I’ve been counting my blessings for over two years now; it has helped me get through some difficult circumstances. Every time I’ve felt pain beyond belief, I’ve tried to find the things in my life that make me smile—the things I’m thankful for—so I can move away from depression and towards joy. Some days it’s been harder than others to find those things, but counting my blessings has worked beautifully: I’ve been getting through these difficult days happy and productive.
However, of all of my blessings, I’ve been painfully aware that I haven’t counted my husband as a blessing yet. Why? Because he has been the source of most of my difficulties these last two years. I haven’t been ready to truly look at how he has blessed my life because I could only see the pain he has caused.
However, it’s time. It’s time to remind myself of all the good things he’s brought into my life, so I can get through these next few days…months…years.
The best blessings he has brought into my life are our children. Carol Linn and Ian are two of the most important people in my life. They have brought so much joy and love into my world that I wouldn’t be the same without them. Thank you, David, for our children.
David married me, a single mother, and provided a home and a family for me and Nicole. Regardless of some of the difficulties in all of our relationships, he took on that responsibility when others did not.
David has also brought laughter to my life. He is funny and quick-witted. Even through some dark times, his sense of humor has been a source of great laughter.
Through Ian’s cancer battle, Dave remained strong and helped me find my strength, so I could be the mother Ian needed. I would’ve been over protective of Ian if David had not been around. David taught me to trust Ian’s instincts, so that Ian could be the strong, courageous boy he is today.
As we have gone through the years together, I’ve learned a lot about love. I have a deeper understanding of what love is now. I know the kind of love I’m capable of giving and receiving–of what I will and will not accept in my life. I know we love each other, and I can accept and give that love, regardless of the limitations that we both have had throughout our marriage. I have also learned that in order to fully understand how to love another person, I have to love myself first: I have become my own best friend; I have learned to ask for the things I need. I can now recognize when someone isn’t showing me love because I wouldn’t treat myself that way.
Through our marriage, I have also learned that I can love and teach and guide those in my life, but I can never change people or make them follow a path they don’t choose for themselves. It has freed me up to love unconditionally: I don’t just love the people in my life who do what I say or what I think is right. I love and support people who matter in my life. This understanding has also helped me identify the people who only bring pain to my life. I can love them from a distance, pray that they find their own healing path, and let them go.
Through loving David, I have discovered that I was an enabler and how damaging that can be for all people involved. Feeling sorry for someone and making excuses for his or her bad behavior only hurts everyone involved. It’s been a slow process, but I have stopped making excuses for other people and have called them out, when they needed it, which is a more loving response then making excuses for them.
Through David’s presence in my life, I have also learned some valuable lessons indirectly because I stayed by his side these past few years:
I’ve had to dig deep and find my true moral compass: What do I believe is right and wrong? I had to stop listening to what other people were telling me to think and feel, and I had to stop making decisions based on what others wanted me to do. I was so afraid of losing family and friends if I made the “wrong” decisions. I have learned to trust myself and my reasons for the choices I make, regardless of who thinks I’m being ridiculous or weak or taking the “easy way out.” I may not have made perfect decisions, but they were my decisions for my reasons. I won’t make excuses for them or care who believes I did the right thing. I have finally empowered myself–a choice I could not have made without David in my life.
I have learned that trying to understand a person, without enabling and without taking on his problems, is what makes the difference in life. Every person has a story–David is no exception. We all come from a place that is defined by what kind of love we have and have not received in life. I have realized that I don’t want to be a person who adds to someone else’s negative cycle, but I also don’t get angry or feel insecure when someone doesn’t show me kindness because I know it has nothing to do with me. I can understand and love a person without my self confidence being affected.
I have also learned that who I am and the choices I make have to come from within me, have to be anchored in my belief system. I cannot react to stimulus, like a small boat in the ocean being carried every which way by waves and currents. I started learning this lesson a long time ago, with my father: I needed to be the daughter I wanted to be, not the daughter I thought my father deserved. My choices can’t be a reaction to someone else’s behavior. I have to be the wife, mother, teacher, and woman I want to be, anchored by love. Retaliation and revenge are destructive behaviors. I want to understand, love, and build up people, regardless of their choices and behaviors.
Finally, I have learned that running away from pain is never an option. There were many days I wanted to run away, but I needed to see this thing through–for me, for Ian, for David. If I ran away from this pain, I know it would have come back to me in worse ways. I had to learn these lessons in order to become the woman and mother I need to be now for me and my children. I faced everything head on, and I would not have this new-found strength if I made any other choice. I know I did everything I could. I have no regrets.
I have learned all these things because of David. The push and pull of our relationship has made me a stronger, more loving person. I don’t think I could have learned all these things any other way. Thank you, David, for blessing my life.