My Husband Is My Teacher

August 10, 2017

“If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Yes, the tree makes a sound even if no one was there to hear it because God is everywhere and He hears everything.” ~ George Berkeley, Anglican bishop, philosopher, and writer

The other day, I excitedly texted my husband telling him I wanted to share a poem I had just written. When he replied, he told me about his day with no reference to my text.

Hmm. I texted him back to see if he had received it ~ he had but didn’t have time to talk and would call me later. Later, as we chatted, I felt myself setting the trap and patiently waited for him to ask me about my poem…

Nothing.

My mind went nuts. “It’s all about him/ I’m always supporting him and he doesn’t really care about things that are important to me/ He never asks about me/ Why did I choose this person??”

When he finally asked me about my day, I went off. “You know, I really wanted to share something with you that was important to me and now I don’t want to anymore because I don’t feel like you really care.”  (Nah nah nana nah)

Then, he went off and started to list all the ways he cared about me and the ways he’s been supportive of me artistically ~ which were all true.

“Then why didn’t you reply to my text?” I asked. He explained “I’m sorry ~ but I had a really full day and I missed that one.”

Although I knew what he was saying was logical and human, there was something I couldn’t quite get over. Even if he had replied to 10,000 texts and responded enthusiastically to 30,000 poems and songs I’d written over the years, this one was the most important one ~ and missing it felt unforgivable.

I burst into tears, “If you don’t respond to my text, I feel like I don’t exist!” I surprised myself  ~ I had never said those words to anyone before. It felt like some younger part of me that I had forgotten.

I felt my husband’s soft presence as I cried these younger tears. And then, suddenly, I remembered the many times I’d be bubbling over with fevered excitement to share about some creative accomplishment with my mom ~ and how she would, without any bit of acknowledgement, change the subject.

I remembered how confused and then ashamed I felt. I remembered how I had made a decision that I would stop sharing with her those things. I remembered how I had made a decision that if no one acknowledged what I was doing was important, maybe I should stop doing it. I remembered stopping.

All of it came flooding through my tears.

And then I said to my husband, “It’s okay that you didn’t respond. This is old stuff. I have to stop stopping my work as an artist just because someone doesn’t respond.” Just because my mom didn’t respond.

Then, miraculously, my eyes cleared. My husband became my husband ~ not my mom ~ and I saw him so vividly as the incredibly supportive man he has been throughout our marriage.

In those places where we have been deeply wounded, we will play out that story, that history, in an effort to get something we didn’t get back then….until we feel what we didn’t feel back then.

I have desperately tried to get my mom’s acknowledgement ~ through my husband, friends, teachers ~ but the thing is, I WILL NEVER GET IT. Even though my mom is truly a changed woman and will say beautiful things that she didn’t back then, I will never get the response I wanted from her as a child ~ and it is my responsibility to feel that.

We must feel those feelings ~ of hurt, disappointment, grief ~ IF we don’t want to stay in those young places of blame and shame…IF we want to move on and become the magnificent artists we were born to be in this lifetime.

Love,
Angela

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