Thursday, December 22, 2016

My Open Letter of Gratitude for 2016

I wanted to take a moment to give thanks to you all for making 2016 the best year it could be despite how it started out. I’ve learned so much about my own limits, resilience, and ability to overcome and begin the process of rebuilding to make my life even better.

This year started out with my discovery that the person who had become closest to me was deceiving me – not in a small way, but a really BIG way and over a protracted period of years. The personal and professional heartbreak at first numbed me out. I couldn’t believe what I found out was actually true. The enormity of the deceit floored me. It was a strange, surreal moment when the first big lie got revealed. I remember getting off the phone right after I discovered the truth and picking up a photo he had given me. I hurled it so hard against the wall it crashed through the plasterboard and left a hole. Mid-hurl I let out the most painful scream (which felt kind of good, BTW). How could anyone manipulate and lie to me at such a horrendous level and over such a long period of time? How does someone do something like that? For the first time in my life I understood what the word “sociopath” meant.  

The fallout was horrendous. It involved money and so much deception that I would spend the next three weeks making nonstop phone calls, confronting the ugly truth woman by woman by woman. I didn’t even cry at first. I just did what I needed to do. I wanted answers. Since the man wasn’t capable of telling me the truth I had to do this one on my own. I’m so proud of myself for being strong enough to call complete strangers and have to ask them if they too were involved with this man and what he did to them and what he had done to me.

I remember refusing to cancel my 50th birthday party because I wouldn’t give that much power to another person to wreck my birthday. I certainly didn’t want to party, believe me. I was in no mood. I was out thousands of dollars and in debt and heartbroken. A party seemed like the last thing to do, but I realized I wouldn’t waste another day of my life crying over the wreckage of what he had left behind.

But as we confront a New Year I want to share something profound I learned on this journey:

I am so grateful God gave me the means to find out the truth!

I am so grateful that what this man had done was so, so bad that I clearly and without regret could start to heal and close that door on that period of my life.

I am so grateful he’s gone because NOW I have true love and support! I met the love of my life, Chris Carter. Had I not had that old relationship so cleanly severed I would not have had the open heart to meet Chris.

So, you see I lived through something really awful. And while I once thought that this man got to walk away clean while I had to clean up the financial and emotional fallout, I realized I WON not him. He went back to his messed-up relationship and life built on deception and I went forward with a beautiful, new relationship built on honesty and love. Wow! How could I ever be upset about that outcome?

I shared this story with you today so you know that from the bad can rise the good. From the door closing on one thing the door can open on another thing. It doesn’t feel good at the time when bad things happen. It can hurt – and I mean really nasty, gut-level hurt, but once the healing begins something better is waiting out there just for you.

I’ve learned such important, critical lessons this year:

Time does heal all pain. I’m still healing almost a year later. Yet I know as each day passes I will get stronger and stronger and stronger. Soon all of it will just be a tarnished memory. When I have moments of reflection I buoy myself with the thought that soon this will be nothing but a fleeting memory I shrug off. No one wants to hear, “Give it time” when something bad happens, but it’s true. Give it time!

Forgiveness is for me not for him. Learning true forgiveness is being able to let it go. Forgive and move on. The anger and hurt only hold you back and hurt you some more. Don’t be a victim. Forgive. I now look at this man and think what a terrible life he leads – lying and deceiving your friends and family is no way to live. How much time and energy wasted on something so negative and ugly. What a waste. Forgive others and just let it go. Don’t forget though. If you don’t remember then you can’t protect yourself in the future.

Something better is waiting for you. I am so eternally grateful for Chris! My heart wants to explode when he’s with me. The way he loves me! WHAT A GIFT! How can I ever be upset or feel down when I have THAT kind of love in my life. He is uplifting, kind, sweet, caring and funny. He has been my best friend, rock, companion, counselor, lover and soon to be my husband. We already considered ourselves married, because we believe marriage is spiritual and not just a binding legality. He calls me his wife to anyone who will ask. The love we share is RARE. Just thinking of my sexy, sweet teddy bear makes me grin. We both know what we have is precious, and we are careful to safeguard and never squander it. Hours and hours of talking and hugs and kisses -- that is my life now. The other day he stopped and bought me a new vacuum cleaner from a vendor. How mundane you might think and not romantic ... wrong! Quite romantic. Quite needed. And exceptionally thoughtful -- that's Chris!!

So, I want to thank God for everything that happened! EVERYTHING! Without the bad could not come the greatest good and the most wonderful thing to happen to me in years – my beautiful, big and wonderful Christopher Carter. This is both my open letter to you, my readers, and to the Universe. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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