lessons learned from a line a day

In January of last year, I started keeping a 5-year journal. Each date of the year gets a page with five entry slots. Over the course of the year, you write your little entry in the current year's section. Eventually, you're writing on the same pages year after year.

I'd wanted to start the journal when my son was born, to serve as a little daily record where I could note our lives without feeling the "pressure" of recording everything or having to do long journal entries. There's only room for a couple of sentences in each entry -- just enough to capture the essence of each day. Most days I mention Gabriel and something he did, but this journal has been the repository for a lot more than mama memories.

Sometimes, it's really neat to read about what was going on last year at this same time. Right now, though, it's a little tough. I'm reading through, and to an extent reliving, a lot of the marital anguish that marred the spring of 2012. My journal notes involve things like anger, fear, and confusion. We were "going to counseling" (a sham, the purpose of which I may never know). We were coexisting, barely peacefully. He was working (or "working") long hours every single day, and/or not speaking to me for days on end, inviting his new social cohort of single college girls to hang out with us and being mean to me the whole time. I ask a lot of painful questions in this journal -- why is he still pretending he's not leaving me? is he trying to torture me? is it worth my sanity to keep trying to save this marriage when he is so clearly planning a future without me?

Now, a year later, I can look around and know that everything will work out. I can tell that scared, exhausted woman with a new baby that there is grace for her, that her worst fears won't come true. I can even go for strings of full days without thinking about my ex or feeling the "scarlet D" burning on my forehead. But when I sit down each evening to write in my journal, I am taken right back to that miserable place, full of rage and hurt and fear. It's hard, so hard to walk myself through that experience again. Even if it's just a line a day.

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