Acceptance

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Acceptance, The last stage of grief or the beginning of the true journey?

I've had the urge to write this blog for some time, but I keep finding myself putting it off. I know it will take some effort and may not flow as easily as some of the earlier ones. This process started for me when I heard a well-known quote from the famous philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard:

"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward."

I have a cousin that is an avid skier and spends half the year living the dream in a resort town in Colorado. We have a lot in common in many good (and some not so good) ways. While she is adventurous and a loving mentor to me, she can also be obsessively driven and hypercompetitive. I love to ski, but seeing as I spend most of my year near sea level, I only get to do it a handful of days in a season. Years ago, she played into our kindred spirit when she confronted me with the declaration she was tired of having to dumb down her skiing when I visited; we were going to the extreme slopes. We have skied together for years, and she knew I could safely handle what she was proposing. I, on the other hand, wasn't so sure and was comfortable in my usual routine. As she forced me towards the lift to "no man's land" she yelled back through a laugh, "Do you really want to go home a wimp?" As I followed her down the run, I quickly learned the skill of finding simpler lines when the conditions started to feel overwhelming. The trick was to focus on the terrain I knew I could handle and block out the hazards that seemed too dangerous. Fear lost its grip and exhilaration took its place.

Looking back, I see how that experience changed my perspective on skiing forever. You see those slopes, the ones labeled "out of bounds" or "extreme". . . the ones only accessible by small lifts or Cats, offer views and experiences that feel worlds away from the commercial bustle below. Skiing became a true escape into the wilderness, not just an activity. It was a liberating step, and I needed a push to get there.

In many ways my journey through recovery seems to parallel this experience. It has been a long one. I've lost count of the books and hours of counseling. Weekly group calls now seem as natural as showing up at my office each weekday morning. However, it also feels like it has just begun. The process has transformed me individually in ways I longed for far before the discovery of my wife's infidelity. I find myself with a new self-awareness, a better understanding of God's purpose, a greater appreciation for healthy relationships. The taste of authenticity and the calm confidence of true purpose is sweet. For the first time, I find myself truly contemplating with wonder. . . dare I say excitement. . . what could be up ahead?

This point feels like a transition. This point feels like. . . acceptance. While I acknowledge that recovery from the dysfunctions, pains, and transgressions of this world is a life long journey, I now realize that grieving my wife's indiscretions is not. At times, I have tried to push to get to this point, only to find it slipping further away. Grieving is an ambiguous process that has to take its own time and form. I see that now. Only when I immersed myself in the process completely, quit trying to control it, and applied the principals learned through all the hours of study and counseling with patience and without expectation, did this clarity emerge.

My acceptance is not of what was negatively done to me by another, but the condition and state of my own life. My acceptance is realizing that I am not above having to face this indiscretion, and that I can grow from how I choose to experience it. My acceptance is a new found understanding of my own strengths, and how better to protect them from my own dysfunctions and unhealthy ways. My acceptance is in the fallen world we live in, and understanding my place in it is only temporary. My acceptance is peace. So why the hesitation?

I think I have come to realize my acceptance is also a release of the crutch of grief, the role of a victim. By no means am I suggesting anyone rush to get here. It has come in its own due time, but I have been noticing for a while now that allowing myself to wallow in the pain feels more like a tether than a new discovery. There comes a point when hanging on simply keeps me looking towards the past when there is so much of the mountain in front of me that I have yet to experience. God wastes nothing. Do I really want to have gone through all this work. . . to have fully faced arguably the greatest relational pain known to mankind. . . to not fully experience His rewards for enduring it?

While I am sure I will have to reread these words for a time to come, I am also sure the need for the reminders will fade as I turn to present day opportunities and experiences with a new-found awareness. . . and peace. This will undoubtedly not be the end to the pain, but an understanding that the tools I've learned will guide me towards a safe line when all seems overwhelming. A choice to allow the wound to begin to scar. . . a scar that will not only remind me of the pain, but also the growth of His will and intentions.

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Thank you

Thank you for sharing this. I feel like I'm not far away from this myself. Godspeed on your journey !

I appreciate your comment

Thank you forth feedback. To healing!

Chase

Acceptance

Thanks Chase,
I too, feel that I am reaching that turning point. My attitude towards the days to come is growing more positive. While I agree that the pain is there for now and the scar always will be, the future holds better times as long as I choose to live it and not remain in the past. Good luck and may God continue to bless you as you continue your journey.
Terry

Thanks for sharing. I love

Thanks for sharing. I love the analogy. I find myself in this last stage and find it to be challenging at times. Trying to keep the focus on the future / God's plan and really let the past go.

This is beautiful!

This is beautiful!

I think not receiving the confession, care and needed attention as well as having had to fight for the truth from the one who wounded us can add layer to this, but ultimetly we need to allow ourselves to get to this place to start finding life again. With our marriage our without.

Someone else caused the explosion that left you in pieces and with limited brain function, it is right for them to help you in all the needed ways, but only you can do the work that your body needs done to heal the deeper wounds.

I hope they show up at the doctors and physical therapist to ask questions on what is best for you, hold you as you learn to walk again and earn trust that they will not let go to drop you on the floor again.

But if they don’t we can either be bed ridden in life or fight for our own survival and life with the knowledge of what we survived.

I think the scares are more tender when your loved one did not “do anything” to help you heal. But I think acceptance is the first real initial scab on that healing. It’s soooooo hard to get there as it is soooo hard to let go when it is all so unknown where you believed a known was.

Thank you for your words. I think you expressed it better than you though you would.

Acceptance

God has blessed you brother, thanks for sharing

I appreciate your words

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog and responding. It is always a reminder to me that the isolation we all feel from this is just an illusion when others respond and relate to these blogs.

Chase

How long did it take

Thank you for this! I have read it many times. May I ask how long did it take for you to get this point of acceptance?

Thank you for your comments

I wrote this one about 18 months out from my initial d day. One thing I am beginning to see clearer now is that this is simply one of the stages of grief and I still jump back into the other stages from time to time. This blog was a reflection on how I was beginning to feel acceptance for the first time in earnest. Just a couple weeks ago some new losses were brought to mind and I found myself right back in anger. It is a long road no doubt and I still have much ground to cover. The good news is I have found having experienced acceptance over so much of this, I find getting back to that spot is getting easier and easier when I digress.

Chase

Acceptance

Thanks Chase,
I recently reached the turning point myself. I finally accepted that I only had control of me. I placed all of the doubts, pain and insecurity in God's hands and I felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my heart. My wife has taken ownership of her mistake and is deeply involved in her's, as well as our, recovery. The mere fact that I am able to respond to you in a positive manner is evidence of how far I have come on this journey. I still have some grieving and healing to do but the light at the end of the tunnel is shining brightly and i now know that it isn't a train, but it's God showing me the way. Thank you for your work and your words.
Terry H

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