Do you ever have those times where you're genuinely surprised to learn something about yourself? Like, " Wow, this fear of financial instability is really deep-rooted," or, "Reading means so much to me, I don't know if I can marry a man who doesn't appreciate the poignancy of Dandilion Wine," or, "If the towels aren't folded just so, I find I get this weird facial tic."

My latest discovery? I lose weight when under a certain kind of relationship-related stress.

While all other stressors seem to send me clawing for chocolate, this particular brand of tension causes me to lose my appetite, become jittery and sleepless, and crave long work-outs to burn away the mounting anxiety. Proof? It took me two years, a half marathon and a stint of the South Beach diet to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, but just a few weeks of marital discontent for my pants to {literally} be falling off of me.

I'd be bragging if it weren't so dang miserable.

The first time I can recall this happening was when I was eighteen and dating on-and-off {mostly off} a guy four years my senior. I knew from our very first encounter that he wasn't the man I was going to marry, but I was lonely and eighteen and I liked him. So I went out with him anyway, ignoring my family's vocal objections and my own intuition and promptings on the matter. I felt happy when I was with him, but riddled with guilt and doubt when I was home. I was too nauseous to eat, spent hours running and arguing with myself, and had insomnia for nearly six months. It was a relief when I finally broke it off and moved out of state to be on my own. I've often said that the greatest good that came of that experience was that when I met J, I knew it was right because I'd already experienced what it was like to be with someone when it was all wrong.

Which only makes experiencing this kind of strain with the right person feel particularly unfair.

However, unlike my eighteen-year-old self, I can't be preoccupied with what it is I think I deserve. I'm trying to be silent, listen to that still, small voice of intuition inside of me, and be at peace. But it's hard. Then again, it's hard holding on to my hurt and trying to fix everything as well. Given the choice, I choose the hard thing that leads to peace.

In a few days, we leave for a week-long vacation in Salt Lake City, after which the kids and I are driving on to spend a month with my parents in a tiny town on the border of Washington and Idaho. Posting may be spotty, but if this is the last you hear from me for the next five weeks, I want to leave you with this:

I've discovered that while I wouldn't choose, or think to be grateful for, particular trials in this life, I'm grateful for what they've taught me and who they've forced me to become. If I could see into the future, I would choose the end result. I can't see into the future, but I know and trust my Heavenly Father, who can. I've discovered that I can be grateful for the hard things.

And that's genuinely surprising.


merelyLooking said...

Wow, that's do deep and wise I feel voiceless with awe. I need to hang that on my mirror to look at everyday. Proud of you (well pleased)

Crys said...

I love you girl and can not wait to see ya!

hAha said...

How remarkable to truly feel that way. I know we always say to be grateful for trials and the hard things, but it's one thing to say it, and another to actually be at a point where you feel and believe it and let it work in your life! Bravo, sister! You make me want to be better! Love you!

Apis Melliflora said...

Amen to this post.

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