Help! What Was Real? Last blog I posed a thought life challenge I've heard many betrayed express. Was my life 'real'? I don't know what to believe. What was real and what wasn't? To say that my life had not been what I thought it was would be quite an understatement. Real in every way to me, yet I was in fact controlled via the withholding of vital information to believe I was safe and in the gentle care of a loving, faithful spouse. I won't pretend to say my thoughts on this are true for anyone but myself, but you may find threads of similarity with my feelings. Life history matters. Our days are the only commodity we have. I view the time I spend as precious and irreplaceable. I chose to spend the majority of my adult life with the man I promised a lifetime. I chose to invest in his dreams, his ability to reach for them, his happiness. It is truly my life calling to uphold and add to the lives of others, especially those I love. My dream was not about making money, gaining prestige, climbing the corporate ladder or receiving kudos. My dream was to have a family of my own and contribute to their happiness. And that is what I did. Regardless of my husband's broken choices to maintain a secret double life, I lived my passion, my calling. I bore the children, made the baby food, bought the educational toys, played with babies in the kiddie pool, advocated for my kids when their disabilities required a voice, relocated to support my husband's career dreams, decorated the birthday cakes, bought the gifts, manicured the yard, fought to win the teaching job, ran the in-home business to earn funds for family travel, planned and dreamed the vacations, sewed the Halloween costumes, sang in the church choir, served shoulder to shoulder with my family at the local homeless shelter. ---ME. I lived my dream. Of course, I hoped those I served and worked beside would use my support, my gift of time and talent, to better themselves and the world. What is vitally important for me to remember–and for YOU, is that we have no control over how others will use our gifts. We can only offer them. By 'only', I do not mean to in any way diminish the value of the innumerable hours I spent in the service of others. It was, and is, the most intimate and precious gift one person can offer another. Our time is a precious, nonrenewable commodity. That said, unless it is given without strings, the giver is doomed to resentment and anger should their gift be used in a way in which they do not agree. I experienced the joy over all those years of family building. I lived the life of a giving wife and mother. I offered the gift of my time and talents. What my family choses to do with my offering is totally up to them. I loved. I love. And I won't stop loving although my gift of love was misused. That said I won't knowingly be used either. I will choose to share my time and talents with those who display they need and appreciate my gifts. In my case that looks like the elderly woman I take on errands, the dogs I feed, walk, bathe and groom, the garden I prune, plant, water, maintain. That looks like you, the reader, who might benefit from reading about someone like you who is struggling to recover from betrayal -- and put the pieces of a shattered heart and life back into full loving functionality. I will never stop looking to give, to love. We have loved. We are the glue of the world, the fertilizer for the good. We are the soul of a broken and hurting world. Without we givers, we lovers of humanity and life, our humanness would recede back into the primordial ooze from which we evolved. We are the light of the world, each of us, each small candle's flame illuminating the path for others. 'A thousand points of light', as former president George H.W. Bush called those who are the cogs in the machinery for progress and positive change. Keep on shining. For now, for today. For every day. I pray. I give. I hope. I love.