Day 3

I woke up Saturday morning to find a text on my phone. It was from my wife.

I don’t think I can even really talk or write about it right now, because I can’t really think about it very well. On a pain level, it feels something like having been hit by a bus and somehow survived, except not physical. Well, it’s kind of physical. I mean, I can taste it, and I can sort of feel it, but it’s just different from physical pain. I had a hard time making it down the stairs, though, and it was in the same kind of way that it would be hard to make it down the stairs if my actual body were just completely in shambles.

She left almost two years ago, and said she wasn’t coming back, but the whole situation has hung in this nebulous limbo ever since then. It’s Monday morning now, though, and it’s time to head in for work. I have to go to work now. Somehow, I have to function.

Normally, I’m clocked in by now, but I’m pausing for just a bit here to process.

Every emotional cataclysm I’ve ever experienced in this life…I’ve always been able to run to something else to numb the pain. When I was very young, it was pornography, food, video games…just anything that was readily available that would totally distract my whole entire being from the way things were going wrong. Later on, it was drugs. Then, when I was 16, I got born again, and for a while, I followed the spirit of the living Christ on a beautiful journey out of the pain. It all went wrong, though, when I got mixed up with a man who…what was he, even? He seemed at first to be completely immersed in the same thing I was, and I allowed myself to be spiritually seduced by what seemed like a bona fide kindred spirit (almost, but something was always a little bit weird.)

That was right at the same time that Jessi and I met. We were in a youth group together, and we noticed each other right away. The leader (Mr. Crazy) picked up on this, and he went above and beyond to ensure that we both knew that God wanted us to be together. I wasn’t ready for a relationship yet, being only just in very early recovery from drug addiction, and I kept having second thoughts about the whole thing, but I allowed myself to be persuaded (probably because, hey, what nineteen year old kid doesn’t want to be married to a beautiful woman who is absolutely charming, and captivating, and interesting, and funny, and seemingly perfect in every way?)

As soon as we were married, though, everything changed. The relationship was used to manipulate me in ways that I just can’t even describe. The whole thing was so weird. Basically, I was told that she was doing something wrong that she wouldn’t admit to anyone else, and that I needed to shun her until God had “dealt with” her, and she was ready to really engage.

Can I even describe this stuff here like this? All short and incomplete and everything? No matter. It has to come out. I have to talk about this. It’s all part of the mess, and I’m going to unravel this mess, and I’m going to document it, and it’s going to be all organized so that people will be able to read it and understand what happened (as much as possible, anyway.)

She would be laying there on the floor, crying out to God, begging for Him to show her what she was doing wrong, and this guy had me convinced that it was all an act, and that she was just trying to manipulate me. “She knows what she’s doing, dude. Just let her be. God has to deal with it.”

This guy was actually just totally nuts, though. I couldn’t see it at the time because I was under the spell of the whole situation, but after years of all kinds of abuse, lies, and manipulation, I’d had enough. I packed up the family (we’d had two kids by that time) and left. My mind was broken, though. This man’s influence had eclipsed that original thing, that genuine spiritual romance between me and my Maker, and all of those toxic thought pathways were burned into place so that I couldn’t access that place of peace and guidance anymore.

I spent a long time running myself up against that wall, trying to get “back in” so that I could interact with God again, but the programming — years and years of repeated assurances, and all of the stuff that came with it…jeez, I can’t describe it right now, and everyone must think I’m crazy, but at least I’m honest, I suppose. Basically, I was convinced that God didn’t want me anymore because I’d left the group of people I’d been with. Because I was convinced — because that was what I had faith in — that became my reality.

Eventually, I sought refuge in whatever I could find comfort in, though. And it was possible for me to find comfort in other things at that point. But that’s not possible anymore. For whatever reason, nothing in this world can satisfy me now. With my family shattered like this… the pain of knowing what that is makes it so that literally nothing temporal can captivate my interest in the slightest. Everything physical seems to be utterly without color, taste, smell…I mean, food seems gross. And that’s wrong.

I need to get going now. I’m an hour late. I think this helped, though. I couldn’t even really breathe when I’d first started writing, and…well, OK, time to go find coffee.

By Ben Wolf

It's a secret!

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