Thursday, 10 January 2013

Intentional Grace, Calling all Agony Aunts

Dear fearless girls, wise woman and beloved sisters...
welcome to the year of intentional grace.
 (no idea what the book's actually like...I just loved the cover!)

There was a wedding close by over the weekend.
Matt was back, best friend & best man & traveling in sweet company (friends)
Old suitcases were borrowed for photo props, including this little darling for little Ezra to carry.
Then, late in a perfect summer's day everyone assembled out at Duart House in Havelock North to celebrate a happy union.
Rob & I had a picnic in the very same place, in late November..we were celebrating the day that so profoundly changed our lives...the day we meet 34 years ago.

Rose: Jubilee celebration. 
And so it is, that I have been pondering these words over the last few weeks..intention & grace
and what they might mean when you bring them together to create life purpose.
I have found them quite elusive really.
 I have just waited with them loosely in my hand turning them this way & that to see what might come to me. 
What arrived, gently knocking on my front door, early last Friday morning, I certainly did not expect.
Here we were, drinking tea & chatting & still in bed, as we generally are since Rob works until nearly midnight most nights, so I slipped on my dressing gown, thinking it was most likely a courier, when instead I opened the door to...."Donna", X girlfriend of Rob's.
"Nice" kicked in & we were hospitable & friendly...
But I never imagined that I would get up one morning & have my heart ripped open before the day had even begun.
Intention? Grace? History!
So, beloved sisters I need your trusted wisdom, because I am pretty much a mess.
Do you mind if I explain just a little?

The young man met his Susan through a church youth group & was committed & besotted through the several years that their relationship lasted. He thought it would be forever. Susan had lost her mum to cancer & was pretty mixed up. One day she simply announced it was all over, no explanation & off she went..her best friend "Donna" was waiting in the wings to move in & comfort the heart broken chap. Meantime, the mother had given her heart to Susan & felt sure that she'd found the daughter she'd never had & always wanted & with her best christian counseling & tender care she was certain that she could nurse Susan into radiant wholeness, given time. The young man was devastated & confused & unwittingly entered a relationship with the highly attentive best friend, while also signing up to do some missions work in Samoa...& it was while there, in Samoa that he & I met, & in that month fell in love.
We eventually married, had three children & did our best to build a life together.
The mother, however, went on seeing Susan & helping her & some years later attended her wedding as the special guest of honour (not telling her son). She soon became jealous of her son's love for another woman (all the while feigning sweet christian acceptance) & began to whisper & lie about his wife to other family members causing division & endless hurt. 
Just before our 20th wedding anniversary, the now not so young man, received a "wild card" phone call from his long lost Susan wanting to make amends for the hurt she'd caused. Guard down & naively delighted to hear from her, he was drawn in to the pretext...for ruse it was. She then set about organising a youth group reunion so that she could see him & her true intentions soon became quite obvious, she was wanting to reconnect & wished she had never let him go (I had twigged to her instantly so..of course we didn't go but some egg sent of photos of her!).
Devastation for often feeling second best, I was shattered. Her own marriage broke a year or two down the track & another friend's as well, before she'd finished.
SO...Friday morning "Donna" knocks on the door, after 18 years with no contact (second husband waiting in the car) just in town..of course!
My last memory of her...squealing in pure delight at seeing my husband & hugging him repeatedly while barely acknowledging my presence...she insists that that is her normal bubbly personality & behaviour!
Yes, I have contacted her & we have had some discussion (via email). She now insists that she cannot remember the relationship at all or much about that time in her life & there was nothing in it, ahem..
Well I's indelibly imprinted on my soul!
Please tell me how to keep moving through this.
Help me to find the intentional grace in my pain.
I woke up at 3am this morning with nightmares.
I have sobbed & sobbed & sobbed.
I'm a sensitive soul but I don't have to apologize for that, do I?
It's the photos that have been the hardest through all the years..I talk in images, it's my best language, but you knew that.
Yes they're all gone now.
It takes a lot of guts & hard work to keep a marriage together sometimes..maybe my story just might make someone else think twice before gatecrashing someone else's life/marriage.
Sometimes we do ok in the processing, sometimes we don't.
Why the heck didn't she at least give us a call first???

My make my way back to here. I just need a little time & help.

With much love to you all!


  1. I'll be praying for you, my sweet friend. Sometimes I don't understand women at all.

    1. Thank you my friend, that means so much to me & that you are there x0x0x

  2. Catherine. Hold on tightly to what you know to be right and true. Hold on. Yours is the marriage. You have nothing to apologise for or regret. This is a trying time, filled with the insecurities and wistfulness of others. Why do we look back on our first loves, and aspirations and dreams, and then measure up mature decisions and destinies against such fragile, experimental things? Let these women recapture their memories, and their mistakes- from photos and reunions and whatever else. But not on your solid, established, loved and loving ground.

    1. Dearest Mags..I am so grateful for your comment! I just so needed to hear those words. I have wrapped them around my shoulders & they have bought great comfort.
      I can also see in what you have said that I have allowed my own wistful review to torment me at times..seeing that first love in the untested perfection that it was not.
      Ok, so the intentional grace...hold on tightly.
      Thank you sweet friend. x0x0x

      Ps Toad isn’t really lost...i just made that up...for the story.
      Although I have to say that they are all looking a little worse for wear at this point.
      Pom’s backing fabric has gone decidedly bobbly!!!

  3. Hello Catherine,,gosh..... now then, first my lovely a hug for you,,then maybe a deep breath. now I am no expert, so please don't feel you have to take anything I say as concrete ok :-)
    How does Rob feel about all this? If it was me I would not want my husband to have anything to do with this person and I would like to think that as my friend, and knowing how much it was upsetting me, he wouldn't have another thing to do with her, and would send her packing....that is not too much to ask, you haven't needed her around for the past 18 years so she isn't exactly a friend is she?
    secondly, she obviously likes the drama, as why bother? possibly not a terribly nice person, but of course I do not know her, so, I couldn't possibly comment on that one :-)
    Thirdly, you stick up for yourself my lovely, it is your life, your home and you have a right to say who you do and don't want on your doorstep,
    My advice therefore is next time she decides to stir things up,,, is to tell her ever so politely to B***er Offt xx

    love Sophie xxxxx
    and Keep smiling xx

    1. Oh Sophie, thank you. After more tears you've made me smile. I certainly did stick up for myself. I wrote a straight email to her the very next day & sent it via her husbands work email..that's all I had. I described my perspective & all the pain it had caused through the years. She said she was gob-smacked & didn't intend any harm. We have agreed to have zero contact & Rob is grateful I wrote. I'll save the B***er Offt just in case : )

  4. Just to add, one slightly creepy thing, she even knew about my blog so there had been some research done I think!

  5. Hello Catherine, Oh my dear - sending gentle but squishy hugs to you my friend :-)
    I am soo sorry to read of your pain & can feel it in your very words., The games people play eh . . .
    I wholeheartedly agree with Sophie - you did the right thing contacting her - I have found from experience that to front up & say "I am not going to put up with your nonsense" kind of thing, to be the very best tactics, You & Rob are strong & will weather this I am sure. These kind of things come along & sweep us away sometimes when we are least prepared. I am certain you will find your intention & grace even in this trying time dear heart.
    And yes that IS creepy that she knew about your blog.
    You will make your way back to that girl skipping with her sunhat very soon - do not lose heart dear friend.
    Sending love, hugs & positive affirmations your way, Julie Xoxoxox

  6. Catherine, firstly I'm sending you a great big squishy hug.
    Some woman really can be horrible and the one you have been dealing with certainly sounds like she falls into that category.
    She lands on your doorstep after all these years and expects what...friendship? After ignoring you whilst hugging your husband, I don't think so.
    Have nothing to do with her, she has no right to expect entry into your precious life, home and relationship. She sounds very toxic to me. Oh and by the way, you can be as sensitive as you like. You are you and it's got nothing to do with anyone else how your choose to feel.
    Don't waste your precious energy and time on thinking about this woman...she's not worth it.
    You are a beautiful, loving, caring and compassionate woman who knows how to be a wonderful friend, wife and mother. Do not let those with insecurities undermine your confidence.
    You take very good care of you. And all horrible woman can GET LOST!!
    Have a wonderful weekend,
    Anne xx

    1. Dear Anne, I realise as I read your comment that I have had a bit of trouble through the years trusting woman & perhaps that's why I needed to tell about this out loud. I have been so encouraged & feel so supported by everyone...arm & arm with my friends , who I find I do trust, gives me immense strength & courage to do what I need to do & come out the other side with greater self-assurance. Thank you!!! x0x0x

  7. First love today is just an imagination. Every marriage is hard work, not just a pleasure. Why do you have to apologize? She had her chance, now it's your life, your husband and your love. This kind of woman doesn't call. I think, she even didn't think that she does something wrong. Your really should not worry about her.
    (I'll hope, you understand what I mean, my English is still average).

    1. You are so kind my sweet Polish friend! Thank you for your direct talk & clear perspective. I have read your comment over & over & it has helped very much! It is exactly what I needed to hear. Much love to you! x0x0x

  8. So sorry to comment again Catherine but had been thinking about this "person" while awake in the wee small hours . . .
    think of it like you did with the suitcase in your post titled "chimidunchik" - as you bent to pick it up at the door, thinking "no thankyou I certainly dont need THIS baggage anymore - goodbye" - if you get my meaning.

    Thinking/worrying for you dear friend.
    LOVED Anias comments above also.
    Julie Xox

    1. Dearest have made me smile just in your apologizing! it is so incredibly kind of you to keep thinking of me & caring..I cannot thank you enough!! Something truly magnificent is happening here. As you & all these other lovely women have swooped in to support me & speak to this I have seen intentional grace come to life & it is profoundly beautiful! Yes Ania is so spot on! Dear Polish woman that she is. x0x0x


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! ♥

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