Today I saw “Walk the Line” in its entirety for the first time. I am moved. It made me think about all of the events that make us who we become. Each decision builds on another and another until one day you are looking and you are changed. Something inside just clicks and we become different people. Sometimes we grow and become better people, sometimes we do not. We disappoint ourselves, our loved ones and there is no way to mend the fracture. Today’s blog is going to be deeply personal. This is my fair warning to anyone who is reading. If you don’t want to hear the agony of defeat then click the little X in the top, right corner of your screen.
Now back to the movie, I can relate to Johnny Cash and June Carter. I can relate because I have felt like both of them.
Johnny Cash didn’t have a great childhood. It was really bad, but he made his way out of it. His drive was for the love and affection from the one person he wanted it from most, his father. Being told you are nothing can either make you or break you and I think for Johnny it did both. I think for me it does both. There is only one thing that I want right now and that is one kind sentence from one person. A kind thought, an “atta girl, you’re doing good,” except I don’t get that. I get the why didn’t you do it this way or why can’t you do it that way. Similarly to Johnny I find that this is all I want and when I don’t get it I get destructive. I scream and yell and world may you watch out, because for me the words hurt deepest. I am a words person, a wordsmith. If I am slammed with harmful words constantly I feel broken down. I feel worthless, like there is nothing I can possibly do to make this person say SOMETHING positive. After two long discussions with two amazing women I find that one, I hope things change before it is too late, and two the only person that can allow them to bring me down is me. (A great thinker somewhere said that better, but I can’t remember who at this point in time.)
As for June, it was like watching an episode of “This is Your Life”. Only I didn’t have the courage to help. I guess maybe you could say I was a little more like Johnny for a few years, but after seeing where the self-destructive path could lead I changed course. This is probably where a solid role model could have come into play, but I didn’t have one. I had Linda. Linda was a woman who befriended me and guided me down my bumpy path. She was a Christian woman and a survivor of an alcoholic husband. Together they were able to walk through the fire. Together they were able to work out their problems, and I had hopes that I would be able to do the same. I think it was at this point in my marriage where things turned. Really I turned and embraced the idea that the only way to go through life was sober and that I wanted the partner I chose to embrace this new life with me.
Perhaps I should have either asked my partner or done what June did every time she came to the rescue. Flush it. All of it. Out of sight, out of mind. Perhaps I could have if I had someone to help like she did. June was able to turn to her parents and they helped her, they supported her love for someone who was broken and damaged and they helped. Sadly I know what it is like to be on the other end of the spectrum where you are in a room full of people screaming and no one is hearing you. To feel such love for someone and no one can see that you both need help and need a guide through the storm. As the wife of an addict I was always told that the only way to help was to let them hit bottom and let them crawl their way back up. But where is bottom for someone who doesn’t know they are falling? Where is the bond of marriage for an addict if that is your line of thinking? So, in the midst of my storms I found the flint and I tried to light a fire to guide us to a better path, but I didn’t have anyone to show me how to light it.
We stumbled on for years, tangled in the weeds, waiting for one of us to fall.
As we stumbled I would occasionally prop my spouse against a tree to rest. To rehab he went basically out of my forcing him to go. Twice in our time together we separated so he could sober up. The first time, I probably knew deep down that I would try to work it out with him. He was my husband; I said until death do we part. I meant it. After nearly a year, occasional visits to the center, I went through a few therapy sessions, and I thought we were ready to get on with our great sober life together. It was still not time…so a year and a half later it was like I hit a repeat button and we were pausing again so that he could go back to rehab. This time I did not want to work it out, but fate had other ideas and through a series of events, we ended up trying again, this time without being surrounded by naysayers. So, I tried and I failed. Again.
I should have waited, like June. Waited to see if it was possible for my husband to sink or swim, but I felt yoked with the desire to be a supportive wife. I felt like if I didn’t do this my life was a miserable failure, but it wasn’t. My life has barely begun. I am only 30 years old and according to one of my best friends I have lived enough to fill several volumes. I have seen fabulous, wonderful days and days that should never be repeated by anyone, not even the devil himself deserves some of those days. I have met incredible people all along the journey. I have met kings and thieves and murderers and politicians, each of them having a story, each of them just trying to live for the love.
It was in New York that I found myself. I was sitting there waiting by the hillside. I found that as a human I am going to fail. I am not perfect. I cannot be that it is Jesus who is perfect. All I am able to do is try my best. I guess what I am trying to say is that no matter where you come from or what trials you have seen you will make it. If your family loves you and supports your every decision that is wonderful and amazing, but if not stand up straight, shoulders back, put a smile on your face and realize that you are enough. If your marriage fails, it’s okay because you are enough. If your lost in a storm, its okay because one day the clouds will part and you will feel the sun on your face.
Someday I hope to feel like June and Johnny did at the end of the movie. Like I finally have my made it through the storm. Like I can be happy and content, with all the people that I hold dear. I just hope that is sooner than later, but I guess we will see what God has in store.