Over the last few weeks, I've been doing a little volunteer work. It's only a couple of hours a week, but I thought it would be a good idea to start putting out some good energy into the world. I'd like to invest in a better future...make some deposits into my karmic I.R.A. The little help I've been giving folks isn't anything so grandiose, but I like the work I'm doing, and it makes me feel good about myself.
There was a little drama during my volunteer work yesterday. One of the students I was working with got really frustrated and stormed out of the facility. He's a smart kid, and he's doing really well in his project that we're working on together, but he got upset with one little, tiny concept that he was struggling over, and he stomped off. It was interesting to me, though, that I didn't get upset. There isn't a lot that perturbs me anymore when I'm dealing with scary, angry people. I'm kind of good at it.
When I got home, I made the mistake of trying to tell my husband about my day. I told him that there'd been some interesting incidents at the place where I volunteer, and told him about the scene with the guy I was working with. I joked, "I don't understand why he can't just be in awe of how wonderful I am! I mean, I'm volunteering! Like, for free!"
He responded, very seriously, "Well, maybe you need to re-think how wonderful you think you are."
It hurt me. It was crazy, addict talk, but it hurt me. The man I married was effusive about how wonderful he thought I was...and I'd not even had a chance to be wonderful yet. My wonderful-ness hadn't been tested and refined by the intense pressure of the last year, and it hurts me that he doesn't see the good in me. Or it hurts me that he is hurting so much that he has to lash out at me. It hurts me that I'm letting it touch me. I'm letting him disturb my serenity.
I backed off from him and took good care of myself after his hurtful words, but I've got a lot to think about. If he is not capable of having a conversation...if his only way of interacting with me is to say mean and hurtful things, and my only way of dealing with his behavior is to back away from him, then what hope is there of progress? What kind of relationship are we having?
I am presently also confused about another issue in our relationship. I have forgiven him for a lot of things, largely through working the steps and going to a lot of meetings. The poison of my resentments isn't flowing in the bloodstream between us, or at least not with the full-on potency. Until he forgives himself, though, the poison is still there...his outrage at his own actions towards me keeps the negative, poisonous stuff doing its work on our marriage. It's hard to live in that situation, and I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. I'm not sure what's coming next.
And another thing I realized, too, is that maybe he's right...maybe I DO need to reconsider how wonderful I am. Maybe I'm not fully appreciating how really, wonderfully wonderful I am. If I kept in mind that I am sacred to myself, that my happiness and well-being must come first, and that I am obligated to myself to make the most of every minute of my life, I wouldn't live like this.