It was one year ago on this weekend when I started my blog and since then I have published one article each week. I have so enjoyed writing again after a very long hiatus; and, sharing my thoughts with anyone interested enough to check them out. That first weekend I actually published two articles and I want to share one of them with you again today.
REFLECTIONS OF THE CHRISTMAS LETTERS
“They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Isaiah 35:10 (NIV)
In December of 2012 as I prepared to address my Christmas cards, I gathered up my list of names and addresses used to perform this annual ritual. Along with that list was a file containing copies of Christmas letters that I had so carefully composed then sent to friends and family from 1987 until 2004.
I never wrote those letters, as many do, to gloat over all the wonderful things we’d gained or grand accomplishments, etc. In fact, when I sent my first Christmas letter out it was never my intention to make it an annual happening. In years past I’d carefully taken the time to write short, personal notes in nearly every card I sent. But, in 1987 as our lives became busier and more complicated, the time constraints prohibited that previous luxury. When 1988 rolled around and I quickly realized this concept had worked well for me the prior year, I determined to continue with my new tradition.
So as I began reading through all those letters I’d carefully crafted each year, they quickly stirred up a lot of emotions – very mixed emotions. They contained a lot of memories – some good, some bad, and some long forgotten.
I read about our move from Texas to Oklahoma in 1987 and then back to Texas four years later. I read about our daughter being an 18 year old recent high school graduate and being left behind on that move to live on her own. Then later about her plans to be married and years later about her going through a divorce. I read about our son being an innocent 11 year old child when we made the move to Oklahoma, then a high school graduate, his move from Texas to California on his own, then a becoming a college graduate. I read the details that I was compelled to share about my own divorce in 1998 after over 31 years of marriage. There were also the usual tidbits of news about my Mom and brothers along with the “I’m still with the same company and things there are going great” theme.
Then it struck me – not as a new revelation mind you – but one of those “Why? Why did I keep doing that?” moments.
You see, my husband was a very handsome man. Extremely personable, generally liked by any and all that met him – no matter their social or economic background. He was well educated; but, the man changed jobs like some people change their clothes – very regularly. Something like 25 or 26 jobs in the 31 years we were married. He rarely stayed anywhere longer than three years. Adding to this constant instability in our lives he was also unfaithful – repeatedly.
However, while reading my letters, you don’t see any hint of the pain that was inflicted as a result of him being unfaithful. You don’t sense the stress caused by the frequent bouts of unemployment. I was not unlike the wife of an alcoholic in denial about lives out of control. Act as though everything is wonderful; don’t dare tell anyone the truth, just live your life and everything will be okay. But everything wasn’t okay.
Don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to portray myself as a saint or a pitiful, weak woman. I certainly wasn’t perfect, but I did my best to be a good wife and mother; and, never broke my marriage vows. I am and always have been a strong woman with a mind of my own. But I was wounded – emotionally crippled enough that it took far too long for me to understand that I did not have to live this kind of life. That I did not have to put on a happy face and pretend that all was right with the world – and my life – when indeed it was not.
I just know that starting in 1999, the next year after my divorce, the tone of my letters changed. There was an underlying, noticeable positive tone and a newfound joy. I had rediscovered the real me that had been hidden for so very many years. The me that knew how to have fun. The me that didn’t have to explain away and defend the actions of another, when I didn’t understand those actions myself.
Sure, there have been some down times and some hard time these past years. But when reflecting on those Christmas letters written over an 18 year period of time, I had a new appreciation for my current life and my future. Sometimes revisiting the past can be a good thing.
6 thoughts on “Happy Anniversary To Karran’s Korner!”
Karen, I enjoyed reading your post today. I, too, married young and since I grew up in that age that when you married, you married for better or worse. My marriage wasn’t awful, but neither was it great. I stayed put mainly for my boys, which I realized years later, was not the best option. We were married 18 years then I decided that I didn’t want to live the rest of my life like it was going. Divorcing him was the best thing I could have done for me and my two boys. I remarried after a few years and it’s turned out great. Thankfully, my husband is the best thing that ever happened to me. This marriage is nothing like the first one – we will soon be married 38 years. We enjoy spending time together, which is a great thing since we spend most of our time just being at home together since we are retired. I found out many years after the divorce that my ex-husband had a child while we were married with the woman he later married. I honestly had no clue. I admire you for taking control of your life after 31 years of a bad marriage. Lots of women would just stay put, I think.
Mary, you have been so awesome reading & responding to my posts, and I appreciate it so much! Yeah, the era we grew up in was one where we believed we had to put up with things, just because. A part of me wishes I’d Ieft the marriage much earlier than I did, but another part of me believes things happened as they should have. You’re very fortunate that you met someone else to make you so happy – I wish I’d been that fortunate. Stay happy!
Yes! Sometimes we need to reflect on how God has brought us through it all. I see you much happier now. Love to you.
Yes my friend, you had a front row seat to some of my history and so you can definitely see the difference. Thanks!
Happy Anniversary, Sweet Friend!!
I have enjoyed sharing this journey with you! You are a wonderful writer!
I’m so glad you started writing again!
Much LoVe, Hugs, and Blessings to you!
Thank you so much Kristina! I appreciate so much that you are following me. I appreciate your kind words and your support. Love, Hugs and Blessings back to you!