Dear Laura Wade,
Holy Cow! Thanks to your letter, I just had a renewed appreciation of my Cardiac Arrest! Without it, our paths might not have folded back into each other and what a sadness that would have been. I could have missed out on so much…your kids, our visits on FaceTime and in person, your presence in real time, the dreaming, the choosing to figure out how to speak and grow together and separately, your struggles, your humor, your laughter! Just grateful...for so many things...
Lent is coming to an end. I love the season of Lent but even more, the season of Easter! My heart knows how to ache and long for freedom and for miracles and to celebrate new life. Last Easter, Wes was late in getting ready for church and we missed the processional of kids, the fanfare, the rejoicing. The whole service was lost b/c of my anger toward Wes. (And, yes, it took us a few months to work through that one.) I was devastated until a friend reminded me that I hadn’t missed Jesus’ coming for me…that I had a whole season of him coming for me. My friend reminded me that after Jesus rose from the dead, he walked with others on the Road to Emmaus, He ate with people, prayed with people… What a relief… and I needed Him to come...always do.
But, what I really want to talk about is the Lenten commitments: My personal one and the one Wes and I made to each other. Gratitude and awareness have sprung from both. I made my own personal attempt at letting something go that I knew was not good for my heart: Netflix. I did pretty well, but couldn’t give it up completely. I did come to understand that I’d rather fill up my belly with the freneticism of visual movement and story than face the beauty, loneliness, creative pockets, rest, joy, fear, and the unknown crevices of my own heart and story. So, I guess that was good. It made me long for time with Jesus. And I listened to some great podcasts and worship music!
Wes and I also made a Lenten commitment together to have more sex (believe it or not, it was MY idea and I recommended engaging every night for 40 nights and Wes suggested every other night - he's always the more realistic one.) I wanted something that just wasn’t about my own spiritual walk but about OUR walk and story. I don’t know about you and Doug, but when Wes and I can be engaged physically, we do so much better relationally and spiritually. And I have always been the resistant one in the past and now he seems to be slowing down. Ah…God! What the heck? Sex…a constant issue and ever before both of us in our marriage.
So here’s the gratitude part! I have over the years discovered I actually enjoy my body’s response to sex. Slowly, ever so slowly, this has happened. Slowly, I have figured out where the hell my clitoris is and how it’s supposed to work. I can even say the word out loud, now. (Thanks to my DSM-V class.) I can ask my husband for sex because I want it, not b/c he is asking. I have had to do research about what an orgasm is because my body has been robbed of understanding due to years of abuse. And because who in Christian circles actually talks about what an orgasm actually feels like? I still have much resistance to sexual enjoyment that resides in a history of a body being used for other’s inappropriate pleasure. In the past, with Wes, my body, heart, and soul has had to fight to keep wild emotions and sensations in check and I have had to shut down in order to survive the shame of FEELING/of a body alive and wanting. And with what we know of trauma, our brains don’t “just get over that.”
So, after years of marriage, working out my story, and learning to trust this man, I find my body is saying yes more often and being curious and exploring rather than always balking and being showered by shame that lowers the curtain of darkness and grey around my heart. With Jesus, I now know how to be kind and welcome conversation with my darker places of fear that still lurk on the edges of beauty and pleasure. I wish Wes and I could talk more honestly about sex, but we are talking more than we used to, (and engaging!) so I am grateful. I am still afraid of letting go too much in sheer ecstasy of sex, but I don't usually go into automatic pilot anymore. I have found a voice in this area and patience for my war-torn bodily desire. I also know Jesus is resurrecting and walking with me…growing me towards holiness as I age. My body is more alive and a little more free than when we first got married and I look forward to what's to come. I’m grateful for the goodness and brokenness of Wes which has made my healing possible. Through Wes’ brokenness, the light of Jesus has shown. We are growing together in this sexual adventure as well as in other places...slowly.
It also helps to have the kids leading their own independent and lovely lives away from home! No more sheer exhaustion, worries that they will hear us or walk in on us, or whatever. So, please know that hope is barreling toward you, my friend, even if you can’t see it or feel it…It’s coming…He’s with you… Sometimes the darkness and Lenten Season lasts longer than 40 days, but I KNOW He’s coming…and it’s almost EASTER!!!
So much respect and love to you...
P.S. This letter is Wes approved! But my kids will probably friek out a bit! TMI...sorry, girls.