Our family is split, our family is broken. I’m worried I’ll break too.
I strongly believe one of the things that keeps us going as humans is our ability to hold onto hope.
That elusive “feeling” that lives deep within us that is the gentle voice in our ear saying, “This too shall pass. Things will get better. Hold on, I’m here with you.” Hope.
The hope that hard things will someday be easier. Bad times will pass. Hurt will fade, replaced by joy. Pain will ease. Loss will become accepted. Basically, that all the bad, hard, scary, ugly, painful things will one day pass.
I often hold onto hope so hard, my everything hurts. I wrap my being around this glimmer of joy, this beacon of ease, this promise of respite. I’m beginning to lose my grasp though. My rope of hope is fraying. It terrifies me and so I hold on tighter, sure that with sheer will, I can keep hope alive. I make promises to the universe, “Just let this pass and everything be OK and I promise to do more good in the world.” I spend my days working to put only kindness out into the world. On social media, in my interactions with my fellow humans. I want kindness. I want joy. I NEED hope.
But tonight, I sit here writing this because the fear that hope will save my family is fraying. My second husband and I have a cobbled together family, born of broken dreams, anguish, fights, and lot and lots of love. But I’m beginning to wonder if the love is enough? We’re two separate families living under one roof and while our house is big, the rooms feel so very small. The doors are all closed, each housing the people I love more than anything and those I cannot reach. The air of tension is crushing at times. Whispered conversations are too loud, their secrets screaming, “You’re not a real family! See, we’re here—the secrets—and with us we carry in fear, insecurity, and anger.”
I try to talk louder than the whispers but they’re stronger.
I reach out to the other side but the doors stay closed. I cannot reach the hurting people on the other side. The boy I did not carry, the child I cannot love. I hug my husband but not the father. The father I rail against, listing his shortcomings as a parent, my fear of being on the losing end turning to anger and hurtful words. Then comes the shame. Shame that I cannot support him better. That I can’t put aside my righteous ways and embrace him as he struggles, like we all do, with what is right between what is safe and what he can manage.
I go to bed defeated. Exhausted through and through, eyes once again red and wet enough to promise a headache if I don’t close them soon.
I sleep. I dream.
And there, sitting in my chest, where it always is, is hope. Hope that we will get through this. Hope that love WILL be enough.
Once again, I start my day with the intention to grow. To learn, to open my heart to our differences instead of closing it. Closed doors have hinges—they can open.
Maybe all I have to do is knock.