I had been suckered punched and since then I couldn’t find my way out of the gray fog. I’m not sure why I decided to go to counseling. I guess I’ve always known that’s what people do when their marriage is in trouble. When you want to save your marriage you go to counseling, but since Matt was not in any condition to save our marriage, I sat there alone.
Kelly walked around the corner and with a glowing face waved me to follow her. We turned the corner and proceeded down a hall lined with doors, kind of like a hotel, except this was no vacation. There were doors all the way down on either side, and each door had it’s own little white pod on the floor. As we passed the pods, I heard electronic waves crashing onto an imaginary shore. Their melodic rhythm created a serene sound that would’ve put me to sleep in different circumstances. We stopped at a door and Kelly bent down to click a pod on the floor. Electronic waves began to crash.
“This is so our conversation will stay private”.
Wonderful. No one would hear me die of shame.
Kelly closed the door behind us. We sat down across from each other in our hotel chairs and she smiled at me. The gold framed watercolor painting and staged bookshelves behind her tried their best to say, “make yourself at home”.
In a breezy voice, Kelly started, “So, tell me what’s going on”?
My honest heart blurted out, “My husband is having an affair, and I’m going to forgive him”.
Unstartled, she replied, “Tell me more”.
With each of her questions, I shared more of my shame to a woman I’d never met. Piece by piece, tears flowing, I laid my Christian mess, called my life, on the table. It felt good to get it out.
I was working on my fifth tissue when Kelly threw her grappling hook and began to climb my walled heart, “You know, I can’t believe someone you love would do that to you. I would be very angry if someone betrayed me like your husband betrayed you. In fact, I’d be more than mad, I’d be pissed off! Are you mad”?
Stunned by this turn of events, I nodded.
“Really? Because you don’t look like an angry woman sitting there”.
I reached for tissue six. Then, seven. Kelly just sat there waiting.
“Show me how mad you are. Right here, right now”. Kelly pulled on the grappling hook and then waited.
Just like the electronic waves crashing outside our door, I could feel the internal waves crashing against my chest. My steady stream of tears turned into choking sobs. I grabbed tissues eight, nine and ten.
Kelly waited with quiet patience, but all I could do was sit there, sobbing.
I left exhausted, depleted. You see, it took every ounce of my energy to keep the mighty river locked inside. I swore I would never go back, because that was useless, but it was too late, Kelly had already found a crack in the stone dam around my heart.
It took two more months of unraveling in my life, but I did go back, and for over a year, Kelly helped me chip away at my fortress. For over a year, I practiced trusting myself, believing I’m worthy of love and letting the emotions flow out.
I got angry. Really angry. I hurt deeply. I didn’t run and hide, but I stayed and allowed the painful acidic waves crash from my heart.
I didn’t realize it at first, but I was experiencing healing from lifelong wounds for the very first time. I experienced healing because I went back to counseling. I allowed someone I never met into my heart. I let her ask the hard questions. I let her hold my hand while we peered into the bloody gore of my heart, and I believed her when she told me to trust myself and know I’m worthy of the journey to wholeness.
That first day I went to counseling to save my marriage, but I was the one who ended up being saved.
Thank you, Kelly, you’re worth your weight in gold.
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If you’ve ever endured the stabs of betrayal, abuse, neglect or death of a loved one, I highly recommend to find a professional counselor to help you find true healing from such mortal wounds.
If you’re here in St. Louis, I have information about wonderful counseling options on my resource page. If not, do not hesitate to find a counselor in your area.
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This post is also a featured article on Bedlam Magazine.