I just finished responding to Phoenix and Still Standing over on the Separating or Divorcing (Part 2) page. There's so much pain there as these incredible women come to terms with a loss they hadn't predicted. But there's hella resilience too.
There's also much gratitude for this site as a place where women feel supported, no matter what they're going through and how things are unfolding. While I created this site to make me less lonely as I worked to rebuild my marriage (and to assure myself that I wasn't a complete doofus to believe that it was possible to rebuild a marriage after betrayal), I didn't intend it to be only for reconciliation. For one thing, I wasn't sure just where my marriage was going to end up. I had one foot out the door for a long time. Besides, however things turn out, we're not so different. It's the experience of betrayal that marks us. And the women on this site, without fail, have responded to that most painful of experiences by reaching out to others and lifting them up.
It's incredible, really. To think that, at our lowest point, we are still able to acknowledge pain in others and reach out. It speaks to the courage of all of you here. It speaks to the depth of your compassion, the reservoir of kindness that you each still have, even when life has served up betrayal and cruelty.
I'm convinced though that it's in that reaching out, that lifting up of others, that ability to take in another's pain and hold it for them, that opens the path to our own healing. In keeping our hearts open to others, we keep them open to our own lives.
In feeling each other's pain, we are able to process our own.
We heal together, bound by compassionate hearts.
Our healing won't take us all to the same place. Some of us will rebuild marriages, others will dissolve theirs. But as long as we're able to see in each other the beauty, the strength, the courage and the integrity with which we're responding to our hearts shattering, then we can acknowledge it in ourselves. And that mark of betrayal will become a badge of honor for having not only survived but having kept our hearts open to the suffering of others.
There are days that what I'm saying will seem impossible. Days when it's all we can do to breathe in, breathe out, when we need to put our hearts under glass. Those are the days when others can remind you that you will survive this. That there are days for giving and days for receiving.
That the grace we show each other isn't a zero sum game.
And that ability to offer or receive grace, to experience a life-changing kindness, is no small thing.