Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Heron Story--Part Two

It’s no secret that, since closing the restaurant, I’ve been treading water, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Or maybe not treading water—that would take too much energy I do not have. I’ve been floating. Lying back and allowing myself to be upheld by an energy which is not my own. A force that I vaguely recognize as the Great Spirit—All There Is.

I’m aware that in the depths above which I am now floating are questions that need answers, feelings that need outlets, destinies to be fulfilled. I’m also aware that I am simply not capable of grappling with any of that…yet. I have silently communicated this to the Spirit; “Not yet. I’m not strong enough yet. I need some time.”

As if this prayer is really necessary. All There Is knows what I need, and It knows when I will be ready to do what needs to be done. But first, It has to gently direct my focus to what really does need to be done. About which, I suspect, we currently have conflicting opinions.

As I float above the tough issues, I have tried to conduct my life as if nothing is really going on. I cook, I clean. I mow my lawn. I shop, go to movies, sit and watch TV with the husband in the evening. I do the best a naturally transparent person such as I can do to mask my personal turmoil. That in itself is hard enough work, for me. And I thought I’d been doing a creditable job.

The husband and I have existed in a relatively peaceful, amicable bubble. I’ve come perilously close to patting myself on the back for my newfound ability to ignore the elephant in the room. I’d even begun to think the imposing pachyderm may have slipped out the door while we weren’t looking. I’m usually not one to indulge in such wishful thinking, but it seemed the path of least resistance—to which I am so attracted these days.

Last Saturday morning, husband and I shared a cozy breakfast, looked outside at the fine, sunny fall day, and decided to pack up the dog and take her for a walk at the “nuclear park” (the manicured grounds surrounding what used to be the Trojan power plant.) It was a perfect day to stroll through the kaleidoscope of trees and kick through piles of crunchy leaves. Also perfect, evidently, for an unexpected harpy to swoop out of the blue and rip a hole clean through our peaceful bubble. And out we tumbled, right into the lap of the elephant.

We were in the bathroom getting ready to go, and suddenly the conversation just hit a wall. Don’t remember what exactly we were discussing, but I said,

“…and that would not be good for me.”

Husband: “I’m good for you.”

I stopped dead in my tracks. My back was to him. My eyes widened. My mouth opened. Nothing came out.

I decided not to engage. I straightened, moved to go out to the bedroom, ostensibly to get something out of my dresser. He stood in the doorway. Blocking the door.

Husband: “I’m good for you. Right?”

Me: “Ummmmm...”

Husband: “Right?”

Me: “Move.”

Husband (reacting to my deliberate non-reaction ): “Not lettin’ you out until you tell me I’m good for you.”

It sounds more threatening than it actually was. He was begging for affirmation that everything was okay. That the storm was behind us and we could go back to being…whatever we were before.

And I…

Could. Not. Give. It.

I knew the thing to do was lighten the moment. Laugh it off. I could not form the words. I looked at his eyes, and tears began to sting behind my own.

Husband: “What?”

I tried. I really tried. I stalled.

“I don’t think we should really go there, dear…”


I struggled. I hesitated. For what seemed like long minutes. I dug deep for something to say. Anything. With all my heart, I truly did NOT want to “go there.” But as is my way, when I’m stuck for words and a response is demanded, the truth came tumbling out.

“Because we’ve just come out of a place where we didn’t even know if we liked each other. We definitely were NOT good for each other. For a really long time.”


He backed me into that corner, with the idea of getting me to concede that the strife was over and we could now go on as if five years of acid rain on our marriage had never happened. Still, I was not meaning to accuse, not intending to assign blame. I tried to answer honestly, without freaking out, without going ballistic.

“So I think we need to concentrate on being good TO each other for awhile, and then we can talk about being good FOR each other again.”

What is it about the truth that it possesses such power to wound? I’ll never understand it, but honesty in my hands becomes more the sword of an avenging angel than the magic staff of calm and reason that I expect it to be. I hurt people with it, every single time.

The bubble had burst. The day was ruined. He was deeply wounded. And angry.

What has all this to do with herons? All will be revealed in part 3...


  1. How much more gentle could you have been? I'm going on to read part 3, but I'm very encouraged by your truth. It is not your hand that wields the sword, it is the recipient of the honesty choosing not to admit it and becoming defensive!

  2. I have been waiting to read this knowing there was going to be an important story here. Lisa, my heart is with you. I think you chose a very appropriate thing to say. It truly was quite kind in recognizing what you've been through but that there is a way to be good FOR each other again.